The Cap Times won 22 awards in the Wisconsin Newspaper Association’s annual journalism contest, including seven first-place prizes.
Reporter Natalie Yahr won two of those first place awards, including one in the features category for a collection of Black Lives Matter protester profiles. She also shared a first in the investigative category with colleague Katelyn Ferral for a piece about retaliation by Epic Systems Corp. management when employees pushed back on plans to return to their Verona campus during the COVID-19 pandemic. Yahr also took second place in the "Rookie Reporter of the Year" category.
Reporter Steven Elbow won both first and second place in the enterprise reporting category. The first was about efforts by the Madison Latino Consortium to help undocumented families hit hard by the pandemic, and the second was for a piece examining scant progress in reducing racial disparities in Dane County in the past decade. Elbow won a second first place award in the environmental reporting category for a cover story about PFAS contamination in local waterways.
Reporter Abigail Becker won first place in the reporting on local government category for the second consecutive year for stories about the inability of city clerks to sanction campaign finance report violators, a report that says Madison's governmental structure is "fundamentally unfair" to people of color and the poor and also for a story about local efforts to conduct the 2020 Spring Election during the pandemic. Becker also received an honorable mention in the environmental reporting category for a piece about how changing weather patterns have forced area farmers to adapt.
City Editor Jason Joyce took first place in the sports column category for pieces about two local high school basketball stars who returned to Madison to play against the UW Badger men, the enormous success of the UW women's volleyball team and a resurgent Edgewood College women's basketball team.
Photojournalist Ruthie Hauge took first and third place awards in the photo gallery category for "Madison nightlife, redefined" and "Madison heads to the waterfront for summer evening fun," respectively.
State government reporter Briana Reilly won a second place award in the community engagement category with managing editor Chris Murphy for a series of four candidate debates held over Zoom for open legislative seats in the 16th Senate District, the 26th Senate District, the 48th Assembly District and the 76th Assembly District. Reilly also won an honorable mention in the investigative reporting category for a piece about a controversial manager in the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs.
K-12 schools reporter Scott Girard won second place in the reporting on local schools category for pieces about parents and teachers adjusting to virtual learning and the response of Lowell Elementary School to a teacher-student incident. Girard also won second place in the features category for a story about the Madison Metropolitan School District's efforts to make its curriculum more inclusive and third place in the general news category for a story about a walkout by West High School students in support of a fired security guard.
Reporter Nicholas Garton won second place in the sports feature category for a cover story about the influence of Andrea Nelson on the local boxing scene.
The opinion desk team of John Nichols, Dave Zweifel and Jessie Opoien won third place in the editorial category for pieces about stationing police officers in Madison schools, efforts by the Legislature to take some school funding authority away from the governor and a third encouraging Gov. Tony Evers to declare a lockdown at the beginning of the pandemic.
Higher education reporter Yvonne Kim won third place in the reporting on local education category, including pieces about the reaction of UW-Madison students to the suspension of in-person classes and a legislative proposal to punish students who disrupt public speeches. Kim also won third place in the features category for a look at efforts by UW-Madison graduate students to improve workplace conditions, and an honorable mention in the ongoing coverage category for other pieces about UW workplace conditions including protests connected to the 2016 suicide of a doctoral student and efforts by labor groups to push the university to protect worker wages and benefits during the pandemic.
The Cap Times also won third place in the community engagement category for the 2019 edition of Cap Times Idea Fest. Named were managing editor Murphy, editor and publisher Paul Fanlund, chief revenue officer Mike Kornemann and graphics editor Brandon Raygo.
The association announced the winners via video on Friday. The contest covered work done between September 2019 and August 2020, and the Cap Times competed in the division with Wisconsin's largest daily newspapers.