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PhinneyWood wins national journalism award

We are thrilled and humbled to announce that PhinneyWood has won a national journalism award for reporting on the Oct. 23, 2009, arson in downtown Greenwood.

The Society of Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi awards are judged by veteran journalists around the country. PhinneyWood won the Online Deadline Reporting (Independent) category for “Three-Alarm Fire Destroys Greenwood Businesses.” SPJ received more than 1,300 entries for the awards covering online, newspaper, magazine, television and radio.

That story was the combined efforts of Doree Armstrong and Dale Steinke of PhinneyWood, and Cory and Kate Bergman (a.k.a. the Geeky Swedes) of MyBallard. Between the four of us we were on the scene moments after the call came in and posted updates throughout the day. We also received dozens of email tips and photos from PhinneyWood readers. So, this award is also a testament to the power of community journalism.

While we’re happy to win an award, we’re also sad that it was for such a tragic event. Last fall’s arson spree by Kevin Todd Swalwell (who pleaded guilty to 11 counts or arson and one count of burglary last Friday), terrorized our neighborhood for months, and brought out more than 700 people to an information meeting just days before Swalwell was arrested near the scene of another arson in Shoreline. In a tragic way, it brought our community closer together.

The SPJ Sigma Delta Chi awards will be presented in October.

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