Pat Caldwell led the Enterprise staffers in the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association awards list, with seven awards. (Enterprise file photo).

VALE – Fueled by seven first-place finishes, the Malheur Enterprise was awarded the journalism sweepstakes prize as the most honored weekly in the state by the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association.

The Enterprise won a total of 18 awards in annual competition against other Oregon newspapers for its journalism work in 2019. The state newspaper association announced the awards last week.

The association honored the newspaper with one of its top awards – the sweepstakes award for the weekly newspaper in Oregon scoring the most points based on the other awards.

“Our entire team works hard to deliver Malheur County the very best quality local news,” said Publisher Les Zaitz. “We don’t do it to win awards but it is always a pleasure to be recognized for professional excellence by your peers.”

Reporter Pat Caldwell led the way with seven solo awards. That included first-place honors for best spot news story for reporting on county officials seeking a criminal investigation of the Enterprise, best sports story for his account of the Adrian-Jordan Valley football team’s state championship game, and best business coverage with former reporter Kristine de Leon on a building boom triggered by new marijuana businesses.

Caldwell took second place in enterprise reporting for his account of transload project costs, in personality features for a story about a local photographer.

The Enterprise earned first place for best educational coverage for reporting by de Leon on an Ontario school, for best general feature for a story by former reporting intern Joe Siess on the Vale Hotshots, and for best lifestyle coverage for a story by former reporting intern Isabella Garcia about a local couple rescuing eagles.

The Enterprise was awarded first place in special sections for its Vale 4th of July Rodeo guide and second place for its Malheur County Fair Guide.

A story about a Latino project by former reporter Yadira Lopez won second place for best lifestyle and an illustration that traced the real estate transactions involving the Nyssa rail reload center won second place in the graphics category.

Garcia’s story on the birders also was awarded third place for best personality story, Caldwell was awarded third place in best sports story for another Adrian football team story, and editor Les Zaitz took third place for best editorials.

The reporting team of Caldwell, Lopez, Garcia and Siess was awarded third place in enterprise reporting for their work examining the unfulfilled tax promises to Bluebird Car Wash.

The Enterprise publishes a weekly newspaper and provides an online news service as well. Founded in 1909, the newspaper is owned by Zaitz, his wife Scotta Callister, and his brother, Lyndon Zaitz. They also own the Keizertimes newspaper in Keizer.

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