The ECHO News has received its first award for excellent in journalism.
Amy Armstrong, managing editor, received a third place award for specialty articles (sports) from the Alaska Professional Communicators at its May 4 luncheon in Anchorage.
The honored article, “Chugiak Gymnastics Team Remains Undefeated,” appeared in the ECHO News first edition in Sept. 2016. The article highlighted the Chugiak High School girls’ gymnastic team discussing the strengths of its various members and forecast the rest of the competitive season from the perspective of its longtime coach, Wendy Wiltfong.
Armstrong also received two other awards. These were for work in the Chugiak-Eagle River Star prior to the establishment of the ECHO News fall of 2016.
A first place award in the personality profile for more than 500 words of Cindy Just of Eagle River goes on to national competition in the National Federation of Press Women. The article, “Mom Hopes To Raise Awareness of Rare Disease,” appeared in the Chugiak-Eagle River Star on March 10, 2016. The article detailed the death of Just’s daughter Lindsey Just in late Dec. 2015 and the illness leading up to her death. Lindsey contracted a rare blood disease – HLH which is the acronym for hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis – and her mother’s efforts to raise awareness of the disease, its implications and to encourage more aggressive medical studies of the disease which causes a malfunction of T and NK blood cells that usually destroy damaged or infected cells as part of the immune system’s regular daily job.
In evaluating Armstrong’s work, Lindsay Kara, judge for the 2017 print journalism competition wrote, “This was a lovely piece. It started with a good headline and lede that left me intrigued, and the author showed her storytelling chops. The story progressed logically and was easy to follow, and paragraphs and sentences were a manageable length. The final quote was nicely situated.”
Kara also praised Armstrong for skillful introduction of a complicated term – HLH – in a way that did not overwhelm readers.
“This is a tricky aspect of science journalism, so well done,” Kara wrote in the judges’ remarks.
Armstrong received a second place in the feature story category for, “Aviation Father Took Young Pilot Under His Wing” which told the story of the relationship between George Kobelynk and Christian Bohrer. The two were killed in April 2016 in a Cessna crash near the Beach Lake Road. Kobelynk – a pilot and former National Transportation Safety Board crash inspector was the mentor of Bohrer – an upcoming young pilot quickly working his way up the flight ranks.
Kara wrote regarding the article which appeared on April 21 in the Star’s print edition and online the following day, “The author offers an intimate and respectful portrait of the two victims. She did a nice job of keeping the sentences and paragraphs bite-sized, and the title and the lede capture the reader’s attention. The author did a nice job interweaving quotes into the article, and demonstrated skillful handling of a difficult subject: untimely death.”