Robert L. Asher, a Washington Post editorial writer and part-time professor of journalism at Howard University, was honored for his overall contributions to his profession at Wednesday's annual awards banquet of the Washington chapter of Sigma Delta Chi, the Society for Professional Journalists.

Asher, one of 39 area print and broadcast journalists whose work was recognized, received the Washington Dateline Award for Distinguished Service in Local Journalism. Asher was honored for his contributions to local journalism, his development of other journalists and his journalistic contributions to the metropolitan area.

Karlyn Barker, a Washington Post reporter, received an award in the contest's feature writing category for her story on the death of a Washington street woman.

Other awards in the features category went to Mike M. Ahlers of The Montgomery Journal, Laura Elliot of Washingtonian magazine and John Mathews of WMAL Radio.

Spot News Reporting awards went to Alan Fogg, Vera Titunik, Margaret Roth, Adrian Higgins, Susan G. Parker and Dan Breyers of The Fairfax Journal for their series on the Lorton prison fire, and Jim Russ, Bob Marbourg, Jamie McIntyre, Judy Taub and Holland Cooke of WTOP for their radio coverage of the same story.

General Reporting: Michael Hedges, Jerry Seper, Amy Stromberg and Rupert Welch of The Washington Times for a series on corruption and mismanagement in the D.C. government; Roger Malone of The Fairfax Journal for his series on ethics in government; John Pekkanen and Sherri Dalphonse of Washingtonian for a report on Washington medical care; Larry Mathews of WMAL for "The '60s Generation: Keepers of the Flame"; and Scott Klug and Gena Fitzgerald of WJLA-TV for their report on lead-based paint in D.C. schools.

Sports: David Hutchinson of The Prince George's Journal; Larry Mathews of WMAL.

Editorials, Columns and Commentary: Tom Grubisich, Virginia Connection Newspapers; Ed Meyers, WMAL.

Photojournalism: Taisie Berkeley Trout, Washingtonian; Bill Cole, Vicki Hildner and Anne Rydlewicz, WJLA.

Arts Criticism: Joel E. Siegel, The City Paper, and Faiga Levine, WTOP.