Goreville starting pitcher Brodie Lenon gets a water bath from his teammates after defeating Altamont, 19-2, in the Class 1A Super-Sectional at Itchy Jones Stadium on May 28, 2018, in Carbondale. Byron Hetzler won first place for Sports Feature Photo from Illinois APME with this photo.

The Illinois Associated Press Media Editors has announced its newspaper awards for 2018.

Member newspapers from around the state compete in several different categories, including photography, reporting and writing, and digital storytelling.

Competing newspapers are judged compared with newspapers of similar circulation from around the state. The Southern is considered Division II/Mid-Sized.

The Southern's Molly Parker won honors for best use of social media by an individual for her Twitter account @MollyParkerSI.

The Southern staff took home top prize in the following categories:

  • Picture Story: Isaac Smith, for his photos from the Steeleville Queen of Hearts drawing;
  • Investigative Reporting: Molly Parker, for her reporting on public housing issues in Southern Illinois;
  • Sports Feature Photo: Byron Hetzler, for his photo "Cooling Off a Hot Pitcher;"
  • Sports Column or Blog: Bucky Dent for his weekly column about Southern Illinois prep sports.

The Southern also won second or third place in several other categories, including enterprise story, enterprise series, public service, sports feature and in several photography categories.

Southern Illinoisan Publisher Craig Rogers said the awards recognize the newsroom's hard work and dedication to quality journalism that makes a difference in the communities we serve.

"Our communities should be proud to have these award-winning journalists working on their behalf," Rogers said.

The awards for General Excellence and Photo and Editorial Sweepstakes, as well as News Innovator of the Year, will be announced during the annual convention of the Illinois Press Association on May 2 in Springfield, Illinois.

Thirty-five daily newspapers submitted 916 entries in the contest.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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