--- Making a Permanent Impression Since 1994 ---
NORTH HAVEN, CONN. - For the first time, high school journalists have claimed a first place award in the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists' annual contest. The Tattoo, a student publication of The Bristol Press, won in the arts and entertainment category for a travel page written by St. Paul Catholic High School sophomore Courtney Pendleton and Bristol Eastern High School senior Brian LaRue. LaRue wrote about a school trip to France while Pendleton detailed a spring trip to Italy. "It has well written accounts of travels in Italy and France from a student perspective," the judges wrote. "Good photos too." The Tattoo's advisors, Press reporters Jackie Majerus and Steve Collins, garnered an honorable mention in the contest for headline writing. The Bristol Press captured eight first place awards in the SPJ contest, counting the one nabbed by The Tattoo. Including second place finishes and honorable mentions, the Press racked up 13 awards in all. The annual contest is open to all journalists whose work appears in Connecticut news media. Mike Orazzi, chief photographer at the Press, grabbed the most awards, taking two first place and two second place photos. Orazzi's feature photo, "Loyal leap" and a sports photo called "Overtime Goal" won first place. He took second place for a news photo called "Reaching out" and a sports photo called "Take down." Of "Overtime Goal," a shot of a soccer player jumping in the air after a game-winning goal, the judges wrote, "The picture tells the whole story." Staff writer Loretta Waldman won a first place award for general reporting for her story, "Superintendent gets windfall." Waldman shared a first-place award for a general reporting series with former Press reporter James O'Keefe for their stories on the fraud and embezzlement at Bristol Hospital. Their work was "a complex hospital fraud story involving long term employees clearly and thoroughly explained," the judges wrote. Staff writer Majerus snagged a first place award for business reporting, her fifth consecutive win in that category. She won for a story she wrote about the rivalry between Lake Compounce and Riverside amusement parks. In the arts and entertainment category, Tattoo writers Brian LaRue and Courtney Pendleton won first place for a travel page they penned. Press Editor Bill Sarno took a first place award for headline writing. He also took a second place for an editorial. Correspondent Dave Lepore took a first place award for a feature series he wrote called "Local business philanthropy." Collins snagged an honorable mention for an investigative piece he wrote about Congresswoman Nancy Johnson sharing her campaign warchest with political friends. This is the second year the student writers from The Tattoo have been honored by the professional journalism group. Last year, nine writers from the group were recognized for an in-depth project they did on teen suicide. The awards to The Tattoo are the only ones ever awarded in the contest to high school students. The student page appears in the Press on occasional Mondays. Last year, the Press won seven first place awards in the statewide contest.