The Mail Tribune received several awards in the 2011 Society of Professional Journalists Northwest Excellence in Journalism contest.

The Mail Tribune received several awards in the 2011 Society of Professional Journalists Northwest Excellence in Journalism contest.

Winners were announced Saturday night at banquets in Portland and Seattle.

The annual contest is held by Region 10 of SPJ to honor journalism in Oregon, Alaska, Washington, Idaho and Montana. The Mail Tribune competed in the Small-Sized Dailies category, for daily newspapers with circulations up to 25,000.

Staff photographer Jamie Lusch received a pair of first-place awards, in the News Photography and Sports Photography categories. Lusch's news photo depicted a fire outside of the Rogue River area; his sports photo was an action shot from a Southern Oregon University football game.

Sports editor Tim Trower received first place in Sports Reporting for his story headlined "A feather in Stetson's cap," in which he covered the Crater Rotary Classic track meet — focusing on the record-breaking effort of North Medford's Stetson Smith in the 800-meter run.

Former Mail Tribune reporter Paris Achen, who now writes for The Columbian in Vancouver, Wash., was the first-place winner in Education Reporting for he story "OK, so you cut $12 million" detailing the difficulty Rogue Valley schools face meeting budget shortfalls.

Copy Editor Eric Martin received first place in the Page Design category for a selection of his Mail Tribune front pages, including one previewing the national championship college football game between the Oregon Ducks and Auburn Tigers.

Reporter Damian Mann took second place in Government & Political Reporting for "Here's the deal," which looked at the contact that Jackson County has with County Administrator Danny Jordan.

Editorial page editor Gary E. Nelson received second place in the Editorial & Commentary category for a selection of his editorials.