Topeka Capital-Journal Reporters and Photographers Win KPA Awards

The Topeka Capital-Journal received seven awards Friday at the Kansas Press Association’s annual Lifetime Achievement Awards.

Chief Photojournalist/Creative Director Evert Nelson won three, including State Photographer of the Year.

Evert Nelson, chief photojournalist/creative director of the Topeka Capital-Journal, won three awards Friday at the Kansas Press Association's annual journalism competition, including state photographer of the year.

Statehouse reporter Jason Tidd and trending reporter Tim Hrenchir each received two, including a first prize for Tidd.

The winners were announced at the KPA annual convention in Newton.

The Capital-Journal competed in Daily Division VII, which is open to the state’s largest daily newspapers and news websites, with circulations of 5,601 or more. The works concerned were all published in 2021.

The Photographer of the Year contest won by Nelson was open to photographers from all divisions.

A skeleton with a sign accompanies Frito-Lay employees as they demand better pay and working conditions during the strike on July 12, 2021. This photo was part of the winning entry for the photographer's competition Kansas Press Association year won by Evert Nelson, Chief Photojournalist/Creative Director for The Capital-Journal.

Nelson’s winning entry included photos he took showing a variety of current events, including Frito-Lay protests, a restaurant opening, recovering COVID-19 patients and dogs enjoying a swim, among others.

Nelson took second place in the Division VII sports photo category with a photo of University of Kansas basketball player Christian Braun diving against Nevada, and third in its general news category with a photo taken during hot air balloon flight over Topeka.

Kansas junior guard Christian Braun (2) dives over Nevada during the first half of their game Dec. 29, 2021, inside Lawrence's Allen Fieldhouse.  This photo placed second in the Division VII sports photo category of the Kansas Press Association's annual journalism contest after it was taken by Evert Nelson, chief photojournalist/creative director for The Capital-Journal.

A judge wrote of Braun’s photo: “Great shot and nicely framed to show the symmetry of the crowd, banners, scoreboard and the Nevada player on either side. Great action and a really fun shot to to look at.”

Lori Hutchinson's ball,

Tidd ranked first in the Division VII sports stories category with an article about how Fort Scott Community College, amid a shroud of secrecy, halted its once-proud football program after poor performances on the pitch, high staff turnover and the death of a player who allegedly suffered heat stroke during training.

Jason Tidd, statehouse reporter for the Topeka Capital-Journal, won two prizes Friday at the Kansas Press Association's annual journalism competition, including a first-place prize.

“Loved seeing all the years come out on paper and in great detail,” one judge wrote. “Each paragraph was detailed and made me want to read the rest of the story.”

Tidd placed second in the Division VII health stories category with his article about how a rise in COVID-19 cases prompted a key healthcare leader to issue what he compared to “a tornado warning to our community” on COVID. “We are in trouble,” the official said.

A judge wrote: ‘Alarm bells have been ringing throughout Jason Tidd’s story, stark warnings from a hospital chief about a ‘death march of the unvaccinated’, chilling data on child deaths, the impact of the pandemic on hospital staff and nursing school graduations.”

Tim Hrenchir, trending news reporter for the Topeka Capital-Journal, won two awards Friday at the Kansas Press Association's annual journalism contest.

Hrenchir placed second in the Division VII feature film category with an article published just before her execution telling the story of former east-central Kansas resident Lisa Montgomery, who would die by lethal injection in January 2021 to age 52 for the 2004 strangulation murder in northwest Missouri. of future mom Bobbie Jo Stinnett.

Montgomery removed Stinnett’s baby after cutting her from her womb, then tried to pass the baby off as his own. The baby survived.

Lisa Montgomery's former home, pictured here, is near the intersection of 325th and Adams near Melvern in Osage County.  The Topeka Capital-Journal's Tim Hrenchir won an award Friday at the Kansas Press Association's annual journalism contest for an article he wrote telling the story of Montgomery, who was executed by lethal injection in January 2021 at 52 years for the 2004 strangulation murder of a pregnant woman Bobbie Jo Stinnett.

A judge described Hrenchir’s piece as “an excellent, balanced, and thorough piece of long-form journalism that made me question my position on this story (of which I was largely aware).”

Hrenchir placed third in the category of best story from a public notice, which was open to all divisions, with its article highlighting the raze or fix debate over three aging and deteriorating buildings in the center -city of Topeka.

These three aging buildings located along SE 7th Street between S. Kansas Avenue and SE Quincy once belonged to Nick Chiles, a prominent owner and editor of the Black Topeka newspaper.  The Topeka Capital-Journal's Tim Hrenchir won an award Friday at the Kansas Press Association's annual journalism contest for an article he wrote about the ongoing debate over whether to raze them or fix them.

The buildings once belonged to Nick Chiles, a prominent editor of the Black Topeka newspaper who died in 1929.

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