Opinion & Editorial

Chronicle nets 21 editorial awards for ’22

We’re going to need more wall space. 

The Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association last week announced winners of the state contest, recognizing The Chronicle with 21 editorial awards for its work in 2022 – including four first-place awards, and a prestigious General Excellence honor for the fourth consecutive year. 

Awards stretch across the editorial gamut, with the majority of staff having earned awards this year – including reporters Ron Hartman and Pierre Weil, columnists Michael Dunne and Pat Edwards, photographer Bob Williams, myself for design and reporting, and former beloved staff members Ryleigh Norgrove, reporter, and Bobby Stevens, videographer. 

Since 2019, The Chronicle has earned more than 50 awards for its editorial initiatives: 8 awards in 2019; 18 awards in ’20; 14 awards in ’21; and now 21 awards for ’22. The Chronicle also earned 8 advertisement awards in 2021, and the ’22 advertising awards are to be announced at a later date. 

Each year, media associations from across the country are selected to partner and judge one another’s newspapers. This year, the Texas Press Association judged Oregon’s newspapers.

The recognition comes only weeks after we made a last-ditch public appeal to our communities for financial support. We continue to survive with the smallest of margins following the pandemic and after facing significant increases to printing and distribution costs. 

Reluctantly, we asked readers, business owners, and organizations to consider further financially supporting The Chronicle. We also opened another branch of the operation, forming The Chronicle Foundation, a nonprofit that, through a tax-deductible donation, will help fund our coverage of education and nonprofits. 

You can imagine how tough it was to make such a plea. And the cruel irony when examining the juxtaposition of those two events – earning awards while publicly asking for more financial support to keep the lights on – is not lost on me or our staff. 

It’s always humbling and exciting to be recognized by our peers in the media industry. We are proud of the work we do here, everyone on staff putting their best foot forward each and every week, despite the financial challenges. 

What’s most humbling of all, though, is the community support we’ve always received, which has been only amplified since the launch of the Foundation through handwritten letters, donations, kudos, and kind words. 

Publisher Noel Nash has worked all over the country in various roles across print journalism for decades. He always says he’s never worked at a newspaper that has received so much love from its readers. 

It helps inspire the work we do – especially in trying times. We even created a reader-feedback space across our newsroom that captures the kudos we receive. The string is updated at least once a day with a sweet sentiment or words of support from readers and advertisers like you. 

And since we made our community plea, we have received more support from the community. Folks have been helping where they can – whether it’s $5 or $500, and the generosity, kind words, and support only fuels us to keep fighting to keep The Chronicle alive.

Advertisements are beginning to tick up, too. You can thank the advertisers you see in our paper for the increased page count in recent weeks. More advertising equals more reporting. 

So yes, times have been hard, and we’re not out of the woods yet. But we’re not slowing down. We’re not giving in. We’re going to continue to produce high-quality community journalism for you, reader, as long as we can afford to do so – and even when we can’t, we are still giving it our all.

Erin Tierney-Heggenstaller is the executive editor of The Chronicle. You can reach her at [email protected].


Best Online Multimedia Element

• Cottage Grove Bohemia Mining Days Ore Cart Races video by Bobby Stevens

Best Feature Photo

• Cottage Grove Trashion Show 2022 cover photo by Bob Williams

Best Headline Writing

Creswell Crosses Finnish Line; Bogged down? Creswell hires wetlands consultant, hopes to ease path to development; Council debate ‘mushrooms:’ Creswell, Cottage Grove consider psilocybin production, use; Fewer hues in this week’s news; Smokey skies, watery eyes; Colts beaten, not defeated

Best Feature Story: Personality

Mapping a New Course by Ron Hartman


General Excellence

• February, July, and November issues

Best Educational Coverage

Thurston student suicide awareness project by Ryleigh Norgrove

Best Sports Story

“A view from the top: Thurston coach helps kids wrestle with life — on and off the mat” by Ron Hartman 

Best local column

“A mountain of goodwill helps restore faith in fellow humans,” “Millennials call for respect from Day One,” and “Riding out the economic yo-yo in Lane County” by Michael Dunne

Best Page 1 Design

• Habitat for Humanity cover – Sweat equity; Creswell Winter Lights Celebration; Annual Year in Review by Erin Tierney-Heggenstaller

Best Photo Essay

• Brave Faces: Veterans Day in the Willamette Valley by Bob Williams

Best Online Multimedia Element

•’Top Headlines’ Weekly Reels by Bobby Stevens


Best Graphics

• Creswell Community Yard Sale Map

Best Editorial Page

• June 30, Oct.13, and Oct. 20 pages

Best Special Section 

• Cottage Grove Chamber of Commerce Visitors & Newcomers Guide 2022

Best Coverage of Business of Economic Issue

Weyerhaeuser Timber Strike series by Ryleigh Norgrove

Best Enterprise Reporting

• Cottage Grove Police Use-of-Force Investigation: “Family, witnesses react to Cottage Grove police beating,” “Cottage Grove police officers absolved in use-of-force investigation,” and “Grove OKs body cams” by Ryleigh Norgrove

Best Local Column

“A heavy heart aches for all of Ukraine,” “Petroglyphs near Lorane? Curious …,” and “Here’s hoping we get back to finding common ground” by Pat Edwards

Best Sports Story

“Pleasant Hill’s Arellano breaks state record,” (soccer) by Pierre Weil

Best Government Coverage

“Creswell Town Hall: Questions answered, tensions still high,” by Erin Tierney-Heggenstaller

Best Photo Essay

• Cottage Grove Trashion Show by Bob Williams 

Best Online Multimedia Element

•  “The Chronicle Celebrates Local Journalism at the University of Oregon” video by Bobby Stevens



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