The Sun named newspaper of the year by Md.-Del.-D.C. press group

The Baltimore Sun was named Newspaper of the Year on Friday in the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association awards contest and also took home the association's annual honor for "extraordinary efforts" to gain access to public records.

The Sun has been chosen Newspaper of the Year seven times in the past eight years. The Washington Post won the award in 2008.

The James S. Keat Freedom of Information Award, named for a former Sun editor, was granted to The Sun for its pursuit of public records relating to property taxes, speed cameras and public school spending. Investigations into politicians' use of stadium skyboxes, violence at the Inner Harbor and monitoring by city officials of protesters at McKeldin Square also contributed to The Sun's receiving the award.

Among daily papers with a circulation of 75,000 or more, The Sun won 49 first- or second-place awards for its editorial content; The Post won 22; The News Journal in Wilmington, Del., won nine.

The Sun also won six awards in competition with all dailies.

Ten of the Sun's 22 first-place award winners were also considered Best in Show, meaning they were superior to the first-place winners from other circulation divisions.

The Sun's first-place winners (Best in Show winners are designated with an asterisk):

•Editorial: Peter Jensen, for "Baltimore and bigotry," about Baltimore County Del. Patrick L. McDonough's response to violence at the Inner Harbor on St. Patrick's Day.

•Local column, critical thinking: Jean Marbella, for "Huguely defense never quite found its footing."

•Local column, feature or humor: Susan Reimer, for "Why they wept for Penn State."

•Spot news: Kevin Rector, Michael Dresser and Yvonne Wenger, for coverage of a train accident that resulted in two deaths.*

•General news story: Justin Fenton, for a look into the conditions young offenders face at a Baltimore detention center.*

•Continuing coverage: Jamie Smith Hopkins, for articles about the closing of the Sparrows Point steel mill.

•Feature story, non-profile: Jonathan Pitts, for an article about an artistic clinician who creates facial prosthetics.*

•State government: Annie Linskey, for "Searching souls on gay marriage," about swing votes in the General Assembly.

•Growth and land use reporting: Tim Wheeler, for "Defecting from farm protection," about conservation agreements in Maryland.

•Editorial cartoon: Kevin Kallaugher, for commentary on the U.S. health care system.*

•Election and ballot initiatives: The Sun's metro staff, for coverage of the same-sex marriage referendum.

•Spot news photography: Karl Merton Ferron, for a photograph capturing the wrath of Hurricane Sandy.

•Sports photography: Karl Merton Ferron, for a photograph of Orioles catcher Matt Wieters attempting to tag a New York Yankee at home plate.*

•Sports story: The Sun's sports staff, for an article about the University of Maryland joining the Big Ten Conference.*

•Sports feature story: Jean Marbella, for "Still hungry for gold," a story about swimmer Michael Phelps leading up to his London Olympics performance.*

•Education reporting: Erica Green, for "City schools play loose with credit."*

•Religion reporting: Yvonne Wenger, for "Call for a miracle," about a family's attempt to document a miracle as their adopted daughter underwent a heart transplant.

•Special section: Sun magazine staff, for the issue celebrating The Sun's 175th anniversary.

•Front page design: Jay Judge, for a layout on swimmer Michael Phelps' "Amazing Ride."*

•Best use of interactive media: The Sun staff, for speed camera coverage.*

•Online commentary or blog: The Sun's photo staff and community coordinators, for The Darkroom photography blog.

•Community service and citizen involvement: Olivia Hubert-Allen and Patrick Maynard, for 2012 election results.

The Baltimore Sun Media Group's community newspapers, which compete in smaller circulation divisions, won more than 80 awards.

The Aegis tied for Newspaper of the Year in its division. The Howard County Times won Newspaper of the Year among non-daily newspapers in its division.

steve.kilar@baltsun.com

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