Colorado Sun reporters honored with dozens of awards at Top of the Rockies journalism contest


The Colorado Sun won more than two dozen awards in the four-state Top of the Rockies journalism contest over the weekend, receiving more recognition than any other Colorado news organization in its class.

The Sun, competing in the ‘extra-large newsroom’ category despite being less than half the size of many of its peers, won 28 awards in total, including nine first prizes in the contest sponsored by the Society of Professional Journalists.

Colorado Public Radio received 11 total awards in the same category, as did the Colorado Springs Gazette and the Denver Gazette.

Seventy-five news outlets and a dozen freelance journalists from Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and New Mexico participated in this year’s contest, submitting 1,507 entries, SPJ said.

The organization also recognized Sun editor Larry Ryckman as Colorado’s Journalist of the Year. Ryckman spearheaded the launch of The Sun in 2018 and oversaw its expansion from the original 10 journalists to a staff of 25. Additionally, the SPJ noted that he brokered the acquisition of The Sun, with backing from the National Trust for Local News, of more than 20 local underground publications which include Colorado Community Media.

The Sun stories and journalists honored by the journalism organization were:

First place

  • Extended coverage, Jennifer Brown, for its extensive roaming coverage. Among his stories: 10 moves in 4 months: following the endless migration of a homeless couple around Denver.
  • Running Out of Options, a joint survey of residential treatment centers in Colorado by The Sun’s Jennifer Brown and 9News’ Jeremy Jojola. The judges said, “The series, which has helped spur new state policy and legislative proposals, is the kind of compelling and meaningful work that journalists everywhere could aspire to.”
  • Beat reporting, by a health and climate journalist Michael Booth. The judges said, “The reporter has a mastery of his environmental rhythm that few other reporters exhibit. His stories blend hard data and insightful reporting with the human stories that make the issues he covers so compelling.
  • Zillow spent a lot of money in Colorado’s Front Range this summer, months before the home flipping business collapsed, in Jason Blevinsfor business reports.
  • Politics-News, by Your Vo and sandra fish for their work on the redrawing. Among their stories: Although Colorado’s new redistricting process was independent, there was still a lot of political influence. The judges said, “Comprehensive look at a subject that is difficult to explain. Good use of interactive content to add depth.
  • Is Colorado home to an ancient astronomical observatory? The question is to test the limits of archeology, science and technology in David Gilbert. The judges said, “The winner incorporated a full span of the story and enough animated quotes to keep this longer piece from getting bogged down.”
  • Opponents refuse to play on Branson’s hard-sided football field. Now the city needs (another) miracle, sports news by Kevin Simpson.
  • news chronicle, Mike Litwin. The judges said, “Clear, witty writing that keeps the reader engaged, whatever the subject.”
  • editorial cartoons, Drew Litton. The judges said: “Litton’s cartoons are innovative in their approach and clear in their meaning. They offer a good combination of humor and seriousness.

The second place

  • A town in Colorado nearly ran out of drinking water. Experts say it’s a window to the future, farming and environmental news by Shannon Najmabadi.
  • The Marshall fire, breaking news report by Jesse Paul, Thy Vo, Olivia Prentzel, David Gilbert, Shannon Najmabadi, Jennifer Brown and Danika Worthington.
  • One of Colorado’s poorest school districts has given its superintendent a 17% raise after losing more than $1 million in state funding, education news by Erica Breunlin.
  • “What did I miss? » editorial cartoons of R. Alan Brooks, Cori Redford.
  • Three family members tried to avoid the coronavirus in their Colorado home. He found them all and killed them anyway, abbreviated by jesse paul.
  • 10 Moves in 4 Months: Following a homeless couple’s endless migration around Denver, an infographic from Eric Lubbers and Jennifer Brown.
  • Colorado has half a billion dollars to fix its mental health system. But it won’t work without workers, mental health news by Jennifer Brown.
  • The behind-the-scenes story of Governor Jared Polis during Colorado’s coronavirus crisis, political reporting by jesse paul.
  • No, there is no evidence that ivermectin can cure COVID. But can it fight West Nile virus in Colorado?, science and technology article by John Ingold.

Third place

  • How Colorado Ballet reinvented costumes for ‘The Nutcracker’ – and saved designers and makers hit by the pandemic, A&E news or a report by Marc Jaffe.
  • Climate change is not happening in the future, it is already here. Here’s how it impacts your daily life, climate reports from Michael Booth.
  • Tragedy often begets more tragedy. Denver coroner wants to break the cycle by offering help to families, health news in John Ingold.
  • Racial discrimination still exists in jury selection. The Colorado Supreme Court rejected a proposal to resolve this legal problem by Your Vo.
  • Snowboarders facing criminal charges for avalanche over I-70 lose critical battle in court, legal news by Jason Blevins.
  • Monarch Pass could serve as a new model for wildfire mitigation in hazardous areas, multimedia story by Jason Blevins.
  • news chronicle, Diane Carman.
  • The ACLU has become a powerful player on Capitol Hill in Colorado. But at what price?, political news by jesse paul and Allison SherryCPR News.
  • ‘We can’t broadcast through a mountain’: Digital dead zones hamper Colorado first responders, science and technology news by Shannon Najmabadi.
  • Armed guards helped evict residents from an East Colfax motel in violation of tenant laws, lawsuits, social justice reports by Tatiana Flowers.

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