The national Inland Press Association on Monday presented the Daily Herald with a first-place award for excellence in digital journalism.
The Daily Herald also took the top award for editorial excellence for newspapers with circulation of more than 100,000, as well as eight additional awards, including two for first place.
Of the Daily Herald's digital news, judges said the "solid print reporting translates well to dailyherald.com, featuring online photo galleries plus videos serving the suburban readership."
The judges praised a series of postelection editorials, led by Deputy Managing Editor Jim Slusher, on the importance of a free press for "demonstrating its necessity in a free society but also calling on readers to actively play their role."
Watchdog reporter Jake Griffin won first place in explanatory journalism for his series, "300 miles from Flint: Is your water safe?" As a result of the series, Illinois lawmakers required all schools and day-care centers to test water for lead by 2018.
John Starks won a first in sports photography for "World Series victory leap," a photo of the Chicago Cubs celebrating as they won the World Series in Cleveland. "Great expression, good clean background and nice graphic appeal are the result of the photographer knowing where to be when the moment occurred," the judges said.
The Inland Press Association represents more than 1,000 daily and weekly newspapers in the United States.
"We're so proud of our staff members and their devotion to bringing the community the best local journalism we can. These awards are a reflection of that devotion, and while the recognition is meaningful, the most important award we can win is the loyalty and satisfaction of our readers," Editor John Lampinen said.
Second-place awards for the Daily Herald are:
• Front page. The judges praised the pages submitted, particularly the front page celebrating the Cubs World Series victory, which they called a "standout."
• Personality profile, for staff writer Barbara Vitello's story, "Richard III, truly powerful."
• Feature photography for Daniel White's photo, "Morning bugler."
Third-place awards are:
• Creative use of multimedia for the video "War, Faith & Fun in a 70-year Marriage."
• Investigative reporting for Jake Griffin's weekly "Tax Watchdog" column.
An honorable mention for sports photographer was awarded to Paul Valade for "Volleyball spike."