Honolulu Civil Beat was named Hawaii’s best online news site for the seventh consecutive year Friday as the Hawaii Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists held its 2016 Excellence in Journalism Awards banquet.

Civil Beat placed first in seven categories, including Public Service Reporting for “Dying for Vacation,” a series examining the causes of visitor deaths and the effort — or lack of it — to address one of the highest rates of visitor drownings in the country.

Six first-place awards went to Honolulu Magazine, five to the Maui News, and Hana Hou! magazine, four to KHON-TV, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald and Hawaii Magazine, three to Hawaii Business Magazine and Shannon Wianecki, and two to Pacific Business News, West Hawaii TodayGreen Island Films and the University of Hawaii (for reporting by students).

Visitors enjoy posing photographs at Lanai Lookout as large surf from tropical storm Guillermo, pounds the shoreline cliffs. 6 aug 2015. photograph Cory Lum/Civil Beat
Visitors pose for photos on a dangerous perch at Lanai Lookout as large surf from Tropical Storm Guillermo pounds the shoreline cliffs. This photo appeared in Civil Beat’s “Dying for Vacation” series. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Winners of a single first-place award included BuzzFeed, Nella Media Group, All Hawaii News, Hawaii in Real Life.com, the Molokai Dispatch, for Kauai, Hawaii Public Radio, Hawaii News Now, Voice of America and PBS Hawaii.

A full list of winners can be viewed on the SPJ Hawaii home page.

The Louisville Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists judged the contest.

In addition to the Best Online New Site and Public Service awards, Civil Beat first-place finishers included:

• All-media investigative reporting, “Hawaii School Aide Said He Saw Abuse, Then He Got Fired,” by John Hill. The judge commented, “what made this entry stand out is the narrative writing. I found myself wanting to read to the end to find out what happened to these aides.”

• Online news reporting, “The Brutal Reality of Owning a Condo in Hawaii,” by Anita Hofschneider. The judge commented, “Thorough reporting full of facts, context and anecdotes from the residents at the heart of the issue.”

• Online feature reporting, “Living Hawaii: The Pipe Dream Of Teaching In Paradise Goes Global,” by Jessica Terrell and Eric Pape. The judge commented, “What at first seems like a ‘Oh that’s silly’ news story about a viral rumor regarding a dream job in Hawaii turns into a serious look into a struggling education system and real-life teachers who are barely keeping their head above water.”

• All-media column writing, Brett Oppegaard, Reader Rep, a column about the news media. The judge commented, “There’s no better time than now for a smart, critical look at journalism and the news media. Brett Oppegaard provides that.”

• All-media editorial writing, “The Only Cure For Our Police Blues: Put The Chief On Permanent Leave,” by the Civil Beat Editorial Board.

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