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‘Examiner’ staff members honored by AP

matt hammond


nate smith


Three Bellefontaine Examiner staff members received awards Sunday during the Ohio Associated Press Media Editors annual banquet in Columbus.

Staff writer Nate Smith earned a first-place plaque in the best columnist category, sports editor Matt Hammond won first place in the best sports feature category and third place in the best sports writer category, and editor Miriam Baier was recognized with a second-place award for best community service.

Mr. Smith, in his third year with the Examiner, submitted a group of entries that included, “Keep the door open when discussing public business,” about county officials going into executive session during a public meeting in the wake of the damaged Logan County Courthouse, and “County’s best interest should be first in auditor pick,” about the selection of a new Logan County Auditor.

On his work, the judges stated, “Nate Smith rises to the top in this contest mainly because he isn’t afraid to take on the powers that be in his community when they deserve to be called out. In this batch of columns, he takes local officials to task for keeping the public in the dark about some important decisions, criticizes a board’s failure to scrap a policy that discriminates against homosexuals and insists that political favoritism be extricated from a key government appointment.”

A 15-year employee of the newspaper, Mr. Hammond took the top award in the best sports feature writer category for his collection of stories that detailed, among other topics, a local mixed martial arts operation and the relationship between Ridgemont athlete Davante Ratleff and his great-grandmother.

“The writer showed his versatility with stories on a variety of topics,” stated the judges. “The story on the athlete playing for his great-grandmother was very moving.”

His entries for the best sports writer category included a column about the Penn State sex assault scandal and an Ohio State football game story.

Mr. Hammond has received six individual writing awards in the last four years.

Mrs. Baier, who has been with the Examiner for more than 30 years, was honored in the best community service category for her piece titled “Battered, but not broken,” which told the story of her personal battle against breast cancer. Her article ran in conjunction with the Logan County Relay for Life, for which she served as a co-honorary chairman.

She was praised by the judges for submitting a “well-written and moving” piece.

The three staff members competed in Division II for newspapers with a daily circulation of 8,000 to 12,999.

A total of 67 daily newspapers submitted 2,742 entries in the contest, which featured news and sports stories, features, editorials, columns, graphics and photos from 2012.

For Division II, entries were judged by editors from The Courier of Houma, La., and the Times-News of Cumberland, Md.

The Associated Press is a not-for-profit news cooperative representing 1,500 newspapers and 5,000 broadcast stations in the United States. Members of AP include 85 daily newspapers in Ohio.

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