HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii News Now won three first-place awards in a statewide Society of Professional Journalists Hawaii chapter contest announced Friday.
Reporters Rick Daysog and Keoki Kerr took first place in the government reporting television category for a series of stories about the city Ethics Commission investigation that resulted in former Honolulu City Councilman Romy Cachola paying a $50,000 fine. HNN broke the news that Cachola was settling his ethics case, in which he was accused of accepting lavish meals and other gifts from lobbyists and failing to disclose them. HNN's stories also explained how the ethics case expanded to five other current and former council members, potentially jeopardizing key votes on Honolulu's rail transit project, because votes cast by politicians who do not disclose conflicts of interest are supposed to be nullified.
Kerr and Photo Journalists Darin Akita and George Hurd won first place in the television general news and enterprise reporting category for a story about the death and cover-up of a dog at a Kailua doggie day care operation.
A series of Kerr's reports that began with breaking the news of University of Hawaii at Manoa Chancellor Tom Apple's firing won first place in the all-media breaking news category, which includes broadcast, print and digital media.
HNN Anchor/Reporter Lynn Kawano, Special Projects Producer Daryl Huff and Kerr were named finalists in the all-media government reporting category for a number of stories about problems in the state prisons system.
Reporter Ben Gutierrez and Photo Journalist Peter Tang got recognized as finalists in the television general news and enterprise reporting category for a story called "Thief caught on surveillance cam makes 'return' appearance."
Assignment Editor Brenda Salgado, Gutierrez and Tang were finalists in the television feature reporting category for an emotional story about a woman who personally thanked city paramedics who saved her life.
A story about the city of Honolulu paying a settlement to a mentally ill homeless woman who was Tased by police officers earned Akita, Huff and Kerr finalist spots in the television investigative reporting category.
Photo Journalists Dustin Malama and Alan Johnson along with Kerr were finalists in television government reporting for a story about problems with the University of Hawaii at Manoa's new sand volleyball courts that resulted in athletes getting injured and the sand getting replaced, costing UH $260,000.
Members of the Society of Professional Journalists' Connecticut Chapter and the Kansas City Press Club judged this year's annual contest for Hawaii media.