The East Oregonian Publishing Company’s “Fate of Our Forests” series has won a top regional journalism award.

The four-day series, which ran in The Daily Astorian and the group’s other newspapers, earned first place in the business and economic reporting category of the annual Society of Professional Journalists’ competition.

The group competes against daily newspapers of 25,000 circulation or below in Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Idaho and Montana.

The series was spearheaded by Steve Forrester, Publisher and Editor of The Daily Astorian, who also wrote many of the stories. It highlighted the changing ownership patterns of private forest land in the Western states and featured work from the newspaper group’s writers, editors, photographers and designers in Oregon and Washington.

Patrick Webb, managing editor of The Daily Astorian, accepted the trophy at the annual awards banquet of the greater Oregon and Southwest Washington chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists at the Hotel DeLuxe in Portland Saturday. Webb coordinated the writers on the project, which took a year to research and was published in March and April 2011.

To read the full series online, log on to www.dailyastorian.com/news/special_reports/

At the same banquet, awards for Oregon weekly papers were also presented. Daily Astorian reporter Tyler Graf was presented with a first-place trophy for business feature writing for a story about the decay of the business community of St. Helens in Columbia County, written for the South County Spotlight in Scappoose.

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