Colorado Community Media staff netted eight awards during the annual Top of the Rockies contest hosted by the Society for Professional Journalists, or SPJ, in downtown Denver on April 22.
With 24 newspapers across the Front Range, CCM reporters competed in the “Large Newsroom” category, which included larger publications and outlets from Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Wyoming.
CCM had two first-place honors. Evergreen/Conifer reporter Deb Hurley Brobst took the top honors in the category of Obit Reporting for her article on Mandi Evans, who “gave more to the community than great food.”
South Metro Editor Thelma Grimes took first place in the Mental Health writing category for a series she and two high school interns wrote in 2022. The “Need to Succeed” series broke down how the combination of college costs, social media and parent and societal expectations is costing kids their childhoods.
Several CCM staff members won second-place honors.
Luke Zarzecki took second place in the Feature: Long Form category for his story titled, “Uprooting the American dream: Opinions changing about lush lawns.”
For general reporting in a series or package, several south metro staff members combined for a second-place award. Former reporters Jessica Gibbs and Elliott Wenzler along with Grimes and current CCM reporter McKenna Harford took an extensive look throughout 2022 at the Douglas County School District’s termination of former superintendent Corey Wise.
In Enterprise Reporting, former Littleton reporter Robert Tann won for his in-depth look at police chases that span over Douglas and Arapahoe counties.
Arvada Reporter Rylee Dunn won third place for her in-depth look at parents in the Jefferson County School District. Dunn’s article, “Inside Jeffco Kids First, and Ganahl’s furor over students,” won in the Education: News category.
For extended coverage, CCM’s Digital Editor Deborah Grigsby won third-place honors for her coverage of mobile home legislation in 2022.
In design, CCM’s Tom Fildey won third place for Single Page Design where he featured a photo page of a wildfire impacting bighorn sheep.