Flint, MI—In its first year entering the Michigan Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest, Flint Beat came away with three awards and one honorable mention for reporting and video, and one honorable mention from the Michigan Press Photographers Association for photography.
“I am incredibly impressed by, and proud of, our team,” said Flint Beat’s managing editor, Scott Atkinson. “Over the past year Flint Beat has grown considerably, and we continue to improve every day. These awards are a testament to our hardworking team.”
Flint Beat competed in the Weekly/News Media Class C category for most of its entries. Classes are designated by the size of a publication’s circulation.
Flint Beat won first place in the Enterprise category for its coverage of gun violence, a team effort between writers Amy Diaz and Sean Campbell as well as coverage by Flint Beat’s founder and publisher, Jiquanda Johnson.
“Covering gun violence is among our top priorities,” Johnson said. “I’m so proud of the team for winning this award and others. Moving forward, we will continue to cover gun violence in the city as well as other issues that are important to the city.”
Diaz had barely been on staff a month when the deadline for MPA entries came around. Having moved to Flint from Florida, that meant she was only on the job for a few weeks before she was doing award-winning reporting.
“I’m very proud of Flint Beat because I of course wasn’t the only person in the category,” Diaz said. “I’m just proud of the work we do, and the team.”
Flint Beat also took place in the sports feature category for Royce Stephens’s “From Football to Boxing: One Man’s Journey to the Olympic Boxing Trials.”
For Best Video Presentation—an open category in which all news outlets in Michigan compete–Flint Beat also won third place and an honorable mention for the videos “Remembering Dan Holbrook, owner of Dan’s Quickstop in Flint, MI” by Mark Felix and “Beat Parking Lot Preaching: Flint pastor steps outside of church walls to bring the word to members,” by Jamal Bransford.
Flint Beat photographer KT Kanazawich also received an honorable mention from the Michigan Press Photographer’s Association this year for a photo of Flint resident Terrell Harris, who was dealing with long-term symptoms from COVID-19.
“I feel really grateful to have received recognition from the MPPA,” Kanazawich said. “As a new member of the Flint community, it’s a privilege to have residents like Terrell allow me to come and document their lives, especially in vulnerable moments.”
Flint Beat was founded in 2017 by Johnson, and recently celebrated it fourth birthday.
“I’m just so proud of the team,” Johnson said. “I can’t wait to see the work they produce in 2021 and beyond.”