Hood River News took home first place in General Excellence at the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association Better Newspaper Contest on Friday.
News Publisher Joe Petshow accepted the award at the ONPA annual convention in Bend.
Hood River News also won first place in Lifestyle Coverage for the May 2012 series “Acts of Injustice,” written by Julie Raefield-Gobbo, Kirby Neumann-Rea and Maija Yasui.
Adam Lapierre won two awards, including Best Sports Photo, for his “Local Style” image of a stand-up paddler cruising the rapids of the Hood River past a fly fisherman on the far bank.
Lapierre also won third place in Best Photo Essay for “Restoring the Run,” his article and photos on bringing salmon back to the Hood after removal of the Powerdale Dam in 2011.
The News took first among papers with similar circulation for the General Excellence Award; Gresham Outlook took second, and McMinnville News Register placed third.
General Excellence judging takes into account writing, photography, headlines, editorials, graphics, printing quality, ad design and layout, and other overall factors.
The “Acts of Injustice” series was a collaboration with community members and groups, including The History Museum of Hood River County, and local author Maija Yasui, who has spent years documenting the plight of local Japanese-American families before, during and after World War II.
Raefield-Gobbo, who now works for the Providence Hospital Foundation, worked with Yasui, Tualatin author Dr. Linda Tamura (a Pine Grove native) and others on the three-part series involving seven separate articles about how residents of the Hood River valley were forcibly removed by train to internment camps in desert area of the west, 60 years to the date of their deportation.
Yasui wrote poignantly about letters from the camps from children who were students of her aunt Vienna Annala Van Loan.
Yasui wrote: “Hood River’s Japanese had three options prior to evacuation: to entrust their belongings to neighbors for safekeeping, to sell their items for pennies on the dollar or to abandon their homes, orchards, businesses, cars, tractors, farm, animals, pets and personal possessions. They were only allowed to take what they could carry onto the awaiting train.”