Lawrence Times places for several Awards of Excellence, including Photographer and Journalist of the Year

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The Lawrence Times news team has been honored with six Awards of Excellence from the Kansas Press Association, four of which span all circulation divisions.

Two of our winning entries were judged in Division VII — the publications with the largest circulation numbers in the state.

Mackenzie Clark, reporter/founder of the Times, repeats her first-place win for Best Digital Project. She also won third place Journalist of the Year. Both awards are selected from among all circulation divisions.

Maya Hodison, equity reporter and engagement director, earned second place for Best News Story in Division VII for her April 5, 2023 article, “‘He can’t rest’: Family of Kamarjay Shaw unable to hold burial because plot wasn’t dug.” The category is very broad, and this is the first time the publication has placed in it.

“This story was difficult to do,” Hodison said. “Kamarjay was a 14-year-old Black child in this community, and he was loved to the core by many. I want to acknowledge and thank the Shaw/Dowdell family for their openness and trust in allowing me to tell this story. It’s one layer that speaks to the larger systemic injustice they’ve experienced here in Lawrence for generations.”

Molly Adams, photojournalist and news operations coordinator, was selected as second place Photographer of the Year, which spans all divisions. She also won third place for Best Story/Picture Combination for her Nov. 26, 2023 coverage, “KU professor leads students in prescribed burn at Lecompton prairie.”

The publication also won third place across all divisions for Best Use of Social Media. 

“It is an incredible honor to lead a fledgling news organization with team members whose work can stand alongside that of journalists with decades more experience,” Clark said. “It is also an honor to continue doing this work without a paywall so our coverage is open to everyone, and we deeply appreciate readers who pay for subscriptions to help us stay afloat.”

Judges provided commentary for some entries.

Of Adams’ photos, they wrote, “Images capture raw emotion as well as great stills – all able to tell very different stories.”

“I am honored to receive this award, which not only recognizes my work but also celebrates the resilience and stories of the communities I photograph,” Adams said. “I am deeply grateful for the privilege and opportunity to represent these diverse and vibrant communities through my photography.”

The judge wrote that Clark did a “tremendous job” covering the heavy topics in her entries, which primarily centered on law enforcement misconduct, crime and courts. They wrote that these topics can be difficult to cover and stay objective; “however each article presented the facts for the reader to decide for themselves what they think. That’s not easy to do and the fact you did so so well, is commendable,” they wrote.

Clark’s Best Digital Project entry this year was the Feb. 26, 2023 post “FAQs, background info and timelines as Lawrence school board mulls closing buildings.”

“An incredible overarching encyclopedia of information succinctly composed with compelling titles that provoke thought and inspire action through the guidance of an extremely satisfying visual display of easy to read typefaces, separative fonts, filled with distinct colors that are true to The Lawrence Times brand,” the judge wrote. “… This is an incredible piece of work that has great potential to inspire any reader to pursue a strong understanding of the issue.”

The judge also complimented the “collage of high quality photographs” at the top of the page, “which belong to three of Lawrence Times’ very own skilled photographers.” Those photos were taken by Tricia Masenthin, August Rudisell and Adams.

“The judges’ thoughtful commentary about my work is incredibly validating and so appreciated,” Clark said. “I am so fortunate to run The Lawrence Times, but my true passion has always been reporting. I make my best effort to be meticulous in every detail I publish, whether within my articles or in things like the interactive charts and timelines I compile to ‘show’ rather than ‘tell’ readers about important information.”

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Clark, 33, earlier this year was also chosen for Editor & Publisher’s 25 Under 35 Class of 2024. The selections showcase “our future — one that’s inspired, passionate and innovative — reinvigorated by fresh ideas and talent,” editors wrote.

The photos and posts below comprise our award-winning entries.

Lawrence man’s lawsuit against ex-cop, city to end with settlement; case reveals details of internal investigations

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A federal civil case against an ex Lawrence police officer, the city, and a former police chief was set to proceed to trial this month, but the parties have reached a settlement. 
Internal investigation documents in the case file reveal details that have never been made public about two cases that brought officer integrity issues into the spotlight in Douglas County.

Lawrence man says he feared getting shot by police during standoff; jury finds him not guilty

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Louis Galloway would have gotten out of the car when officers told him to repeatedly for roughly an hour one night in April, but the vehicle’s broken passenger door didn’t open. Instead, he sat there with his hands in the air and a dog in his lap, both of them getting pelted with what’s essentially a powdered version of pepper spray.

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This post is by the Lawrence Times news team.

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