SPJ honors Hillsboro Tribune, News-Times for editorials
The Hillsboro Tribune and Forest Grove News-Times have been recognized by the Society of Professional Journalists for the newspapers' editorial work.
At a July 1 ceremony, officials with the SPJ's Northwest Excellence in Journalism contest awarded the newspapers' editorial board a shared first-place for commentary writing. Naming it the best editorial board among small newspapers in the Pacific Northwest. The editorial board consists of News-Times editor Mark Miller, Hillsboro Tribune editor Geoff Pursinger and publisher Nikki DeBuse. The three pen editorials for the opinion pages in both the Forest Grove News-Times and Hillsboro Tribune.
The newspapers were recognized for three editorials it published in 2018. The first, "Time to have a difficult conversation about guns" was published shortly after the shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school that killed 17 people. The newspapers called for legislators to take action on measures which would curb gun violence in Oregon. The second editorial, "Hops, and Hops fans, showcase what makes community great," published in September, described an incident between Hillsboro Mayor Steve Callaway and a Hillsboro Hops baseball fan. The fan had used a racially charged slur to describe Hillsboro, which the mayor took issue with. The editorial discussed the importance of combating racism in our ethnically diverse communities. The third editorial, January's "Learn to live with population growth" detailed the seemingly unending construction in western Washington County as thousands of residents move to Hillsboro, Forest Grove and Cornelius.
DeBuse said while it's important for newspapers to remain impartial on its news pages, journalists can, and should, take a stand in the Opinion section. "Newspapers have served as a forum for public discussion of important issues since the days when Ben Franklin ran a printing press," she said. "We may not always come out on the winning side — although we hope that we do — but our editorials aim to challenge readers' views in a way that calls them to action. We're proud to carry on an American tradition."
The SPJ Northwest Excellence in Journalism competition is one of the largest journalism competitions of its kind in the U.S. The newspaper competed against other small publications in SPJ's Region 10, which includes Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Alaska.
The Forest Grove News-Times has been in publication since 1886 and the Hillsboro Tribune was launched in 2012. The two newspapers share an office and several staff and have been recognized several times by the SPJ over the years, most recently in 2018 when the Hillsboro Tribune was named one of the best small newspapers in the Pacific Northwest.
The newspapers were the only Pamplin Media Group publications recognized with awards this year.