Friday, July 04, 2014

National Newspaper Association announces individual winners in annual Better Newspaper Contest

The National Newspaper Association, which is the main organization for weekly newspapers but also includes many small dailies, has announced the individual winners in its annual Better Newspaper Contest. It reserved announcement of the general-excellence awards for its Oct. 2-4 convention in San Antonio, but you might make some reasonable guesses from the list of news awards by paper and perhaps the following list of winners by in issue-oriented categories, by circulation and/or frequency classifications:

Best local news coverage (daily and non-daily)
Circulation of 6,000 or more: First place, The Washington Missourian; second, The Standard-Banner, Jefferson City, Tenn.; third, the Cape Gazette, Lewes, Del; honorable mention, The Livingston Parish News, Denham Springs, La.
Circulation 3,000 to 5,999: The Alamance News, Graham, N.C; second, the Mount Desert Islander, Bar Harbor, Me.; third, The North Scott Press, Eldridge, Iowa; honorable mention, the Wise County Messenger, Decatur, Tex.
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Under 3,000: Sangre de Cristo Chronicle, Angel Fire, N.M.; second, the Ozona Stockman of Texas; third, Nebraska's West Point News; honorable mention, North Dakota's Tioga Tribune.

Best investigative story or series
Dailies: James Beaty, Kandra Wells, Kevin Harvison, Brandy Jeffreys of the McAlester News-Capital, for a package of stories on the 40th anniversary of an Oklahoma prison riot; second and third place, Nick Hytrek of the Sioux City Journal, for stories on a cold case and early release of Iowa prison inmates.
Non-dailies, circulation 10,000 or more: First place, Tom Dunlop, Sara Brown and photographer Ray Ewing, The Vineyard Gazette, Edgartown, Mass., for a series on coastal erosion; second, Jennifer Johnson, The Beaumont Examiner, on waste in a Texas school district.
Non-dailies, circulation 3,000-9,999: First place, Mike Koshmrl of the Jackson Hole News & Guide, for a story on the local airport board making regular "official" trips to Hawaii (here's a follow-up); second, Jared Strong of the Times Herald in Carroll, Iowa, on a killer who fell through cracks in the system; third, Publisher Tom Boney Jr., Tomas Murawski, Janice Crisp and Kristy Bailey of The Alamance News, Graham, N.C., for an examination of a state agency's cases against the local sheriff.
Non-dailies, under 3,000: First place, Phil Johnson of The Western News, Libby, Mont., for stories (here's one) on overtaxation; second, Melissa Meinzer of Missouri Lawyers Weekly, St. Louis, for stories on lawyer discipline hearings; third, Amy R. Sisk and Resa Haukedahl of the Tioga Tribune, for stories showing the need for more law enforcement in the North Dakota oil-boom town; honorable mention, Bill Moss of the Hendersonville Lightning in North Carolina, for "Legal fights imperil restitution promises."

Best editorial (daily and non-daily)
10,000 or more: The Taos News, for an editorial by Joan Livingston criticizing the city council and mayor for circumventing of New Mexico's open-meetings law.
6,000-9,999: The Cody Enterprise of Wyoming, for an editorial by Bruce McCormack criticizing a state representative's rudeness.
3,000-5,999: The Hutchinson Leader of Minnesota for "County has gone gun crazy," an editorial by Doug Hanneman.
Under 3,000: The Sangre de Cristo Chronicle of Angel Fire, N.M., for "Red River is not above the law, an editorial by Jesse Chaney.

Best editorial pages (daily and non-daily)
6,000 or more: First place, the Wyoming Tribune Eagle of Cheyenne; second, the Leelanau Enterprise of Michigan; third, The Washington Missourian; honorable mention, the Antelope Valley Press of California and the Ellsworth American of Maine.
Under 6,000: First place, the Mount Desert Islander of Bar Harbor, Maine (same ownership as the Ellsworth American); second, the West Point News of Nebraska; third, The Clarendon Enterprise of Texas; honorable mention, the Iowa Falls Times-Citizen.

Best environmental story (daily and non-daily)
9,000 or more: Matthew Renda and photographer John Hart of The Union, Grass Valley, Calif., for a series on the Yuba River.
Under 9,000: David Bunker of Moonshine Ink, Truckee, Calif., for a story on quagga mussels in Lake Tahoe.

Best health story (daily and non-daily)
6,000 or more: First place, Megan Moser of The Manhattan Mercury of Kansas; second, Ginny Privitar of The Chronicle, Chester, N.Y., third, Starla Pointer of teh News-Register, McMinnvile, Ore.
Under 6,000: First place, Luige del Puerto and Jeremy Duda, the Arizona Capitol Times, Phoenix; second, Maek Good of the Mount Desert Islander; third, Ellary Prenice of The Paynesville Press in Minnesota.

Best education story
Dailies: Aerin Curtis of the Wyoming Tribune Eagle, for a story on new teacher-evaluation standards.
Large non-dailies: Steve Marion and Ronnie Housley of The Standard-Banner of Jefferson City, Tenn., for a story about reading that was easy reading: "It isn't long, but full of good writing," the judges wrote.
Small non-dailies: Claire K. Racine of the Westmore News, Port Chester, N.Y., for "Bullied student slits her wrists." (She survived.)

Freedom of information (daily and non-daily): Wyoming Tribune-Eagle, for editorials on openness at the University of Wyoming; second, Arizona Capital Times, Phoenix, for reports on lobbying.

Best website (daily and non-daily: Hendersonville (N.C.) Lightning; second, Santa Clarita Valley Signal of California; third (tie), the News-Register, McMinnville, Ore., and Lakota Country Times, Martin, S.D.

Other categories include feature story, localized story, performing arts story, review, obituary, cartoon, column, typography, special section, photo essay, and use of photographs. A list of all winners by category is here. The contest also includes an advertising division. For more information about the contest and the convention, see

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