The Southern Ute Drum accepted 22 awards, including eight first-place awards, for its reporting, photography and design in 2012 during the annual Society of Professional Journalists Top of the Rockies awards reception Friday, May 17 in Denver.
The tally represents the best ever for the newspaper, which broke the record it set last year with 13 awards in the same contest. The Drum competed against other newspapers up to 10,000 circulation in Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Wyoming. No other media outlet in its division won more awards — though one, the Colorado Springs Business Journal, matched its haul at 22.
Each of the Drum’s four staff members won at least one first-place award.
Composition Technician Robert L. Ortiz won first place in spot news photography for a shot of last summer’s State Line Fire in the June 29 issue. He also won one second- and one third-place award for page design and one second- and one third-place award for photography, for a total of five prizes.
Admin Assistant/PR Coordinator Christopher R. Rizzo won two: first place in sports reporting for a profile of SunUte Community Center lifeguard and amateur competitive runner Gabe Proctor in the June 29 issue, and a third-place feature photography award.
Photographer/reporter Jeremy Wade Shockley earned seven honors, including three in first place: a news story about Fort Lewis Buffalo Council’s Buffalo Harvest in the March 23 issue, a news photo spread of the college’s Hozhoni Days Powwow in the April 6 issue, and a sports photo spread of the USA Pro Challenge in the Aug. 24 issue. He also brought home a second-place award for education reporting and two second-place and one third-place awards for photography.
Media Manager Ace Stryker took first place in series reporting for his coverage of the Capitol Christmas tree’s voyage from Meeker, Colo., to Washington, D.C. He also won first place in headline writing and in political enterprise reporting for a story on Southern Ute Indian Tribal Council Vice Chairman James M. Olguin’s trip to Washington in the May 4 issue. Stryker additionally won a second- and two third-place awards for reporting.
The staff also won two joint awards: Shockley and Rizzo took second place in sports photography for a spread on youth bull riding finals in the Nov. 16 issue, and Stryker and Shockley won second place in series reporting for coverage of the Southern Ute Wildlife Resource Management Division.
Another local newspaper, The Durango Herald, won 11 in its division.