The photography staff of ThisWeek Community Newspapers has been recognized as Staff of the Year in the Ohio News Photographers Association contest, and individual photographers won awards for two photos that appeared in The Johnstown Independent.

The photography staff of ThisWeek Community Newspapers has been recognized as Staff of the Year in the Ohio News Photographers Association contest, and individual photographers won awards for two photos that appeared in The Johnstown Independent.

Adam Cairns won first place for a photo of the frog jumping contest at the 2008 Hartford Fair. Cairns finished ahead of photographers from The Columbus Dispatch and The Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Chris Parker won an award of excellence in the general news category for a photo of the Johnstown Fire Association's 2008 Little Miss Firecracker pageant.

He finished behind photographers from the Toledo Blade, the Cincinnati Enquirer and the Plain Dealer.

"Johnstown provides unique photo opportunities that set it apart from our central Ohio editions," said Darrin Bryan, ThisWeek photo editor. "The Independent consistently produces winning photographs in various contests from our talented staff."

Judges from this year's Ohio News Photographers Association contest were: Jim Brown, executive associate dean of the Indiana University School of Journalism; Matt Detrich, staff photographer at the Indianapolis Star for the last nine years and formerly of the Akron Beacon-Journal; and Smiley Pool, staff photographer at the Dallas Morning News.

In addition to the two photos in the Independent, ThisWeek awards included Staff of the Year for dailies with a circulation less than 100,000.

Finishing behind ThisWeek was the Springfield News-Sun (second) and the Sandusky Register and the Willoughby News Herald (tied for third).

In the other staff competition, ThisWeek placed second in picture usage (dailies under 100,000 circulation) to the Willoughby News Herald.

Individual award winners were:

Andrea Kjerrumgaard, first in the sports action category, for a shot of Australian rules football. She also earned a first place for sports audio slideshow and a second for sports picture story while working as an intern at The Dispatch.

Tim Norman, second in the pictorial category.

Cairns, award of excellence in the sports feature category.