Breaking news photo award winner

Luke Whittaker won a first place photography prize in our multistate region for his work during a November 2018 apartment fire in Long Beach.

SEATTLE — The Chinook Observer was the runner up in the general excellence category of the annual Society of Professional Journalists annual contest.

The paper competes against small-staff newspapers in Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Idaho and Montana. Awards were announced Monday in Seattle.

Staffer Luke Whittaker, who writes for the Observer and the Coast River Business Journal, earned four awards in the Northwest Excellence in Journalism contest.

A collection of his photographs earned the first-place trophy for “best portfolio” in small-staff newspapers in the five states.

His photo of a woman clutching a dog at a Long Beach apartment fire earned first place in the spot news photography category. He was the runner up in spot news reporting for his coverage of the fire.

He was also the runner up in the general news photography for his “shop with a cop” photo.

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