KP News Wins Record-breaking 25 Statewide Awards

KP News earned 14 awards in 2022, 17 in 2021, 14 in 2020, eight in 2019, and three in 2018.


Key Peninsula News staff and contributors shattered their own record Oct. 7 by earning 25 awards at the statewide Washington Newspaper Publishers Association 2023 Better Newspaper Contest at its annual ceremony, held this year in Kennewick.

Now in its 136th year, WNPA awards outstanding newspaper work published over 12 months.

Forty-seven newspapers across the state submitted 1,477 entries for the 2023 contest. KP News competed against daily and weekly publications in markets with a circulation of 6,500 or more. The competition is judged by a different state news organization each year. This year that was the Montana Newspaper Association.

Writers Eddie Macsalka and Chris Rurik dominated the competition, receiving five and four awards respectively.

Macsalka won first place in the long news story category for “Allegations of Unchecked Bullying at Middle School Made by Parents.” The judges called it “well written and careful to present various perspectives on an issue of significant public interest.”

He also took first place for an animal feature for “Be Goatful for What You Have”; second place for his profile of Lakebay resident Ed Gilkison in “Nationally Renowned Motorcycle Expert on Local Life”; third place for his sports story “New PHS Girls Basketball Coach Wants Seahawks Soaring to New Heights”; and third place for his artist profile “Working in Hollywood While Living the Key Peninsula Lifestyle.”

Rurik won second place in animal features for “Eagles and the Genius of Bird Flight” and second place for a topical column for his series “Into the Wild,” which inspired one judge to comment “Not my usual read but it took me out of my armchair and to another place.” He also won third place in environmental coverage for “Trees Come Down at Camp Seymour to Improve the Forest.”

And Rurik earned third place as feature writer of the year.

Executive Editor Lisa Bryan took home first place for her business feature “KP Businesswoman Makes Her Passion Her Work.”

Associate Editor Ted Olinger won first place in the health category for “Third Grade Evergreen Cancer Fighter Tells It Like It Is,” which the judges called “a great story, empathetically told … and touching artwork to go with.” He also earned second place in sports reporting for “Peninsula Seahawks Win Fish Bowl 44,” his second win for Fish Bowl coverage.

Sara Thompson took first place in the short news category for “Crabbing Not Likely to Return Near KP in Foreseeable Future” and second place in government reporting for “Rep. Michelle Caldier Reveals Sight Impairment.” The judges called it “a great job revealing the humanity and personal backstory of an elected official.” She also took third place in personality profiles for “Carolyn Wiley: A Star is Recognized,” when Wiley won the Rotary Star Award.

For her part, that same Carolyn Wiley won third place in the arts feature category for her story about 11-year-old Zoe Ewald, “Making the World a Better Place, One Lemonade at a Time.”  

Joseph Pentheroudakis won second place in the history feature category for “The Bay in the Woods: The Story of Glencove.”

Phyllis Henry won her third award in as many years for what the judges called her “poignant, thoughtful” column “Coast to Coast,” taking second place in the general interest category.

Meredith Browand followed her with a third-place win for her own general interest column “Key Issues,” which the judges called “clear, well-written (on) topics of the day.”

Krisa Bruemmer took third place in the animal feature category for “Local Farm Animal Rescue Organization Saves Lives.”

Staff photographer Tina McKail won first place in portraits for “Izzy Edwards, Photographer and Conservationist,” and first place for her feature photo in “Evergreen Elementary Girls on the Run,” which judges called “a standout feature image.”

Designer Heather Meier earned second place for her front page design layout, powered by photos from Tina McKail, in a design the judges called “squeaky clean (and) very visually appealing.”

Graphic artist Tim Heitzman won first place for ad campaigns for Cost Less Pharmacy and second place for Sunnycrest Nursery.