Grassroot Institute of Hawaii wins two journalism awards

Grassroot Institute of Hawaii staffers Dave Swann and Keli‘i Akina were among winners at this year’s annual journalism awards ceremony presented by the Hawaii chapter of the national Society of Professional Journalists.

The July 18 event at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii honored some of the best journalism work during 2022 of media outlets throughout the islands, including print newspapers, online news outlets, magazines, and TV and radio stations. It was the first time the awards had been presented in person since before the COVID-19 lockdowns.

Swann, who has been drawing cartoons weekly for the Institute since early 2018, won first place in the “Editorial Cartoon/Illustration” category. Kelsey Ige of Hawaii Business magazine placed second, and John Pritchett of Honolulu Civil Beat won third.

The judges, from SPJ chapters in East Tennessee and Greater Cincinnati, said of Swann’s cartoons: “The bright colors, the attention-getting figures. The joke which is easily understood with a first glance. Those things combine to make this a winning entry.”

Akina, president and CEO of the Institute, placed second in the “Column Writing or Blog/News” category for his weekly “President’s Corner” columns. Eric Stinton as a blogger took the top honor, and Denby Fawcett of Civil Beat placed third.

About Akina’s columns, the judges said: “Nice writing style on topics which can appeal to almost any reader on the islands. Good insight into the major issues presented.”

As part of the nomination process, the Institute submitted 14 Swann cartoons for consideration by the judges. You can view them all on the slide show below.

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If you would like to see more of Swann’s cartoons, go here.

For the “Column writing” category, the Institute submitted five of Akina’s columns for consideration by the judges. Those five columns were:

>> “Unemployment insurance mess back to haunt us,” Jan. 15, 2022.

>> “Ukraine crisis highlights need for Hawaii Jones Act relief,” March 6, 2022.

>> “Time to let Hawaii tourism stand on its own,” May 1, 2022.

>> “Emergency orders our newest emergency,” July 30, 2022.

>> “Counties should not profit from Hawaii housing crisis,” Dec. 17, 2022.

If you would like to see more of Akina’s columns, go here.

Akina said he was proud of the Institute’s accomplishments.

“It’s a team effort,” he said, “and our team has demonstrated its capability to create compelling, witty and thoughtful media content. I am honored and grateful that our work was deemed worthy of recognition by the Society of Professional Journalists.”

As stated on its website, SPJ is the nation’s most broad-based journalism organization with roughly 6,000 members, dedicated to encouraging the free practice of journalism and stimulating high standards of ethical behavior. To learn more about SPJ, go here.

SPJ’s Hawaii chapter supports a free press, news media protections, open government and transparency, as well as journalism education through internships funded by its annual Gridiron show, contests and other means. Its president is former Honolulu Star-Advertiser journalist Stirling Morita. To learn more about SPJ’s Hawaii chapter, go here.

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