The Salt Lake Tribune wins top honors in the Society of Professional Journalists’ Utah competition

The Salt Lake Tribune’s reporting, editing and photography have been honored by the Utah Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

The Tribune received 16 first place prizes in the annual SPJ Chapter competition at an awards banquet held Thursday night at the Gallivan Center. The Tribune also received eight second-place awards, nine third-place honors and five honorable mentions.

Among the highlights of The Tribune:

• The Tribune was honored as Utah’s top news-focused website.

• Political journalist Bryan Schott was named the state’s top journalist.

• Tribune photographer Trent Nelson has been honored as Utah’s top news photographer.

Family members at a vigil at the State Capitol in Salt Lake City for Staff Sgt. Taylor Hoover on Sunday, August 29, 2021. Hoover was killed in a suicide bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan. The photo was among those that won Salt Lake Tribune photographer Trent Nelson the “Best Photographer” award in the Society of Professional Journalists’ annual Utah Headliners Chapter competition, the results of which were announced June 16. 2022.

• The Tribune’s coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic received top honors. The staff of The Tribune received a top prize for their continued coverage of COVID-19, while The Tribune writers swept the podium in the COVID-19 investigative category – taking first, second, third and honorable mention.

• In individual newscasts, The Tribune reporters received first place awards for coverage of education, environment, arts and entertainment, criminal justice, government and journalism of solutions.

• Tribune reporters also received first place for their continuous coverage (of rural homelessness) and general reporting (for coverage of the deaths of Paiute children at a state-run boarding school).

Among the special prizes awarded on Thursday evening, The Tribune received two.

One was the Josephine Zimmerman Pioneer in Journalism Award, given to The Tribune’s team of journalists – including reporters Jessica Miller and Paighten Harkins, and former staffers Matt Canham and Sam Stecklow – and the PBS documentary series “Frontline”, for the “Shots Fired” project. The project combined investigative work, data journalism and “uniquely effective cross-platform storytelling” to create a database of police-involved shootings in Utah – a database that no law enforcement agency the law had compiled by itself.

The other was the Public Service Award, given to the Utah Investigative Journalism Project, for its two-year reporting project “The Eviction Empire,” in partnership with The Tribune. Reporters who worked on the project reviewed thousands of documents and interviewed nearly 150 sources, including more than 100 deported Utahns, to understand their experiences. The project created a website,, which consolidated renter resources and explained Utah’s housing laws in plain English.

Here are the awards received by The Tribune in this year’s annual competition. (For a complete list of winners from all media, including radio and television, go to the SPJ Utah Chapter website,

News-oriented site

• First place: The Salt Lake Tribune team.


• First place: Bryan Schott.


• First place: Trent Nelson.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Edgar Gago, a man living on the streets of Provo, portrayed a portrait on Sunday, May 16, 2021. The photo was among those that won Salt Lake Tribune photographer Trent Nelson the award. for “Best Photographer” in the Society of Professional Journalists’ annual Utah Headliners Chapter competition, the results of which were announced June 16, 2022.

Arts and entertainment report

• First place: Sean P. Means, “Ballet alumni described body shaming, prejudice and bullying. University of Utah faculty are committed to further reform.

Business/consumer relationships

• Third place: Kolbie Peterson, “Enter the world of Goodwill Outlet dumpsters, where some Utahns fuel the ultimate stampede.”

Continuous coverage

• First place: Taylor Stevens, Bethany Rodgers, Trent Nelson, “Rural Homelessness in Utah”.

• Honorable Mention: Tony Semerad, “Wealth in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”.

Continuous COVID-19 coverage

• First place: The Salt Lake Tribune team.

COVID-19 Survey Coverage

• First Place: Bethany Rodgers, Taylor Stevens and Erin Alberty, “Utah’s leaders went rogue in the early coronavirus response.”

• Second Place: Erin Alberty, “Utahans Missed Millions in Coronavirus Relief.”

• Third place: Jessica Miller, shared with Nate Carlisle, FOX 13, “Here are the men who died of COVID-19 in Utah prisons.”

