Friday, July 19, 2013

Minn., Ore. and Tex. weeklies, Wyo., Calif. dailies, top National Newspaper Association contest

Two dailies, the Wyoming Tribune Eagle, the Antelope Valley Press of Palmdale, Calif., and three twice-weeklies, the Hutchinson (Minn.) Leader, the News-Register of McMinnville, Ore., and the Wise County Messenger of Decatur, Tex., were the big winners in the annual Better Newspaper Contest of the National Newspaper Association, an organization for weekly and small daily newspapers.

The Tribune Eagle won nine first-place awards, for weekend edition, special edition or section (Frontier Days), sports section or page, headlines, education or literacy story, performing-arts story, feature story, feature photograph and sports photo. The paper also won a second place for business story, two thirds (photo essay and use of photos) and four honorable mentions for a total of 47 points on a scale of 4-3-2-1 point scale.

The Antelope Valley Press earned three first places (review, photo essay, sports feature or series), three seconds, seven thirds and four mentions for 42 points. NNA does not use such a scale to calculate an overall award; its contest categories use varying circulation classes, which can make such an award imprecise.

Both newspapers were once rural, and still serve rural readers, but are now in metropolitan or urbanized areas. The Tribune Eagle is published in the state capital of Cheyenne, population 60,000. Its circulation is 16,500 weekdays and 18,500 on Sundays. The Antelope Valley Press serves areas of Kern and Los Angeles counties, and has a circulation of 17,836 on weekdays and 21,668 on Sundays. The Sioux City (Iowa) Journal, in a city of 83,000 and with a circulation of about 40,000, won three firsts, five seconds a third and a mention for 30 points.

Among non-daily newspapers that entered NNA's annual competition, three racked up 26 points on the unofficial 4-3-2-1 scale.

The Wise County Messenger, with a circulation of 5,939, won first prizes for local news coverage and community service, the latter for "America's Costliest War," a series that Bob Buckel began this way: "In 1971, President Richard Nixon declared War on Drugs. In the 41 years since then, the United States has arrested and imprisoned millions of citizens, spent hundreds of billions of dollars and lost thousands of lives in a war that, by almost any measure, has been lost." The Messenger won five second-place awards (breaking news, special section, feature, use of photos, sports photo) and two thirds (special edition or section and humorous column).

The News-Register, circulation 10,921, won two firsts (editorial page, sports story), four seconds (editorial, website, health story and sports story), and three thirds (editorial serious column and education story).

The Hutchinson Leader, circulation 5,167, won one first place (breaking news story), four seconds (local news coverage, education story, headlines and typography), three thirds (editorial, feature and weekend edition) and four honorable mentions (two for health stories).

For a full list of the winners by category, click here. For a list by newspaper, go here. The winners will be recognized at a Saturday reception during NNA’s 127th annual Convention & Trade Show at the Arizona Grand Resort in Phoenix Sept. 12-15. Go to for information on the convention and NNA. 

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