MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Top honors in the “Best of CNHI” editorial contest for 2016 went to newspapers and journalists who told difficult stories about the heroin crisis, documented gang violence and persistently pursued public records.

The Daily Item of Sunbury, Pennsylvania, won Newspaper of the Year among the company’s large-circulation dailies, with judges noting the paper’s bold and thoughtful enterprise stories on police misconduct, drug addiction and Main Street business ownership. The paper also demonstrated an aggressive approach to breaking news on its website and a strong sense of community on social media.

The Valdosta, Georgia, Daily Times earned the top honor in the small-circulation daily category for ambitious reporting on big stories, including the region’s gangs. Judges commended the staff for advocating for government transparency in editorials and columns, as well as dedicating a section of their website to ongoing open government coverage.

The twice-weekly Crossville, Tennessee, Chronicle was named the company’s top newspaper in the non-daily division, notably for its robust and comprehensive coverage of the community. This range of content – from breaking news to sports to reader-submitted photos – makes the Chronicle indispensable to its audience, said the judges.

For the second year, CNHI recognized the combined news coverage online and in print in selecting the “Newspaper of the Year.” The judges noted the strength of all three winners in delivering news to their audiences on digital platforms.

The Kokomo, Indiana, Tribune won the prestigious public service award in the large daily division for a series of insightful stories on poverty.  Judges said the paper leveraged the newsroom’s print and online resources to change the community conversation about an often ignored but important topic.

The McAlester, Oklahoma, News-Capital earned the small daily award for public service for the second year with its dogged pursuit of government credit card misuse by officials in the tiny town of Hartshorne. The newsroom’s courageous reports documented thousands of dollars of misspent taxpayer money on everything from sporting goods to lingerie, leading to the resignation or retirement of three town leaders and a criminal investigation.

Outstanding lifestyle magazines from West Virginia and Oklahoma captured top honors in the Magazine of the Year competition.

West Virginia South, produced by the Register-Herald of Beckley, captured the large division honor for its knockout design and photographs, excellent use of color and typography and vivid stories on local people and places.

The small division Magazine of the Year winner went to Norman Magazine, produced by the Norman, Oklahoma, Transcript. Judges commended its strong, attractive covers, thorough community calendar and interesting stories that reflect a sense of the local community.

Judges also recognized the work of 19 individual journalists in seven categories, as well as digital work in categories including breaking news, social media and video. The judging panel included eight CNHI editors and news executives.

Complete contest winners are listed below in Division I (large dailies), Division II (small dailies) and Division III (non-dailies). Magazine and digital entries competed in only two division – Large and Small.

Best of CNHI 2016

Newspaper of the Year: The Daily Item of Sunbury, Pennsylvania (Division I); The Valdosta, Georgia, Daily Times (Division II); The Crossville, Tennessee, Chronicle (Division III).

Magazine of the Year: West Virginia South, Beckley, West Virginia, Register-Herald (Large Division); Norman magazine, Norman, Oklahoma, Transcript (Small Division).

Public Service: Kokomo, Indiana, Tribune (Division I); McAlester, Oklahoma, News-Capital (Division II). No winner in Division III.

Reporter of the Year: Eric Scicchitano, Sunbury, Pennsylvania, Daily Item (Division I); David Dishman, McAlester, Oklahoma, News-Capital (Division II); Thomas Lynn, Live Oak, Florida, Suwannee Democrat (Division III).

Photographer of the Year: Jan-Michael Stump, Traverse City, Michigan, Record-Eagle (Division I); Tyler Stewart, Jeffersonville, Indiana, News and Tribune (Division II); Mike Arie, Pauls Valley, Oklahoma, Democrat (Division III).

Sports Writer of the Year: George Bremer, Anderson, Indiana, Herald Bulletin (Division I); Stephen Brooks, Goshen, Indiana, News (Division II); Mike Jones, Live Oak, Florida, Suwannee Democrat (Division III).

Editorial Writer of the Year: Kathy Vos, Mankato, Minnesota, Free Press (Division I); David Olson, Gloucester, Massachusetts, Daily Times (Division II); James Bright, Chickasha, Oklahoma, Express Star (Division III).

Columnist of the Year: Samantha Perry, Bluefield, West Virginia, Daily Telegraph (Division I); Michele DeLuca, Niagara, New York, Gazette (Division II); Jeanie Brown, Princeton, West Virginia, Times (Division III).

Designer of the Year: Heather Bremer, Anderson, Indiana, Herald Bulletin (Division I); Kevin Burkett, Logansport, Indiana, Pharos-Tribune (Division II); Anne Fox, Rockwall, Texas, Herald Banner (Division III).

Breaking News-Digital: Joplin, Missouri, Globe (Large Division); Goshen, Indiana, News (Small Division).

Best Video-Digital: Rick Barbero, Beckley, West Virginia, Register-Herald (Large Division). No winner in Small Division.

Best Use of Social Media-Digital: Cumberland, Maryland, Times-News (Large Division); Tahlequah, Oklahoma, Daily Press (Small Division).

Digital Innovation: Joplin, Missouri, Globe (Large Division). No winner in small division.

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