National Headliner Awards honor Review-Journal

Sheila Hoonsan breaks down at the viewing for her mom, Elizabeth Swartz, who died of COVID-19 a ...

The Las Vegas Review-Journal took home several honors in this year’s National Headliner Awards and Best of the West journalism competitions, including first-place awards for photography and the news organization’s “7@7” streaming newscast.

The Review-Journal won five awards in the Headliner contest, one of the oldest and most prestigious competitions in the country.

“The Review-Journal’s wins in this year’s National Headliner Awards are reflective of the talent, skill and dedication across our newsroom,” Review-Journal Executive Editor Glenn Cook said of the contest, founded in 1934 by the Press Club of Atlantic City. “We’re telling important stories in different and incredible ways. Thanks to the Headliner judges for recognizing our print, digital and video work as among the very best in the country.”

The Review-Journal won first place in Journalistic Innovation for its video newscast, “7@7,” which debuted in January 2021. The fast-paced newscast is based on RJ reporting that also appears in the daily newspaper and at reviewjournal.com, and can be watched on a smartphone or a big-screen TV.

“The Journalistic Innovation award speaks to the quality of work from our anchors, reporters, producers, videographers and photographers, as well as the production and digital teams that support ‘7@7,’” said Jim Prather, the Review-Journal’s executive director of programming. “Each newscast is built on the great content generated daily by our Review-Journal team. We will continue to evolve our product for the growing local and national audience that watches ‘7@7.’”

The judges said creativity led to the “7@7” win.

“The LVRJ set out to blaze a new trail for an online newscast,” the judges wrote. “After research, they came up with ‘7@7,’ a seven-minute newscast each morning and evening at 7. This is not television news, although at first it might appear so. This is no-nonsense, here-are-the-facts news. This mobile-oriented innovation has had several thousand views per episode. Segment hosts were selected to reflect diversity in the community.”

The newspaper also won first place for Staff Photo Portfolio. Review-Journal photographers Chitose Suzuki, K.M. Cannon, L.E. Baskow, Erik Verduzco, Ellen Schmidt, Benjamin Hager, Bizuayehu Tesfaye and Chase Stevens captured the winning images.

“The Review Journal staff portfolio was outstanding, with powerful, emotive, sometimes funny, creative and sometimes cringe-worthy pictures throughout,” the judges wrote. “The excellence of images throughout the portfolio set it apart from the other entries.”

For her coverage of crime and courts in Las Vegas, investigative reporter Briana Erickson earned second place for local news beat coverage or continuing story not in a top-20 media market. Her stories included a look at Clark County’s evidence vault, the anniversary of a deadly apartment complex fire and how Las Vegas police cracked a decades-old cold case.

The Review-Journal staff won third place for breaking news in daily newspapers of all sizes for its coverage of the deadly car crash involving former Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs.

Review-Journal editorial cartoonist Michael Ramirez won third place for a portfolio of his work from 2021, including blistering takes on Vladimir Putin, the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol and inflationary policies. Ramirez, who has won two Pulitzer Prizes among many national awards, also won this year’s Overseas Press Club of America contest for editorial cartooning.

In the Best of the West competition, Review-Journal photographer Ellen Schmidt won first place in News Slideshow for “A loss that lingers,” images of families who lost loved ones to COVID-19.

“The investment of time and the level of access gained by the photographer to make this package happen is commendable,” the judges wrote. “There was so much raw emotion captured and very little redundancy in images. The empathy that comes through in this set of images is quite remarkable. Very well done.”

Schmidt’s work beat a compilation of Los Angeles Times photos documenting the fall of Afghanistan.

Christopher Lawrence won second place in the Best of the West contest’s Arts and Entertainment Writing category for “Not fit for a King,” a look at Elvis Presley’s Las Vegas debut in 1956.

“I’m happy the Review-Journal saw fit to allow Christopher Lawrence the space and time to craft this delightful, well-researched piece of pop anthropology,” the category judge wrote.

Both contests recognized the best journalism produced in 2021.

Contact Jonah Dylan at jdylan@reviewjournal.com. Follow @TheJonahDylan on Twitter.