Staff writers and columnists of the Key Peninsula News won top prizes at the annual Washington Newspaper Publishers Association convention Oct. 12 in Yakima.
Executive Editor Lisa Bryan won first place in the short news category for her reporting on Lakebay Marina (“Proposed Dock Expansion at Lakebay Marina Faces Local Opposition,” KP News, November 2017). Carolyn Wiley won second place in the humor category for her occasional column, “Devil’s Head Diary.” Dan Whitmarsh won third place in the general interest category for his long-running quarterly column, “Writing by Faith.”
Founded in 1887, the WNPA represents approximately 100 community newspapers across the state dedicated to and advocating for local news and “a high standard of publication quality and community leadership,” according to its mission statement. The WNPA presents awards in several categories at its annual convention for work published the previous year.
There were over 1,000 entries from 84 newspapers in the categories where the KP News won awards. “We were the only nonprofit newspaper at the convention and the only monthly,” Bryan said. “Ours is the only newspaper that uses volunteer staff writers and photographers.”
Wiley also attended the awards presentation. “It was quite eye-opening for me; (WNPA) goes to a lot of effort to recognize the importance of community papers,” she said. “It’s also fun to be the second funniest columnist in Washington.”
The KP News was founded as the monthly newsletter of the Key Peninsula Civic Center in 1974. The paper was shut down in 2002 after struggles with content and finances, but re-emerged in 2003 with new management and a new mission to operate as an editorially and financially independent publication under the nonprofit umbrella of the KP Civic Center Association.
“We never dreamt of winning any awards—our mission was to stay solvent,” said Bill Trandum, a civic center board member instrumental in reviving the KP News. “Now, 15 years later, the KP News is an institution, recognized journalistically by professionals, and a worthy survivor.”
Longtime local community leader Jud Morris said, “The KP News is such a great treasure to the community, it is really heartwarming to see the paper acknowledged by the profession for its quality and its mission.” Morris is president of the KP Business Association and Greater Gig Harbor Foundation and Pierce County community director for Children’s Home Society of Washington.
“We have a lot to be proud of, and I think these awards are just an indicator of the quality everyone has come to expect,” said KP News Board President and regular contributor Sara Thompson. “I hope this is just the beginning of a whole new era.”
“These awards are also testimony to a great editorial team,” Bryan said. “I can’t wait for next year as we have some fantastic new work to submit.”