WHIO-TV wins 12 SPJ awards, named Ohio’s ‘Best News Operation’

DAYTON, Ohio — WHIO-TV has won 12 Society of Professional Journalists awards in the SPJ’s statewide Ohio’s Best Journalism Contest, including being named ‘Best News Operation,’ among all Ohio television stations, and News Center 7 veteran Cheryl McHenry named the state’s Best News Anchor.

Across the coverage spectrum, from breaking news and weather including the Oregon District mass shooting and Memorial Day tornadoes, and reporting on investigative, criminal justice, education, government, and consumer issues, WHIO-TV was honored with seven first place and five second place wins. That includes News Center 7′s special presentation, The Memorial Day Tornadoes: A Community Rises, receiving Best Documentary.

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“Our community, our newsroom has had a challenging 15 months with the natural disaster and tragic events that have taken place. I’m proud of this team for being there and delivering the critical public safety information our community needed in these difficult times,” WHIO News Director Caryn Golden said. “It’s been emotional and exhausting for everyone. I’m so humbled and honored to have this team’s work be recognized by the Society of Professional Journalists. They deserve it.”

“I’m honored and humbled,” McHenry added on her Best News Anchor win. “The most important thing to me is serving the people of the Miami Valley.”

Journalists from the SPJ’s Northwest Excellence in Journalism Contest, which includes Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Montana and Idaho, judged this year’s awards. They were particularly impressed with the team of McHenry, and fellow WHIO reporters Gabrielle Enright and Sean Cudahy’s education issues reporting, as well as John Bedell and James Brown’s feature reporting.

“Great example of thorough reporting on education issues. Quality storytelling with captivating and useful information,” the judges said. “Great variety of feature stories. The writing and storytelling was especially compelling with the sympathy card and boxing stories.”

The last judge’s comment refers to Brown’s feature on the community sending sympathy cards to fallen Dayton Detective Jeorge DelRio’s family, who was killed in the line of duty.

WHIO-TV was the top television station, and one of Ohio’s top journalism organizations, the Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus statewide SPJ chapters honored for work done in 2019. Journalists, who work for newspaper, magazines, radio, television, trade, online and college media in Ohio and adjacent states that have significant reach into Ohio were eligible to submit entries.

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Ohio’s Best Journalism is the only Ohio competition that honors journalists who fulfill the SPJ mission: defense of the First Amendment, support of literacy, resistance to censorship, advocacy for openness of public records and meetings, media self-criticism and community service.

The statewide wins follow the regional SPJ Greater Cincinnati Pro Chapter recognizing (https://bit.ly/33hx6Dt) WHIO-TV with the most broadcast awards out of any Dayton and Cincinnati area media outlet in June.

A virtual celebration will be held Nov. 6.

A full list of WHIO-TV’s wins are included below:

FIRST PLACE WINS

BEST OF SHOW DISTINCTIONS:

Best News Operation: WHIO Team, Rob Rohr, Caryn Golden, Quincy Wallace, Matthew Simon, Special Projects Alex King, Kimberly Garrett, Kelsey Cano, Bob Garlock, Frazier Smith

Best Anchor: Cheryl McHenry

TELEVISION OVERALL:

Best Documentary: The Memorial Day Tornadoes: A Community Rises Matthew Simon, Caryn Golden, Michael Burianek, Emily Gay, Bob Garlock, Carole Hepp Benson, Paul Morel, Todd Carter, Trey Back, Scott Tipton, Patrick Johnson, Javon Pippins, Steve Maguire

Best Criminal Justice Reporting: Lack of Public Mental Health Treatment Options Increasing Jail Populations; Mike Campbell, Michael Burianek, Matthew Simon, Caryn Golden

Best Education Issues Reporting: Sean Cudahy, Gabrielle Enright, Cheryl McHenry, Matthew Simon, Michael Burianek, Caryn Golden

Best Feature Reporting: John Bedell, James Brown, Michael Burianek, Matthew Simon, Caryn Golden

Best Government Reporting: Jim Otte, Michael Burianek, Matthew Simon, Caryn Golden

SECOND PLACE WINS

BEST OF SHOW DISTINCTIONS:

Best Newscast: The Memorial Day Tornadoes: Emily Gay, Quincy Wallace, Caryn Golden

Best Public Affairs Program: Mass Shootings: Solutions For A Safer Community: Jim Otte, Alex King, Matthew Simon, Caryn Golden

TELEVISION OVERAL:

Best Spot News: The Oregon District Mass Shooting: WHIO Team, Caryn Golden, Quincy Wallace, Matthew Simon, Emily Gay, Cheryl McHenry

Best Consumer Reporting: Jim Otte, James Brown, Rachel Murray, Michael Burianek, Matthew Simon, Caryn Golden

Best Investigative Reporting: The Veterans ER Loophole Matthew Simon, Michael Burianek, Caryn Golden

Matthew Simon

Matthew Simon

I'm proud to lead the I-Team, News Center 7's investigative and special reports unit. During my 20 yrs in the business, I've always admired WHIO-TV as the best in the business. I couldn't resist the opportunity when WHIO-TV recruited me to join their team as Special Projects Executive Producer. Watch my in-depth I-team reports on News Center 7.