This week, we received a few more journalism awards, this time from the Illinois Press Association.
We don’t write about them to gloat, but it does feel good to be honored for doing some of the best work in the state among papers our size. In the IPA awards, not to be confused with the Illinois APME awards, we earned 12 awards, which included four first-place honors.
As always, it’s more about the work done and its importance than the honors that come later.
Which brings me to the government beat writing category, where reporter Ed Komenda earned first place for his exhaustive coverage of all things Algonquin Township. The entry included about 60 of his stories from 2018, and that certainly wasn’t all of them.
Which brings me to the news of this column, which is bittersweet.
Komenda got a new job, a cool job, covering Las Vegas and broader Nevada issues for the Reno Gazette-Journal and a national USA Today Network audience.
Friday was his last day at the Northwest Herald and we couldn’t be prouder of the work he has done here and the light he has shone on local government, from the County Board to Cary to Algonquin Township and a whole lot more in between.
Komenda was a great example for the rest of our newsroom and worked well with the talented group of reporters that we have here, from Katie Smith at the courthouse to Brittany Keeperman, Drew Zimmerman and Daniel Gaitan.
When a reporter such as Komenda advances, I’m sure a few local government officials are feeling relieved.
But don’t worry, subscribers, we’ve got you covered. Zimmerman will be covering Algonquin Township and the county, while Gaitan will be covering Cary as we progress on hiring a new reporter, at which point we’ll shift responsibilities and beats again.
We wish Komenda the best, for sure.
But there’s an election coming Tuesday, so we carry on with the news as always.
As a reminder, check out nwherald.com/election to read questionnaires from candidates in many of the county’s contested races.
And, if you haven’t signed up yet, now is the time to get connected to TapOnIt as the local coupons are about to start rolling. Text TapOnIt to the number 82928 on your phone to get started.
As for the other IPA awards, which will be handed out May 3, the paper received the Freedom of Information award for the effort that led to the release of the security footage of Crystal Lake firefighters charged with assault and battery back in 2017.
Joe Stevenson won first place in sports news for his story on Johnsburg grad C.J. Fiedorowicz contemplating retirement, while Sean Hammond’s story on state football districts was second place in the category, which includes daily papers throughout the state with circulations between 40,000 and 10,000.
We received both first and fourth place for our local editorial writing, second place for best website, third place for headline writing (Michael Penkava) and business/economic reporting for the team that covered Fox River Grove’s eminent domain process. And we received honorable mention for localized national story (Zimmerman), obituary tribute (Komenda) and sports section.