New Jersey 101.5 is the proud recipient of three Society of Professional Journalists Keystone Pro Chapter awards for work done in 2019.

Deputy Digital Editor Sergio Bichao and Reporter David Matthau won the contest's most prestigious honor, The Spotlight Award, for their entry on how judges minimized sexual assault in New Jersey. Across several stories, Bichao and Matthau shed light on the dismissive comments made by judges and how they impacted treatment of victims and alleged perpetrators alike.

Their work prompted international news coverage, and training for all New Jersey judges.

"Some stories produce a spark that explodes into attention around the country," the judges wrote. "That’s what happened in this case. Digging into records produced juvenile sexual assault cases where judges made remarks that stunned the community. The reporting in this #metoo era led to big changes in how cases of this nature were handled. Excellent work."

Bichao and Matthau will also be presented a cash prize for their win.

Their submitted pieces:

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Afternoon Drive Host Jeff Deminski won first place in the Blog category, for a portfolio of opinion pieces. Deminski has long been one of New Jersey 101.5’s most prolific, consistent, thoughtful opinion writers — crafting thorough and heartfelt pieces as well as pointed opinions in a voice that's distinctly his. A judge for the SPJ described Deminksi’s work as "a rare combination of great reporting and heartfelt personal writing. I loved every word ... well done.”

The team of Eric Scott, Director of Special Projects; Patrick Lavery, Afternoon Anchor; Louis C. Hochman, Digital Managing Editor; and Dan Alexander, Digital News Reporter won second place for Web Use, for the station’s on-air and online town hall event focusing on opioid abuse. The program’s on-air component shared stories from those who'd worked to rebuild their lives, as mental health coordinators and other resource providers shared context and actionable information in a Facebook Live simulcast’s online chat.

Watch the presentation below:

Earlier this month, the station won the Radio Television Digital News Association Regional Edward R. Murrow Award for Breaking News Coverage, for its on-air stories about a December 2019 Jersey City shooting rampage.

READ MORE: 10 reasons students wearing masks to school won’t work - by Jeff Deminski

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