Gov. Kate Brown and kindergarten students give out socially-distanced air-hugs during Gov. Brown's visit to Lincoln Elementary School in Woodburn. These and related photos were cited in May 2022 for journalistic excellence. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Salem Reporter was recognized for journalistic excellence for its coverage of the local homeless population, pandemic coverage and other work performed in 2021.

The local news service earned seven awards, announced last week in regional competition held by the Society of Professional Journalists.

Amanda Loman, freelance photographer from Corvallis, won first place in portrait photography for Salem Reporter’s report in March 2021 on the retirement of Ken Sherman Jr., a prominent Salem attorney and community leader.

Loman won second in general news photography for her coverage of Gov. Kate Brown’s visit last year to a Woodburn school and second in photo essay for her work photographing Salem's homeless residents during the pandemic.

Saphara Harrell, former local government reporter for Salem Reporter, was awarded second place in crime and law enforcement reporting for a mother’s account of the fatal shooting of her addicted son. Harrell won second in poverty and homelessness reporting for tracing the struggles of a Salem man found dead in a local hotel.

Harrell shared two awards with Rachel Alexander, managing editor of Salem Reporter.

They were cited for breaking news for coverage of last year’s ice storm in Salem and for health and science reporting for their reporting on new state efforts to expand addiction treatment.

Salem Reporter competed in the small newsroom division of competition that covered news organizations in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Alaska.

In the large newsroom division, the Salem Statesman-Journal won one award, for health and science reporting.

Judges considered more than 3,000 entries for work done in 2021.

Salem Reporter was founded as a locally-owned digital news service in 2018 by Larry Tokarski, president of Mountain West Investment Corp., and Les Zaitz, a veteran Oregon journalist.

“Every day, our small team goes to work to give Salem the very best possible local news coverage, focused on fairness and accuracy,” said Zaitz, editor and CEO of Salem Reporter. “Nothing matters more to us than earning the trust of Salem readers. These professional awards show those readers that we perform at the highest standards of our profession.”

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