A young student at Horace Mann Elemantary seems amazed as the clouds break up revealing the solar eclipse on Aug. 21, 2017. The photo was among three by Staff Photographer Bill Lackey nominated for best feature photo. Bill Lackey/Staff

Springfield News-Sun reporters, photographer nominated for 11 awards

Springfield News-Sun has received a total of 11 nominations in its division of the Ohio Associated Press Media Editors’ 2017 newspaper content.

Photographer Bill Lackey led the way for the newsroom with five nominations, including for photographer of the year and all three nominations for the best feature photo of the year category. One of the nominations includes Horace Mann Elementary School students viewing the August solar eclipse.

SEE THE PICTURES: Springfield Students Watch Solar Eclipse

Lackey was also nominated for best news photo, which captured an active fire and its resident getting out with her pets.

Springfield News-Sun Staff Writer Matt Sanctis received three nominations, including as business writer of the year and best explanatory reporting for a story about a mid-air collision of a commercial passenger jet and a private plane over Champaign County 50 years ago and how it changed the way the federal government regulates air traffic.

READ THE COVERAGE: Deadly Champaign County plane crash changed families, safety rules

Sanctis and Staff Writer Parker Perry also earned a nomination for best spot news reporting for covering the West Liberty- Salem school shooting on Jan. 20, 2017.

MORE: West Liberty school shooting rocks tight-knit community

Staff Writer Michael Cooper earned two nominations, including for news writer of the year and best public service reporting. The public service nomination was for Cooper’s work documenting the impact of the opioid epidemic in Clark County and what solutions local leaders are working on.

Cooper won the public service award last year for his Healthy Springfield series, a year-long project reporting on the health of Clark County residents.

READ THE COVERAGE: Progress made against drug overdoses in Clark County but war not over

RELATED: Prevention needed to curb opioid epidemic in Springfield

Tom Stafford also received a nomination for best columnist. The long-time Springfield News-Sun columnist was nominated for his work that included profiles of Springfield residents and community institutions, such as a man who still works after 55 years on the job and a church closing after more than 100 years.

“The Springfield News-Sun staff digs into the important and compelling stories in our community to tell our readers what’s really going on,” Editor Samantha Sommer said. “These awards reflect their hard work and our commitment to report on the stories that no one else is covering in Clark and Champaign counties — whether that’s excellent photographs, what’s happening with our biggest employers or how drug overdoses have affected our safety forces.”

The awards in actual order of finish — first, second and third places — will be announced at the Ohio APME annual awards banquet March 24 in Columbus. The General Excellence and First Amendment winners also will be announced at the meeting.

More than 60 daily newspapers in Ohio submitted more than 1,900 entries in the contest, which included news and sports stories, features, photos and more from 2017.

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