As Chris Hine drove from Chicago to Minneapolis a couple weeks ago to start a new job at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, he received a phone call from the National Sports Media Association.

The call let Hine know that he had been named the NSMA’s Illinois Sportswriter of the Year.

In the state of Washington, The Seattle Times reporter Stefanie Loh received the NSMA’s Washington Sportswriter of the Year.

Hine, who is gay, and Loh, a lesbian, are both first-time NSMA award winners. Their awards were announced Monday along with NSMA sportswriters and sportscasters of the year in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

“It’s a great honor since my peers voted on this,” said Hine, who covered the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks the last three years for the Chicago Tribune. “I’m thankful to Tim Bannon and Joe Knowles for giving me the Blackhawks beat at the Chicago Tribune and for allowing me to write occasionally from the perspective as a gay man in the sports world. It means a lot, and I’m excited to be starting in Minneapolis at the Minneapolis Star Tribune.”

This month, Hine joined the Star Tribune as a sports analytics/enterprise writer after spending the previous eight years at the Chicago Tribune.

Loh has covered Washington State athletics for The Seattle Times since 2015. Prior to that, she was at the San Diego Union-Tribune, The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and The Dominion Post in Morgantown, West Virginia.

“It’s a tremendous honor to be acknowledged by my peers in this way, and it means a lot to know that my work is respected by others in the industry,” Loh said. “Some very good reporters have won this award before me, so it’s a privilege to be in that circle.”

In addition to naming a sportswriter and sportscaster of the year from each state, the NSMA announced its 2018 Hall of Fame inductees, a national sportswriter of the year, and a national sportscaster of the year.

The 2018 Hall of Fame inductees are Thomas Boswell, Woody Durham, Bryant Gumbel and Dick Weiss. The 2018 national sportswriter of the year is Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN and Yahoo, and this year’s sportscaster of the year is Kevin Harlan of CBS, Turner Sports, and Westwood One.

Chris Hine can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @ChristopherHine. Stefanie Loh can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @StefanieLoh.

Erik Hall is a member of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association. He can be reached on Facebook, Twitter @HallErik, or by email at [email protected]