Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Here are the best community papers in America, says the National Newspaper Association contest

The National Newspaper Association has announced the top placers in the general-excellence competition of its annual Better Newspaper Contest. The general-excellence awards are based on placement in detailed contest categories, which include both news and advertising. NNA has about 2,500 members. More than 85 percent are weekly papers, but its contest also has categories for dailies. The first-, second- and third-place winners will be announced at the NNA Convention and Trade Show in Norfolk Sept. 25-30.

Among dailies with circulation of 16,000 and larger, the top three papers in the contest (in no particular order here or in any category) were the Antelope Valley Press of Palmdale, Calif., and two from Colorado: the Greeley Tribune and the Daily Times-Call of Longmont. Under 16,000, the top three were the Lebanon (Mo.) Daily Record, The Journal Review of Crawfordsville, Ind., and The Daily Record of Baltimore.

NNA listed six winners among non-dailies with circulation over 10,000, indicating that the judges gave three honorable mentions in the category as well as first, second and third places. The six are The Taos (N.M.) News; The Ellsworth (Me.) American; the San Francisco Bay Guardian; the Idaho Mountain Express of Sun Valley; The Independent Weekly of Lafayette, La.; and The Peninsula Gateway of Gig Harbor, Wash. We're most familiar with the Ellsworth paper, which acts like a daily; it covers the state capital and regularly does project reporting, currently on Maine's program to give all students laptop computers.

Among non-dailies with circulations of 6,000 to 9,999, two of the three winners are from favorite spots for recreation and second homes: The Eastern Edition of the Southampton Press, which serves the Hamptons area at the end of New York's Long Island; and the Jackson Hole News & Guide of Jackson, Wyo. The other winner was a perennial, the N'West Iowa Review of Sheldon, Ia. The paper carves its own niche in many ways. It is a regional weekly that is famous for publishing scores of special sections each year, it doesn't put content online, it doesn't spell out "Northwest" in its name, and would like us to put "Review" in all capital letters, but we don't approve of such typographical tyranny. However, we do approve of the job that Peter Wagner, his sons and staff do with the Review and their local weekly, the Sheldon Mail-Sun.

The winners among non-dailies 3,000 to 5,999 include some well-known, quality papers: The Hutchinson (Minn.) Leader, the Litchfield (Minn.) Independent Review and the Hood River (Ore.) News. Under 3,000, the winners are the Curry County Reporter of Gold Beach, Ore.; The Community News of Aledo, Tex., just west of Fort Worth; and the Mount Desert Islander of Bar Harbor, Maine, a paper that has the same ownership as The Ellsworth American. They make quite a pair Down East.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for mentioning the N'West Iowa Review in your excellent blog. I believe you made a mistake; the Hutchinson Leader is located in Minnesota.

Al Cross said...

Corrected. Thanks, Jay, and congrats to the folks in Minnesota.