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Observer wins multiple awards in annual news competition

Observer staff win multiple awards in statewide news competition

Observer staff report

Published on October 20, 2015 3:44PM

EVERETT — Current and former Chinook Observer staff members won several awards in the 2015 Washington Better Newspaper Contest.

Each year, non-daily newspapers across the state compete for BNC honors in reporting, advertising, photography, and page and web design, as well as the overall quality of the product. In some categories, newspapers compete against other publications with a similar circulation size. In other categories, including most photography categories, all newspapers compete against one another, regardless of size. The competition cycle ran from April 1, 2014, through March 31, 2015.

The competition is sponsored by the Washington Newspaper Publishers’ Association. Winners were announced at a WNPA awards dinner in Everett on Oct. 9.


Former Chinook Observer reporter Katie Wilson won first place in the Government Reporting category for “Disappointment,” her July 2014 story about tourists’ encounters with the rangers at Cape Disappointment State Park. Reporter and photojournalist Natalie St. John won second place in the same category for a November 2014 article about the unintended consequences of allowing “write-in” candidates in Wahkiakum County elections.

St. John also won first place awards in Investigative Reporting for “Crumbling Courts,” a series about unsafe and unethical management practices at manufactured home parks, and Lifestyle Features reporting, for “Wolfing Down Ilwaco” a story about competitive eaters.

St. John won third place awards in “News of the Weird” for “It’s Raining Bears,” a story about state game wardens using tranquilizer darts to remove a family of bears from a tree, and long-form news reporting, for her coverage of a June 2014 incident in which campers on Long Island rescued a family whose boat had capsized.


Former Chinook Observer photojournalist Damian Mulinix won his fourth Miles Turnbull picture of the year award for “Hay Season” a photo essay, captured on black and white square-format film. Mulinix won first place in the Black and White Photo Essay category for the same series and first place in the Color Portrait competition for “Shotgun Victim”, a picture of Long Beach resident Kevin Tore, taken after his mentally ill neighbor shot him with bird pellets.

Mulinix also won a third place spot-news award for “Rescued,” a picture of Long Beach firefighter Tye Caldwell carrying a young survivor of the capsizing incident.

Natalie St. John took third place in the Photographer of the Year competition for a portfolio of pictures taken during the competition cycle. She also won a second place award for a time-lapse photo of dancing kites taken during the 2014 International Kite Festival, and third place for “Life at the horse barn”, a color photo essay about Peninsula equestrians.

Special publication and columns

Coast Weekend editor Rebecca Sedlak won a first-place award for “Our Coast”, an annual visitors’ guide.

Matt Winters won first place in the Best General Interest Column category for his occasional column, “Editor’s Notebook,” which provides a first-person take on life on the Peninsula.


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