The Lahontan Valley News won 15 awards at Saturday’s annual Nevada Press Association convention and awards presentation. Thomas Ranson, right, had the top sports column in the state for all newspaper divisions in addition to receiving Best Portrait photo for rural newspapers. Editor Emeritus Steve Ranson earned first-place awards in Health News Story (or series), News Photo Coverage and Business Feature.
RENO — The Lahontan Valley News won 15 awards Saturday at the annual Nevada Press Foundation’s Awards of Excellence including the top local sports column in the state.
Prior to the awards, the Nevada Press Association conducted its annual convention in Reno.
The LVN competes in the Rural Division with the Nevada Appeal, Record-Courier, Humboldt Sun, Elko Daily Free Press and other small dailies and nondaily newspapers in southern Nevada.
The father-son dual of Steve and Thomas Ranson, who have been synonymous together with the LVN for parts of four decades, won five first-place awards between them.
Because of a lack of contestants submitting entries in the Rural division’s Local Sports Column, the category was combined with the Urban division newspapers. Thomas Ranson’s Behind the Plate placed ahead of columns from the Las Vegas Review-Journal and the Las Vegas Sun.
The judge’s comments commended Ranson’s column.
“Great writing. Good job providing background and facts to support opinions, nice personal story linking it to a sports theme.”
Ranson, who began taking photographs for the LVN when he was an eighth-grader in junior high school in the late 1990s, also captured first place in Portrait photography for a story about Fallon boys basketball coach Chelle Dalager. The entry was included in a story entitled “Dalager’s rise to the top begins with family.”
According to the judge, “Setting offers a glimpse of the character of the subject. Photo is sharp and well lit. Like the choice of a lower angle and full body of the shot — that subtly highlights the personality of the subject as descried in the story as in, ‘here is someone to be reckoned with.’”
Editor Emeritus Steve Ranson earned first place in three stories: Health News Story (or series), News Photo Coverage and Business Feature.
Ranson’s three-part series in Health News focused on prostate cancer and what it’s like for a male patient to learn of the diagnosis, receive the treatment and then complete the recovery process. The patient Ranson wrote about was himself when his urologist first told him about the cancer two years ago and later have him information about the treatments, which would consist of 43 radiation treatments over the span of three months.
“This first person journey through prostate-cancer radiation therapy was engaging and highly informative, setting just the right tone to encourage people to act without scaring the bejusus out of them. Good job.”
Ranson’s News Photo Coverage centered on the return of Lt. Lowell Twedt’s remains to Nevada. Twedt, whose son William lives in Reno, was shot down over Italy in 1944, and his remains weren’t found until 2017. Through photographs and a story, the reader experiences the pilot’s return to Nevada and his military service at the Northern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Fernley.
The judge said, “Excellent coverage of a very difficult event. Captured the emotion and told the story through the pictures.”
Ranson’s Business Feature Story spotlighted Sandhill Dairy on a morning when the owners gave away free milk. With the coronavirus pandemic raging at the time, the judge called it a feel-good story.
“I particularly liked that the reporter went out and interviewed people in their cars as they waited to get their free milk,” the judge remarked.
In another statewide result for Special Project, the book “Legacies of the Silver State: Nevada Goes to War, placed third behind Range and Nevada magazines. Steve Ranson, David Henley and Ken Beaton wrote more than 70 stories of World War II veterans who have Nevada ties.
The judge wrote, “This book is impactful, with top quality storytelling and writing.”
Steve Ranson: Breaking News Reporting; Editorial Writing; Feature Writing; News Obituary;
Marie Nygren: Non-staff Story
Jeanette Strong: Local Non-Staff Column
Thomas Ranson: Sports Feature Writing
Mike McGarvey: Color Print Ad
Steve Ranson, Adam Trumble: Editorial Page
David Henley: Local Column
Thomas Ranson: Sports Spot News Story
Five journalists were inducted into the Nevada Newspaper Hall of Fame at a luncheon on Saturday. They are former Nevada Appeal and NPA director Barry Smith, Lucius Beebe, Ray Hagar, Frank X. Mullen and Lenita Powers.
The five journalists were approved for induction earlier this month by the Nevada Press Association Board of Directors.
Smith made his mark in Nevada journalism as both an editor and an advocate. He came here in 1996 to become editor of the Nevada Appeal, where he wrote a weekly column and helped increase the paper’s circulation and improve its statehouse coverage.
After being named executive director of the Nevada Press Association in 2006, he helped to improve the state’s open meeting and public records laws, including playing a role in passing the state’s first police body-cam statute.
The late Beebe is the outlier. He lived in Nevada for only 10 years, but during that relatively brief stay he helped to restore Virginia City and resuscitate the historically significant Territorial Enterprise.
Hagar spent most of his career covering sports and politics for t the Reno Gazette-Journal. He began covering public affairs and politics in 2003 as co-host with Sam Shad on Nevada Newsmakers, beginning a new chapter in his career that continues to this day.
Since retiring from the Gazette Journal in 2016, Hagar has continued to write political news features for the paper and to co-host Nevada Newsmakers.
Mullen came to Nevada in 1988 to work for the Reno Gazette-Journal, where he broke stories about dangerous Nevada doctors, malfeasance in state agencies, the abuse of research animals, the Fallon cancer cluster and toxic clouds generated by burning military munitions in California.
He also taught journalism at the Reynolds School of Journalism for more than a dozen years and came out of retirement last year to revive the website of the Reno News & Review.
Lenita Powers began her 43-year career with the Reno Gazette-Journal at what was then called the “Women’s Page” but later became a hard-news reporter covering federal and state courts, the legislature, K-12 and higher education.
She also wrote heart-tugging people features, worked as an assistant city editor, mentored numerous Reynolds School journalism students, and wrote a popular column throughout the 1990s, tackling everything from politics to her own family.