Todd Heywood received the first place award for Public Notice Journalism, one of the MPA's major awards.
His article on Lansing's failure to properly publish notification of a hearing regarding development proposals at the former School for the Blind resulted in City Council's inability to consider providing Indiana based developers a four percent payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) deal. Judges called the article a “good demonstration of why public notice is important.”
Associate Publisher Mickey Hirten won three editorial writing awards. His column headlined “Eyes wide shut,” awarded first place, questioned whether senior staff in the Ingham County Prosecutor's office knew of and ignored the sordid sexual abuses of former Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings III. Judges commented that the column “raises serious, legitimate questions that point to accountability — or lack of, undoubtedly helping to steer the public conversation.” His columns titled “Nature knows best,” about the benefits of wasting deer disease, and “Ad campaign backfires,” about a bungled negative ad campaign by the Greater Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce, received second and third place awards.
Staff writer Lawrence Cosentino took second place in feature writing for his article “'Labeled' but not licked,” a profile of artist Eric Staib, including his struggle with dyslexia and his ultimate success. Judges called it a “combination of crisp writing and a great subject.”
In the same category, Bill Castanier was awarded third place for “Death steals everything but our stories,” a remembrance of author Jim Harrison. Cosentino received an honorable mention for his article, “Zaha slept here,” written after the death of Zaha Hadid, the renowned architect who designed MSU’s Eli & Edythe Broad Art Museum.
Also, in the special section category, Ty Forquer, Jonathan Griffith and Allison Hammerly received the third place award for City Pulse’s Top of the Town section.
All of the 2016 MPA Better Newspaper Contest awards were in the Weekly/News Media A category for publications with circulation greater than 15,000.