staff brings home newspaper awards
The Star News staff brings home newspaper awards
The Star News received two first place awards among the 11 total awards won by the paper’s staff in the 2022 Wisconsin Newspaper Association Foundation’s Better Newspaper Contest.
WNA Foundation Better Newspaper Contest Awards Banquet was held on Friday, March 24, at The Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor’s Club in downtown Madison.
The awards recognize outstanding achievement in both news and advertising with competition among newspapers by circulation size and among all weekly and daily newspapers in the state. The Star News competes in the mid-sized weekly newspaper division.
The 2022 contest received 2,230 entries from 106 newspapers. Eligible entries were published between Sept. 1, 2021, and Aug. 31, 2022, and were judged by members of the Arkansas Press Association.
The five newspapers in the group owned by the O’Leary family took home a combined 32 awards in both news and advertising including 7 first place awards.
“We are proud of our newspaper staff that are committed to covering their local communities and advertisers. These awards are a reflection of the quality of work our editors, reporters, designers, and ad reps bring to the papers each week. They focus on local issues that matter to our readers. We also are thankful for the support staff that all work together to get the paper to the press and delivered to our subscribers,” said publisher Kris O’Leary.
The two first place awards earned by The Star News staff came in the editorial side of the competition.
News editor Brian Wilson took a first place for Reporting on Local Government with reporting on Taylor County government including coverage of the broadband project and the veterans service office. The judge commented, “In a field of many outstanding stories this one displayed quality reporting and excellent writing on a tough issue. Well written. Sidebars of sheriff’s report and letter of resignation helped the reader.”
The Star News staff took first place in the photo essay category with coverage of Rib Lake Ice Age Days. The layout was designed by graphic designer Lydia Erickson. The judge commented, “Excellent layout, great use of graphics. Your entry was by far heads above the rest, which were primarily just a group of photos with cutlines. As a graphic designer who wins awards for layout, I can appreciate the work put into this. Awesome.”
Emily Gojmerac took second place in the feature story - profile competition with a story about someone who grew up in foster care and the challenges of the foster care system. The judge commented, “A fantastic interview provides a glimpse into a world not many people can comprehend.”
Sports editor Matt Frey and Wilson took third place for best headlines with “It is time to soil your undies; Roadside dining for Perkinstown bear family; 9 EVENTS, 6 MEDALS, 2 ALMOSTS.” The judge commented, “The right headline was on top ... a true attention getter. Like the “almosts,” but the bear headline was that a headline or a caption?”
Wilson took third place for editorial writing with “Do the crime, do the time; Planning commission made right call for homeless shelter; Rib Lake board should drop downtown camera plan.” The judge commented, “The editorials are effectively written and contain facts to support the positions presented. The topics have significant worth.” In addition to winning an editorial writing award for The Star News, Wilson also received an honorable mention for editorials written for the Courier Sentinel which covers Cadott, Cornell and Lake Holcombe. The judge commented, “Excellent focus on issues critical and relevant to the local community and neighborhoods. Good writing, good analogies, good anecdotes.”
Wilson took third place in the ongoing/ extended coverage category with coverage of the Taylor County veterans service office. The judge commented, “This was a great series of articles full of plot twists, turns, and colorful quotes. I appreciated the great details, from the ornery yet fierce loyalty of the veterans to the unusual harassment complaints. I was always left wondering what would happen next.”
Wilson took a third place reporting on local education with stories about the Medford school district’s DPI scores and efforts to combat bullying in the school. The judge commented, “Very nice coverage of the bullying issue. Important for the community. DPI reports can be dry, but this was nicely done. . . . Overall an excellent category of entries. This was by far the most difficult to judge. Local news coverage of education remains the heart of local journalism, as shown here.”
Frey received honorable mention recognition for local sports column for Matt’s Bleacher Shots for the following columns “Plenty to touch on while waiting out long transition to spring; Tinkering with the hoops tourney; get ready for wrestling Super Regionals; As torch gets passed, Wellman looks back on excellent nine-year run.” The judge commented, “ Strong focus on local sports.”
Lydia Erickson received Honorable Mention for overall page design with layouts done with coverage of the Chair Affair, Grass on the Black, and Parkfest 2022. The judge commented, “Unique page layout. Reminiscent of a scrapbook- type layout. Less is more with photos.”
In the advertising side of the competition, The Star News brought home two awards. Advertising manager Kelly Schmidt praised the advertising and graphic design staff for their hard work and skill in serving the needs of area businesses. Schmidt praised the level of cooperation between The Star News and its sister publications, helping to serve businesses throughout the region.
The Star News staff took third place in the Best Niche Product competition for the Fingertip Directory.
The Star News staff took second place in the Best Use of Art Service category for “20 Years.” The judge commented, “Love that graphic - we used it in our paper as well. Nice idea to put the boosters all around it.”