Gazette editor, assistant editor both named finalists in AP contest


The Delaware Gazette has been named a finalist in three categories in the Ohio Associated Press Media Editors’ 2020 newspaper contest, the AP announced Tuesday.

The Gazette, which competes against 39 other publications in Division I, is a finalist in the Best Special Sports Section for its 2020 Fall Sports Preview. In addition, Gazette Editor Joshua Keeran is a finalist in the Best Headline Writer category, and Gazette Assistant Editor Gary Budzak is a finalist in the Best Public Service category.

The awards in actual order of finish — first, second and third places — will be announced during a virtual awards program to be held at a later date.

Keeran, who holds a B.A. in journalism from The Ohio State University, began his journalism career in 2004. A Delaware resident since 2011, Keeran began working at The Gazette in September 2017. He was promoted to editor in February 2018.

A winner of multiple AP awards over his career, Keeran placed second overall last year in the Best Headline Writer category.

“It’s always an honor to be recognized by the Ohio AP Media Editors as the awards are voted on by fellow journalists,” Keeran said. “To be recognized by my peers is something I’m extremely proud of.”

In the Best Public Service category, Budzak submitted 20 articles he wrote on the “We’re in This Together” online course offered by Ohio Wesleyan University in 2020. The course looked at the coronavirus from an academic perspective as professors from many disciplines taught what they knew about prior pandemics and what they knew about COVID-19.

“(The series) turned out to be a blast, perhaps the highlight of a very difficult year on a personal basis,” Budzak said. “It felt like being a student again, taking notes and quenching a thirst for knowledge. Not only that, it was a great service on behalf of Ohio Wesleyan, given during a time when accurate information was sought after by the public.

“So much was learned, not just by the several thousand people taking the course, but by readers of the series as well. It was fascinating to relate to them what we know about previous pandemics throughout history, how advertising had changed within weeks, what shape our economic recovery might be like, and even the surprising amount of pandemic-generated literary works available.”

Budzak, who holds a B.A. in journalism from The Ohio State University, has won awards for his work at The Columbus Dispatch and ThisWeek Newspapers. He was previously the managing editor of The Sunbury News. Budzak lives with his wife in Westerville.

As for the recognition received for The Gazette’s 2020 Fall Sports Preview, which featured detailed stories and photos on the county’s seven high school football teams along with schedules for all fall sports teams, Keeran said all the credit goes to Sports Editor Ben Stroup.

“As the longest-tenured employee in the editorial department at The Gazette, Ben’s knowledge of the local sports scene and the relationships he has built with coaches and athletic directors is second to none, and it shows in his work,” Keeran said. “Ben’s storytelling abilities are an asset to this publication as is his ability to capture the action through a camera lens.”

Fifty-two daily newspapers submitted 1,418 entries in the contest, which featured news and sports stories, features, editorials, columns, graphics, and photos from 2020.

Entries in Division I were judged by editors from the Petoskey (Michigan) News-Review and the Alpena (Michigan) News.

The Associated Press is a not-for-profit news cooperative representing newspapers and broadcast stations in the United States.



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