Five staff members from the Mail Tribune received first-place honors Saturday when the results of the 2008 Society of Professional Journalists' Pacific Northwest Excellence in Journalism competition were announced.

Five staff members from the Mail Tribune received first-place honors Saturday when the results of the 2008 Society of Professional Journalists' Pacific Northwest Excellence in Journalism competition were announced.

The top honors were among 18 awards overall won by the Mail Tribune in competition for newspapers with circulations between 25,001 and 65,000.

The competition is open to news media in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska.

In staff-wide categories, the Mail Tribune received second-place honors in three area — in General Excellence, for a selection of papers through the years; in Spot News, for coverage of the fire that destroyed the historic Colver House; and in Comprehensive Coverage, for stories about the fatal crash of a helicopter carrying personnel to combat a Northern California wildfire.

Three members of the Mail Tribune photo staff received first-place honors. Photo editor Bob Pennell in Portrait Photography; photographer Jim Craven in feature photography; and photographer Jamie Lusch in Sports Photography. Lusch also received a second-place award in Feature Photography and a third place in General News Photography.

Editorial Page editor Gary E. Nelson received first-place honors in the Editorial Commentary category.

Reporter Paris Achen was awarded first place for Consumer News for "Dollars & Sense," a story which talked to residents finding ways to cope with the economic crisis.

Second-place individual reporting honors were received by staff members Anita Burke (Crime and Justice Reporting) and Damian Mann (Business Reporting).

Bill Varble's "Between the Lines" was given third-place honors in the General Column category.

Reporter Sarah Lemon received Honorable Mention in a pair of categories, Lifestyles Reporting and Sports Feature.

Three other Mail Tribune reporters received Honorable Mention honors — Burke, for Social Issues; Paul Fattig, for Minority Coverage; and Luke Andrews, for Sports News.

Reporter Vicki Aldous of the Ashland Daily Tidings received second place in the General Column category in the competition for papers with circulations below 25,000.