Messenger took honors in depth reporting, public service and sports in the 2016 New York State Associated Press Association contest

ALBANY — The Daily Messenger earned three awards for depth reporting, public service and sports in the 2016 New York State Associated Press Association contest. The annual contest recognizes excellence in writing, photography and design.

The contest was for stories broadcast, printed or posted online in 2016. The winners were announced Saturday night at the organization's annual banquet in Saratoga Springs.

Messenger Sports Editor Robert Chavez took first place for his story, "Two Worlds, One Purpose,” about challenges overcome by Canandaigua Academy senior and star athlete Coron Broomfield.

Reporter Melody Burri took second place in the Depth Reporting category for her coverage of “Finger Lakes Gaming and Racing Dilemma," through a series of reports on the struggles faced by the Finger Lakes Gaming and Racetrack attraction in Farmington, Ontario County.

Burri also took second place in the Public Service category, along with reporter Aaron Curtis and senior reporter Julie Sherwood for their coverage of the "Heroin Epidemic.”

Messenger Post news partner, News 10NBC, WHEC-TV Rochester, also took home awards. Brett Davidsen, investigative reporter with WHEC, won best reporter in the television Reporter or Anchor category. WHEC-TV’s Steve Patrick, Michael Loson and Rob Vandenbergh won second place for their documentary "NYS Exposed: Home is Worth Fighting for."

Other award winners included journalists with Daily Messenger parent company Gatehouse Media. Those include John Anderson with The (Hornell) Evening Tribune, who won second place in the Sports Column category.

Daily Messenger journalists have scored a number of top honors in recent years from the New York State Associated Press Association. That included last year’s announcement of winners in the association’s 2015 Better Newspaper Contest. The contest measures papers of similar size against one another in categories such as news, photography and advertising, with approximately 4,000 entries received annually. In that contest, Sherwood earned a first-place for a series of stories in the Elections/Politics category, second-place for stories involving healthcare, and a second place in the newspaper’s circulation division for stories covering local government. Curtis earned first-place honors for a series of stories in the newspaper’s circulation division covering crime, police and courts; Curtis also took second place in the newspaper’s circulation division in depth reporting category for a series on cold cases. Messenger Photographer Jack Haley earned third-place honors in the newspaper’s circulation division in the Sports Feature Photo category.