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Downtown Newsmagazine wins eight SPJ awards

Downtown Newsmagazine garnered awards in eight categories of journalism competition sponsored by the Detroit chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), with contest entries judged by members of SPJ in Florida.

The contest entries were all from 2021 efforts and Downtown Newsmagazine competed in the class of publications with 50,000 circulation or less.

News editor Lisa Brody took two awards, a first place for Education Reporting with her August 2021 longform story on the increasing controversy, both nationally and locally, over the issue of Critical Race Theory, as well as a second place in the Health Reporting category for her longform April story on teen suicides.

Reporter Stacy Gittleman captured awards in three categories, including Environment Reporting, Racial Justice Reporting and Explanatory Story. In the Environment Reporting category she took a second place for a November longform piece on the threat of micro-plastic pollution moving from the land and water to the atmosphere. Gittleman took a first place in the Environmental justice category for an October longform report detailing how lower income areas of Michigan are most often the locales with the highest environmental challenges due to government policy decisions.

In the Explanatory Story competition, Gittleman took first place for her August 2021 story on how PFAS are showing up in local food supplies, with one judge calling the story “stellar reporting.”

Christopher Grammer, graphics and IT manager for Downtown Newsmagazine, took a first place in Cover Design competition with his December 2021 issue cover designed around the concept of the redrawing of political districts for the 2022 election. One of the judges commented that the cover design showed “good concept and eye-catching illustrative graphic that showcases the redrawing of districts story”

Grammer also took a second place award in the competition category of Magazine Spread Deign with his layout in the July 2021 issue of Downtown Newsmagazine on the topic of rising temperatures in the Great Lakes due to global warming.

Publisher David Hohendorf took first place in the General Column Writing category for a series of columns from last summer that included commentary on the failure of state lawmakers to develop and pass financial disclosure legislation for themselves and other state officials; Republican state lawmakers' abuse of the initiative petition process in their effort to restrict voting rights; and the need to continue battling systemic racism. On this last topic, a judge said the following: “I enjoyed reading these columns because they touched on various issues that have led to many heartfelt conversations concerning race and inequality in the U.S. Nice job by the writer who seems to understand how the injustices faced by Blacks ultimately affects all of us.”


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