Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Inland Press Association contest winners announced

The Inland Press Association has announced the winners of its 2018 news and photography contests. Each contest was co-sponsored and judged by a university school of journalism. Here are some of the winners and finalists with a rural angle:

The Community Leadership Award recognizes newspapers that use their resources to make their communities better places in which to live and work. All circulation categories were combined during judging for this year's contest, which was sponsored and judged by the School of Journalism at the University of Missouri.

The staff at the Victoria Advocate in Texas won the top award for its "Understanding Harvey" series. After Hurricane Harvey hit Victoria, the Advocate staff covered not only the storm's impact on the town, but published watchdog stories that showed "the unpreparedness of the Red Cross and exposed those who claimed to be doing good but were taking advantage," one judge notes. Mounting public pressure after the stories and editorials were published led to elected officials finally releasing the town's secret 900-page emergency plan, which is now being updated. "The Advocate staff did what journalists do best. They thoroughly covered the disaster. They exposed wrongdoing. They provided community leadership. They opened records. They helped Victoria become a better place to live," the judge writes.

The General Excellence Award for newspapers with a circulation of under 50,000 went to The Daily Gazette in Schenectady, N.Y. "The paper did an excellent job covering breaking news with a mix of on the ground reporting, stark photographs and mix of social media. The clean design and layout makes it easy to read," a judge wrote. Second place went to Farm and Dairy in Salem, Ohio. In late 2017 the paper put out an impressive three-part series on the rural opioid epidemic that featured a special website with stories and information with audio and video. 

The Digital Journalism Award for Best Online Innovation (all circulation sizes) went to The News-Gazette in Champaign, Ill., home of the University of Illinois, for its "UI at 150" package. A judge commented: "Innovative, interesting and inspired this creative multimedia project was also engaging, enlightening and fascinating. The depth in multimedia was unmatched in the category with more than 100 videos of first-person accounts and more than 1500 memories from distinguished representatives. The illustrations of famous and favorite spots added fun and dimension to an already comprehensive story. The robust and detailed reporting and data gathering in partnership with a print companions could be a model for future special projects.

The Editorial Excellence Award was sponsored and judged by the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Kansas. In the "Under 10,000 Circulation" category, first place went to Brian Martin of the Wyoming Tribune Eagle in Cheyenne. The paper's editorials "provided concrete research — whether through quotes, financials or context — to support bold and unrelenting arguments about statewide or local issues," a judge commented.
Second place in that category went to Douglas Burns, who co-owns the Carroll Daily Times Herald in Iowa. Burns is known as an outspoken advocate for rural Iowa.

In the "10,000 to 49,999 Circulation" category of the Editorial Excellence Award, Corey Friedman of The Wilson Times in North Carolina claimed first place. "The Wilson Times stood out here for unearthing conflicts seldom (perhaps never?) covered elsewhere — while also leading the community towards solutions," a judge notes.

The Local News Writing Awards were sponsored and judged by the School of Journalism and Telecommunications at the University of Kentucky. For the Explanatory Reporting Award in the "Less than 10,000 Circulation" category, first place went to the Beloit Daily News in Wisconsin for Hillary Gavan's "Classrooms at a Crossroads" package. Second place went to the Index-Journal in Greenwood, South Carolina, for Adam Benson's "Oakland to Parkland" package. Third place went to the Wyoming Tribune Eagle in Cheyenne for Sarah Zoellick's "Wyoming Boot Camp: A path to success or a pipeline to prison?"

In the "10,000 to 49,999 Circulation" category of Explanatory Reporting, Farm and Dairy took first for their "Addiction: A Rural Reality" package. The Times-Tribune in Scranton, Pennsylvania came in second for "Outlook 2018: Change in store". And third place went to The Journal Gazette in Fort Wayne, Indiana, for their "Special Education" package.

In the "Under 10,000 Circulation" category of the Investigative Reporting Award, first place went to the Southeast Missourian in Cape Girardeau for Bob Miller's "Life Without." Second place also went to the Southeast Missourian for Mark Bliss and Bob Miller's "Pursuit of Proof: The Mischelle Lawless Murder." The Index-Journal in South Carolina took home third place for Damian Dominguez's "This chapter is closed."

In the "10,000 to 49,999 Circulation" category of the Investigative Reporting Award, The Times-Tribune in Scranton took first for its "Sign here" package.

No comments: