Gilligan: TH team’s talent a source of pride

I was thrilled for TH reporter Allie Hinga when she won two significant awards in the 2020 Iowa Better Newspaper Contest, awarded Friday at the Iowa Newspaper Association’s annual conference.

She was presented with the Jay P. Wagner Prize for Young Journalists, as well as the Genevieve Mauck Stoufer Outstanding Young Iowa Journalist Award. Allie interned with us when she was a student at University of Missouri — one of the best journalism schools in the country. A few years later, we hired her full time as our education reporter.

Since then, Allie has diligently reported on the issues, trends and personalities in our community schools. Three times since then, she’s placed in the top three in this contest for coverage of education, earning second place this year.

I appreciate that Allie has really made Dubuque home and gotten involved in the community. She spent a chunk of her vacation time chaperoning a youth service trip with her church. Her interest and investment in young people only bolster her ability to cover education. We’re proud to have her on our TH team.

I cheered, too, for the Daily Iowan, which was named Newspaper of the Year. We’ve had lots of interns hone their skills at the DI, including Kayli Reese, a native of Hazel Green, Wis., who was a TH intern in 2018 and served as news editor at the Daily Iowan. Katina Zentz, the daughter of TH copy editor Renny Zentz, interned in our photo department last summer. She helped the Daily Iowan secure its big win last week with two first-place photo awards for best slideshow and best news feature. I feel good about the future of journalism knowing the good work these college students are doing.

Another shout-out goes to Jeff Montgomery, our hard-working business reporter. We took first place in coverage of business, and that was squarely on Jeff’s shoulders. Jeff maintains solid coverage on all aspects of business in the tri-states. His weekly Biz Buzz column is consistently one of the best-read stories in the paper each week. He’s received multiple reporting awards since he joined the TH in 2013. Jeff is a graduate of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and he worked at newspapers in Freeport, Ill., and Eldridge, Iowa, before joining our newsroom.

Brian Cooper managed to snag one last award in his last year on the TH staff before retirement. Brian and I have long had both our names on our editorial writing entry, and our second-place win this year makes an even 20 awards for the two of us as an editorial writing duo.

I’m proud of the work we do at the TH every day and deeply gratified to see the people who do that work recognized.