WyoFile won 23 Top of the Rockies journalism awards for its 2022 reporting. For the second year in a row, that’s more than any other “medium newsroom” publication in the four-state competition, and more than any other Wyoming outlet of any size.
The nonprofit news organization’s accolades included six first-place awards, 10 second-place awards and seven third places in the contest, which is administered by the Society of Professional Journalists’ Colorado chapter. Contest judges honored six staff reporters, two editors and four freelance contributors for work published on WyoFile.com.
“That our colleagues recognized each and every member of our newsroom is particularly gratifying,” said Matthew Copeland, WyoFile’s chief executive and editor. “Nothing beats the daily endorsements of our neighbors, readers and members though. That’s who makes this work possible and worthwhile.”
This year’s contest had more than 1,750 entries from more than 100 news media outlets in Wyoming, Colorado, Utah and New Mexico — a 12% increase over the number of entries in 2022, according to SPJ.
“We are pleased to see so many news media outlets competing in Top of the Rockies,” said Deb Hurley Brobst, the contest’s coordinator. “We are seeing top-notch journalism from journalists throughout the region, no matter what the staff size.”
WyoFile State Politics and Government Reporter Mike Koshmrl, Natural Resources Reporter Angus M. Thuermer, Jr., Energy Reporter and Report for America Corps Member Dustin Bleizeffer, Managing Editor Katie Klingsporn and freelance reporter Christine Peterson all won first place. Koshmrl won first place in agriculture and environment news for “Yellowstone: Wolf hunt altered behavior, damaged research.” Thuermer won first place in sports news for “Wyoming billionaires in bidding war for fabled Chelsea Football Club.” Bleizeffer’s “Kemmerer’s locals, leaders eye transition to nuclear-power boom town” won for business enterprise reporting. Klingsporn won best business feature for “In remote outposts, enterprising denizens capitalize on trail traffic,” and Peterson won best science and technology feature for “Euthanize or release? The quandaries of handling captive animals.”
Columnist Kerry Drake won first place news column for “To prevent Wyo suicides, ‘cowboy up’ isn’t an answer.”
In notes, a judge wrote Drake “takes a very pertinent social issue and makes it personal to give the message more impact.”
The nonprofit’s two collaborations with the Casper Star-Tribune won awards for enterprise reporting. “Violence, restraints, isolation increase at Wyoming Boys’ School” took second place and “Wyo GOP chairman quietly assumed power as party fractured” took third.
Other categories WyoFile placed in include social justice, education, politics feature, health feature, mental health feature, climate reporting and beat reporting.
“Our goal is to provide first-rate journalism regarding important issues for Wyoming,” WyoFile Board President David Evans said. “I’m not surprised that we once again received regional recognition for the quality of our work, but it is gratifying. It is a compliment to our organization, but particularly to our dedicated journalists and staff.”