The Blade won five national awards - including first place for investigative reporting and editorials - at the annual Inland Press Association honors announced this week in Chicago.
The first-place investigative reporting award for daily newspapers with circulations above 75,000 honored a series of articles by Blade staff writers James Drew, Mike Wilkinson, and Steve Eder about the "Coingate" scandal involving the disappearance of state funds invested in rare-coin funds operated by Tom Noe, a former local coin dealer and Republican party fund-raiser. Christopher D. Kirkpatrick, Jim Tankersley, and Josha Boak are other members of The Blade's team investigating Mr. Noe and the scandal that has rocked Ohio's Republican Party.
The Blade won out over investigative reports by its sister paper, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and the Milwaukee (Wis.) Journal Sentinel.
The Blade's selection for first place in editorial excellence was based on five editorials on the "Coingate" affair that were published between May 1 and June 19. The Blade's editorial entry beat out second and third-place winners from the Indianapolis Star and the Milwaukee newspaper.
The Blade placed second in the front-page competition and the local news writing award for personality/individual profiles.
The front-page competition involved front pages from three dates specified by the Inland Press Association and one chosen by The Blade. For the latter, the newspaper selected its Feb. 13, 2005, front page that featured coverage of the first anniversary of a fatal crane collapse at the I-280 Veterans' Glass City Skyway project. The Post-Gazette finished first in this competition.
Blade religion editor David Yonke won second place in local news writing for his personality/individual profile of a Toledo firefighter who was featured in Twist of Faith, a documentary film about sexual abuse of children by priests.
The Blade also took third place in local news writing, explanatory reporting for stories by science writer Jenni Laidman and staff writer Tad Vezner for their coverage of animal care, administration, and other operational problems at the Toledo Zoo.
The Inland Press Association is a trade group of more than 870 newspapers from all 50 states, Canada, and Bermuda. It also has journalism school affiliates, whose professors judge its annual newsroom contests.
The investigative, explanatory, and personality/profile stories were judged by the School of Journalism and Telecommunications at the University of Kentucky. The front page contest was judged by the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, and the editorial competition was judged by the William Allen White School of Journalism at the University of Kansas.
In a separate competition, Steve Pollick, outdoors editor of The Blade, received two awards recently in the 2005 writing competition of the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers.
Mr. Pollick was awarded first place for best newspaper outdoors page/section for "Gunsmith," an illustrated profile on retired Gibsonburg gunsmith Bill Nietz, which appeared Jan. 30 as the monthly outdoors feature on the Toledo Magazine page.
A third-place award in newspaper writing on hunting topics went to Mr. Pollick for a column on Nov. 9, 2004, about 81-year-old Marjorie Stachowski of Waterville, who uses a wheelchair but was granted a wish to return to the pheasant hunts of her youth.
The AGLOW awards were announced in Alexandria, Minn.