The results are in from the 2022 Florida Press Association’s Weekly Newspaper Contest, and The Laker/Lutz News received top honors in several categories.
The newspaper competed in Division A of the contest, which is for papers with circulations of 15,000 or more — the largest division in the competition.
The results were announced on Aug. 5 at an awards luncheon at the 2022 Florida Media Conference, at Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa in Ponte Vedra.
A diverse collection of stories and photographs received recognition.
Stories by Kevin Weiss that received awards:
- Detailed Pasco County’s economic growth
- Shared insights from a renowned educator on the issue of racial equity
- Reported efforts to seek solutions to the opioid crisis
B.C. Manion received recognition for:
- A feature on a high school principal who has created a culture for success
- A profile on a 105-year-old woman, who still enjoys life’s simple pleasures
- An obituary about a community “mover and shaker” who left her imprint on Lutz
- A news story detailing deep budget cuts facing Hillsborough County Schools
Photographer Fred Bellet, a regular contributor to The Laker/Lutz News, received the Robert J. Ellison Memorial Award for a portfolio of photographs. It is the most prestigious photography award bestowed in the competition.
His other honors:
- Photos in a single issue, first place
- Sports photography, third place
The Laker/Lutz News also swept the reader-generated photo category, with photos submitted by Scott MacKay, Jia Wang and Gary Owens winning first, second and third place, respectively. Their prize-winning shots were published in our Local Wildlife weekly photo feature.
Although they were not formally recognized, the quality work created by the newspaper could not be achieved without the crucial contributions of Matt Mistretta, our art director; Stefanie Burlingame, our graphic designer; and Mary Rathman, our editorial assistant.
Others playing a vital role in making it possible to provide our readers with a free local source of community news are Brian Calle, our owner and publisher; Terri Williamson, Mary Jane Weeks and Carolyn Bennett, on our advertising staff; Mary Eberhard, in accounting; Kelli Carmack, our digital content manager; and Steve Mistretta, in IT.
Of course, advertising support and loyal readership also are keys to our success.
During the past year, there have been changes at The Laker/Lutz News.
Diane Kortus, the owner and publisher for 21 years, sold the newspaper to Street Media LLC in November.
Weiss left his role to accept a new opportunity at the City of Zephyrhills, handling public information. Mike Camunas joined our news team and already is producing memorable stories and photographs.
Calle, CEO of Street Media, recently appointed Frank Vasquez, Street Media’s COO, to lead the team at The Laker/Lutz News.
Street Media also owns L.A. Weekly, The Village Voice, Irvine Weekly, Marina Times, and media operations in Texas and North Carolina.
The Laker/Lutz News 2022 Florida Press Association awards:
- Portfolio photography: Fred Bellet, first place in his division; and, winner of the Robert J. Ellison Memorial Award, the most prestigious photography award in the contest
- Photo series in one issue: Fred Bellet, first place
- Sports photography: Fred Bellet, third place
- Reader-generated photos: Scott MacKay, Jia Wang and Gary Owens winning first, second and third respectively.
Education news: B.C. Manion, first place
Education feature story: Kevin Weiss, first place; B.C. Manion, third place
Business reporting: Kevin Weiss, first place
Health, medical and science reporting: Kevin Weiss, second place
Best obituary: B.C. Manion, third place
Feature profile: B.C. Manion, third place
Published August 10, 2022