2021 | News

Bethesda Beat wins nine awards in press association contest

Honors given for reporting, photography, candidate guide, reader essay series

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Bethesda Beat received nine awards this week — including two Best of Show honors — in the Maryland-Delaware-DC Press Association’s annual contest.

The contest was for MDDC members’ work published in 2020.

Daily and weekly newspapers and online news organizations in the region compete in seven divisions. Bethesda Beat is in the online-only division.

In each category, first and second prizes may be awarded. The first-prize winners in each category are then judged for Best of Show across all divisions.

Bethesda Beat had seven first-place awards and two second-place awards.

Bethesda Beat’s two Best of Show winners were:

• Education reporting: staff writer Caitlynn Peetz, for a story showing that about half of the third-graders in Montgomery County Public Schools ended the 2018-19 academic year unable to read at or above grade level

• Online blog commentary: the Coronavirus Chronicles series, in which dozens of Bethesda Beat readers submitted essays about their COVID-19 thoughts and experiences. The series was organized and edited by Leigh McDonald, Bethesda Beat’s audience engagement and digital marketing manager.

Other first-place awards were:

• Breaking news photo: Peetz, with a photo of Col. Zadok A. Magruder student Nicole Badobre holding a megaphone at a protest

• Feature story, profile: intern Rose Horowitch, for a story about Chevy Chase resident Rodney Vieira completing a virtual Boston Marathon at Suburban Hospital, 11 years after he was treated there for a heart attack

• Public service: Managing Editor Andy Schotz, for compiling Bethesda Beat’s candidate guide for the June 2 primary

• Environmental reporting: Horowitch, for a story looking at how Montgomery County’s plastic waste increased as people stayed home more during the pandemic

• Arts and entertainment reporting: intern Matt McDonald, for a story on the pandemic’s harm to Montgomery County’s arts organizations

Second-place awards were:

• Feature story, non-profile: Matt McDonald, for a story about Reemberto Rodriguez’s quest to walk almost every street in Silver Spring

• Continuing coverage: Peetz, for her coverage of a Montgomery County Public Schools boundary analysis.

MDDC usually gives its annual awards at a luncheon, but the event was canceled for the second straight year because of the pandemic. Instead, the press association announced this year’s winners in daily videos on its YouTube channel Tuesday through Friday.