This photo at the Vale City Pool in 2020 won a first-place award for Rachel Parsons of the Enterprise in state journalism competition. (The Enterprise/Rachel Parsons)

VALE – The Malheur Enterprise has been honored by the state newspaper association with 12 awards, including four first-place finishes in judging for journalistic excellence.

The weekly newspaper, based in Vale and founded in 1909, won second place in general excellence, an assessment of the Enterprise’s overall journalistic efforts.

“We work hard to provide Malheur County the kind of quality journalism that is missing from so many communities these days,” said Publisher Les Zaitz. “These awards validate that our small but determined team is providing some of the best journalism in Oregon.”

Rachel Parsons, a multimedia journalist on the staff for summer 2020, won first place in feature photography for her shot of a young swimmer diving into the Vale City Pool and first place for best photo essay for her coverage of a Black Lives Matter rally in Ontario.

Parsons recently completed graduate work in London.

Pat Caldwell, senior reporter at the Enterprise, was awarded first place for best writing for a package of stories produced in 2020.

Yadira Lopez, formerly an education reporter for the Enterprise, won first place for best education reporting for her account of U.S. students who moved with family to Mexico and then returned to Malheur County. Lopez also won second place for best spot news reporting and second place for best government coverage.

Lopez was a reporting fellow at the Enterprise from 2019-2020, placed in partnership with Report for America. She is now a graduate student in New York.

Bailey Lewis and Ardeshir Tabrizian, reporters on the summer staff in 2020, won third place for best enterprise reporting for their investigative work regarding former Ontario City Councilor Freddy Rodriguez. Lewis is now with a Texas news organization and Tabrizian recently joined Salem Reporter.

The Enterprise was award third place for best page one design, best editorial and best special section.

The newspaper is owned by Zaitz, his wife Scotta Callister, and his brother, Lyndon Zaitz. They also own the Keizertimes newspaper in Keizer.

The Argus Observer, the Ontario paper that publishes four days a week, was cited for four honors in its category – second-place awards for best enterprise, best news photo and best website and third place for best editorial.

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