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Pictured is photographer Julie McMann’s award-winning photo from the Nov. 1 issue of The Station, which shows Lincoln-Way East football star AJ Henning completing a touchdown during the Griffins’ Oct. 26 IHSA playoff game against the Fighting Saints. Julie McMann/22nd Century Media
Pictured is a list of awards won by 22nd Century Media publications in this year's National Newspaper Association competition.
Staff Report
12:41 pm CDT June 18, 2019

From an “inspirational” obituary to “engaging” breaking news to a “haunting” and “exceptional” investigation, 22nd Century Media publications earned a company-record 16 awards for journalistic excellence from the National Newspaper Association.

It is the seventh year of national competition for 22nd Century Media, parent company of The Frankfort Station, and the 16 awards top the company’s previous high of 14 (2015).

The Station received an honorable mention in sports photography — its fourth National Newspaper Association editorial award — for a photo of Lincoln-Way East football star AJ Henning’s touchdown during the Oct. 26 IHSA first-round playoff game against St. Charles East. The image, shot by photographer Julie McMann, ran in The Station’s Nov. 1
issue.

The National Newspaper Association boasts more than 2,000 members, and this year, its annual Better Newspaper Contest welcomed more than 1,300 entries from 36 states. Winners in the competition, judged by esteemed journalists from across the country, will be honored at an Oct. 5 banquet in Milwaukee.

“I am blown away,” said Joe Coughlin, the company’s publisher. “Our editorial team works tirelessly to produce quality community journalism that informs and equips our readers. The work is for the community, but accolades of this magnitude help validate those
efforts.”

Of the 16 awards won by 22nd Century Media, two were first-place and seven were second-place honors. 22CM also earned three third-place nods, and four were honorable
mention.

The Homer Horizon, the first newspaper launched by 22nd Century Media, earned both first-place awards — one for a feature written by Editor Tom Czaja and the other for an investigative piece produced by a team of
reporters.

Four of the honors went to The Orland Park Prairie, which was recognized for two editorials by Managing Editor Bill Jones, a sports column by Jeff Vorva and an obituary tribute by reporter Meredith
Dobes.

Three each went to The Northbrook Tower and the Malibu Surfside News, 22CM’s only California newspaper. 

The Tower’s editor, Martin Carlino, authored two award-winning articles: a sports feature and an education story. Sports Editor Michal Dwojak earned recognition for a sports news story. 

The Surfside News was honored for its collective work covering the devastating Woolsey Fire, a feature by Editor Lauren Coughlin and a sports story by reporter Chris Megginson.

Other awards were won by The Tinley Junction (a review and a sports feature each by Sports Editor Jeff Vorva) and The Lockport Legend (sports story by Editor Max Lapthorne).

“The variety of work that was recognized is particularly impressive to me,” Publisher Joe Coughlin said. “These are the best reporters in Chicago’s suburbs, and they keep proving
it.”