Will Brumleve of the Paxton Record took first place in the small newspaper category for his coverage of several important issues surrounding the fate of an older school facility in east central Illinois, and the board’s work with its community while facing a possible school finance referendum. Second place in this category went to Ann Gill of the Coal City Courant. Third place went to Justin A. Cobb of the Scott County Times.
In the mid-sized newspaper category, the Galena Gazette earned the top prize for Hilary Dickerson’s complete coverage of the Galena Board of Education’s options for facilities improvement and reducing overcrowding. Other award winners in this category were Igor Studenkov of the Niles Bugle and team coverage from the Prairie Press.
Among the larger Illinois newspapers, the first place Cole Award went to Allison Goodrich of the Northwest Herald for her extensive, informative, and clear coverage leading up to and during the McHenry teachers strike. Runners-up in this category were Emily K. Coleman of the Northwest Herald and Jason Nevel of the Springfield State Journal-Register.