Democrat staff wins 5 AP awards

The Decatur Daily Democrat captured five awards in the Indiana Associated Press Managing Editors’  2014 news and photo competition.
    The results of the contest, which recognizes outstanding newspaper writing and photography by member news organizations during 2013, were announced Thursday.
    Daily Democrat staff reporter Mike Lamm won first place in the general interest column-writing competition. Entrants were asked to submit three opinion pieces and were judged on the total body of their work.
    Three DDD staffers — J Swygart, Jannaya Andrews and Lamm — shared the first-place award in the photo package competition with their collage of seasonal weather scenes from throughout Adams County. Lamm placed third in that same category with his photo page of a hot balloon festival that took place in neighboring Van Wert County.
    Two other third-place Associated Press awards also went to Lamm.
    He was recognized in the First Amendment/Community Affairs category for his story, “Tax snafu means refunds for many.”
    The story centered on the fact that hundreds of Adams County low income senior citizens had failed to receive the full deductions on their property taxes to which they were legally entitled due to confusion on the part of the county auditor in the use of net versus gross assessed valuations in calculating those taxes.
    Lamm’s series collectively titled “Meth and an Overcrowded Jail” won a third-place award in the feature series division. The series evolved around the burgeoning number of methamphetamine cases in Adams County and their impact on the overcrowded conditions at the Adams County jail.
    “I am very proud of our editorial staff and the daily efforts they put forth in the preparation of your daily newspaper, Daily Democrat Publisher Ron Storey said. “To be recognized by their peers for their efforts with these awards, to me, re-affirms their commitment to bring our readers a quality daily newspaper.” 
    Among other area newspapers garnering AP awards was the Bluffton News-Banner, which captured first place in deadline news reporting, second place in in the multimedia competition and first place in best use of digital platform.
    The Huntington Herald-Press third place in deadline news reporting; second place in feature writing; second place in non-deadline sports reporting and third place in general interest column writing.