• Honorable Mention: Erin Alberty, “Utah kids aren’t told about exposure to COVID-19 until it’s almost too late to self-quarantine.”

Criminal justice reports

• First Place: Connor Sanders, “In the Shadow of Utah’s National Parks, Police Juggle High Call Volumes.”

• Third Place: Matthew D. LaPlante, “With the Talking Ban, Utah Police and others may have lost a window into planned protests.”

Diversity and Equity Reports

• Third Place: Becky Jacobs, “How the Other Half Eats”.

Education reports

• First Place: Courtney Tanner, “Earthquake Hazards in Utah Schools”.

• Third Place: Courtney Tanner, “Ratings are starting to pick up in Salt Lake City, but don’t expect pre-pandemic scores.”

Environmental reports

• First Place: Zak Podmore, Francisco Kjolseth, “As Lake Powell Shrinks, The Colorado River Comes To Life.”

Feature page design

• Second place: Rudy Mesicek, cover of The Mix, June 6, 2021.

• Third place: Rudy Mesicek: cover of The Mix, January 17, 2021.

General feature reports

• First Place: Courtney Tanner and Alastair Lee Bitsóí, “Bodies of Paiute Children Reportedly Buried at the Site of the Former Utah Indian Boarding School.”

• Second Place: Courtney Tanner, “’Mr. Lewis, your wife woke up.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) The city won’t allow homeless people to sleep in tents, so a woman covers herself with a blanket under an overpass, trying to stay out of the snow, Tuesday, Dec. 28 2021. The photo won Tribune photographer Rick Egan first place in the “general news photo” category in the Society of Professional Journalists’ annual Utah Headliners Chapter competition, the results of which were announced June 16, 2022.

General News Photo

• First Place: Rick Egan, “No Tents Allowed”.

• Third place: Trent Nelson, “Fallen Marine”.

General news report

• Runner Up: Leia Larsen, “$500,000 of federal coronavirus money used to build tubing hill in Uintah County, Utah.”

• Honorable Mention: Leia Larsen, “How a Habitat for Humanity Building Plan Gone Wrong”.

Government reports

• First Place: Leia Larsen, “Republican Women Say They Lived in Toxic Environment in Salt Lake County GOP.”

• Second place: Matt Canham, “What is ‘the Utah way’?”

• Honorable Mention: Bryan Schott, “Utah Group Goes Door-to-Door Searching for Voter Fraud”.


• First place: Francisco Kjolseth and Zak Podmore, “Shrinking Lake Powell”.

personality profile

• Honorable Mention: Peggy Fletcher Stack, “This ‘Jeopardy!’ King likes atlases, Legos, long novels and anecdotes, but who is the real Ken Jennings? »

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Two wild horses from the Onaqui wild horse herd train and fight, after the first day of wild horse removal from Utah’s Onaqui Mountains near Dugway, Wednesday, the 14th July 2021. The photo was part of a package that earned Salt Lake Tribune photographer Rick Egan third place for “photo essay” in the Society of Professional Journalists’ annual Utah Headliners Chapter contest, the results of which were announced on June 16, 2022.

Photo documentary

• Third place: Rick Egan, “Onaqui Horses”.


• Second Place: David Noyce, Peggy Fletcher Stack, Christopher Samuels, “‘Mormon Land’: Following the Capitol Siege, a Conversation with Retired Senate Leader Harry Reid.”

• Third Place: Xoel Cardenas, Andy Larsen and Eric Walden, “How ‘Bout This Jazz, Ep. 11: Can the Utah Jazz Backcourt Step Up Their Defense?

Solutions Journalism

• First Place: Luke Peterson, “How a Utah Vertical Farm is Fighting Climate Change.”

• Second Place: Saige Miller and Becky Jacobs, “Closing Utah’s Wage Gap”.

News photo spot

• First place: Rick Egan, “Parleys Fire”.

Use of news-oriented social media

• Second place: The Salt Lake Tribune team, The Salt Lake Tribune on Twitter.

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