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June 3, 2005

Bristol Press and The Tattoo capture 17 state journalism awards

NORTH HAVEN – The Bristol Press and The Tattoo won nine first place awards in the annual Society of Professional Journalists contest this year.

In all, the Bristol newspaper captured 17 awards – winning five first place, seven second place and five honorable mentions between two photographers and four reporters.

The Tattoo and 13 of its teenage writers and artists won four first place awards.

Press photographer Mike Orazzi grabbed two first place awards in three photo categories – one for “Running graduate” in the feature photo category,  and one for “Fly ball” in the sports photo category.

Press reporter Steve Collins captured a first place in the investigative reporting category for a story he wrote about the fairness of a proposed street light settlement offered the city by Connecticut Light & Power Co.

Press reporter Jackie Majerus snagged two first place writing awards, one in the sports feature category for “Sibling rivalry,” a story about twin brothers Michael and Paul Bellantuono, who have divided baseball loyalties.

Majerus also took first place in the business category for a profile she wrote about ESPN President George Bodenheimer. It was the 12th consecutive first place business writing award for Majerus since she joined the Press in 1993.

Writers and artists for The Tattoo, a teenage publication run by Majerus and Collins, won four first place awards in the statewide contest for professional journalists.

Joe Keo and Katie Jordan, both seniors at Bristol Eastern High School, each won three first place awards.

For the third year in a row, Keo took top honors in the editorial cartoons category. This year, his winning entry was about torture in Iraq.

Jordan won first place in the sports column category for “A whole new outlook on sports and America,” a piece she wrote after interviewing Afghan girls who were visiting the U.S. to play soccer.

In the arts and entertainment category, Keo and Jordan shared a first place award for articles they wrote about visiting the Mark Twain House and Museum in Hartford.

Though the writers have changed over the years, The Tattoo has won the arts and entertainment category in the SPJ contest every year since 1988.

Besting professional reporters, 13 teenage writers from The Tattoo snagged first place in the feature series category for their 2004 edition of “Insider’s Guide to High School,” an annual series of advice for incoming freshmen.

The writers who shared that award were Keo, Jordan, Eastern junior Kate Haire, Terryville High School junior Stefan Koski, Bristol Central High School sophomores Jen Plonski and Christine French and long distance Tattoo writers Kaishi Lee of Singapore, Minha Lee of Minnesota, Teague Neal of Canada, Zach Brokenrope of Nebraska, Jessica Burkhart of Florida and Monica Gleberman of New York. Sarah Jordan, a graduate of Eastern, also shared in the award.

Press reporter Amy V. Talit, who joined the staff last year, won second place in the spot news category for a story about a fire damaging Bristol’s oldest house.

Collins won a second place in the in-depth reporting category for a story he wrote about problems with rental property investors.

Collins and Majerus together shared two second place awards.

They won second place in the investigative series category for their coverage of the death of 5-year-old Sean Rice, a little boy who was killed by a falling dead tree limb at Lake Compounce a year ago.

The couple also won in the general reporting series category for the stories they wrote after former Bristol Press Publisher Bart Barnes died last year.

Also writing about Barnes in the 2004 contest was former Press Editor Frank Keegan, who won the prestigious First Amendment Award for a column he wrote about his old boss.

“Even in death, E. Bartlett Barnes is spreading the word about the First Amendment,” the judges said. “Keegan relives past victories for the Press and expresses a wonderful hope for the future. We see Barnes in every First Amendment ‘freedom fighter’ we know.”

Veteran Press sportswriter Jack Lautier won an honorable mention in the sports news category for “Delaware rallies.”

Orazzi also won two honorable mentions, one in the news photo category for “Send off for Company C,” and one in the sports photo category for “Breaking through.”

Majerus won an honorable mention for the headlines she wrote for The Tattoo.

Former Press photographer Brian Totin won three second place awards – one for a feature photo called “An eye towards the future,” one for a sports photo called “Basketball collision,” and one for a photo layout. He also won an honorable mention for a photo called “A driving rain” in the features category.

The awards earned by the Press and The Tattoo were in the circulation category of 21,000 or less. All the winning Tattoo stories and cartoons can be viewed on the group's web site at and most of the winning Press stories are archived at

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