Society of Professional Journalists honors Enterprise editor

The Society of Professional Journalists last week announced the winners of its 2019 Sigma Delta Chi Awards for excellence in journalism.

The editor and co-publisher of The Altamont Enterprise, Melissa Hale-Spencer, was shocked to have won an award for editorial writing. 

Her friend Andrew Schotz, who started his career at The Enterprise and co-edited the newspaper with Hale-Spencer in the 1990s, entered her work in the prestigious contest without telling her. Schotz is now the managing editor of  Bethesda Beat in Maryland.

Judges chose the winners from entries in categories covering print, radio, television and online. The awards recognize outstanding work published or broadcast in 2019.

Two awards were given for editorial writing: for daily newspapers with a circulation up to 100,000 and non-daily papers; and for daily papers with a circulation over 100,000.

Hale-Spencer was awarded for the editorial “Ignoring child victims is easy, absorbing truth is hard,” written after a Lynnwood Elementary School teacher was charged with endangering the welfare of a child. The editorial was based on stories written by Elizabeth Floyd Mair and was illustrated by Carol Coogan.

Tom McNamee of the Chicago Sun-Times won in the larger circulation category.

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