The Milwaukee Press Club announced the list of finalists for its 93rd Annual Gridiron Awards for Excellence in Wisconsin Journalism, covering an unusual news year of the pandemic, social unrest, and political turmoil. Milwaukee Independent was selected for 11 features.

The journalism honors follow the fourth year of double digit recognition for the daily news magazine, in competition against all major media outlets in Milwaukee and across Wisconsin.

Founded in 1885, the Milwaukee Press Club is the oldest continuously operating press club in North America. In the context of this competition a “Finalist” has already won an award, but the level of recognition – Gold, Silver, or Bronze – will not be announced until May at the Gridiron Awards event. Traditional that has been an awards dinner, but it will be a virtual ceremony for the second year.

The 11 pending awards for Milwaukee Independent were split over 3 main categories this year, Writing, Visual Journalism, and Online. The work of 6 staff members is recognized in 8 categories. Milwaukee Independent is completing against itself again this year in 3 categories. “Best News Photograph,” “Best Use of Multimedia,” and “Best Hard Feature Story” have 2 entries.

It was an incredible year for recognition over a range of subjects. Milwaukee Independent was the first news organization from Wisconsin to send a team of journalists to cover Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, reporting from Milwaukee’s Sister City of Irpin. Photojournalist Sergi Mykhalchuk’s work received special attention, for his haunting visuals of Irpin on the day after the city was liberated from occupation.

Included was an interview in Mexico with “the Pope’s Favorite Nun,” Sister Norma Pimentel, during a fact finding tour with the Milwaukee nonprofit Forward Latino. Also featured was news coverage of Juneteenth Day, Milwaukee’s Iranian community vigil for Mahsa Amini, and other important social justice issues.

Under the rules, news organizations could only enter work from last year in the Milwaukee Press Club’s competition. The 2023 awards, therefore, reflect editorial produced in 2022. In May, Milwaukee Independent will have earned a total of 59 awards for work since 2016. The Finalists selected for the 93rd Annual Gridiron Awards for Excellence in Wisconsin Journalism are:

01. WRITING: Best Multi-Story Coverage of a Single Feature Topic
Lee Matz, Oleh Pinta, Yaroslav Zdyrko, Halyna Salapata
Residents in Bucha and other cities wander the ruins of shattered lives after surviving Russia’s invasion

02. VISUAL JOURNALISM: Best Photo Essay or Series
Sergi Mykhalchuk
Images from the frontlines: Sergi Mykhalchuk gathers haunting visual evidence in aftermath of occupation

03. VISUAL JOURNALISM: Best News Photograph
Lee Matz
Juneteenth 2022: Milwaukee commemorates Federal holiday for Emancipation with 51st annual parade

04. VISUAL JOURNALISM: Best News Photograph
Lee Matz
Mahsa Amini: Milwaukee’s Iranian community holds vigil for woman who died in police custody in Iran

05. VISUAL JOURNALISM: Best Feature Photograph
Sergi Mykalchuk
Images from the frontlines: Sergi Mykhalchuk photographs the people of Kyiv living daily with war

06. ONLINE EXCLUSIVELY: Best Use of Multimedia
Lee Matz
Sister Norma Pimentel: An impromptu chat with the “Pope’s favorite nun” during a drive to the border

07. ONLINE EXCLUSIVELY: Best Use of Multimedia
Lee Matz
A historic reemergence: America’s Black Holocaust Museum welcomes visitors for first time since 2008

08. ONLINE EXCLUSIVELY: Best Website Design
Milwaukee Independent staff Advertising-Free Website Design

09. ONLINE EXCLUSIVELY: Best Hard Feature Story
Lee Matz
An injustice ends after 38 years: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue finally extends into Downtown Milwaukee

10. ONLINE EXCLUSIVELY: Best Hard Feature Story
Lee Matz
A Gallery of Heroes: War Memorial Center opens Wisconsin’s first Medal of Honor exhibit

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