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Wilson wins Golden Quill Award for editorial on ‘Red Flag’ laws

Wilson wins Golden Quill Award for editorial on ‘Red Flag’ laws Wilson wins Golden Quill Award for editorial on ‘Red Flag’ laws

The International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors (ISWNE) recently named Brian Wilson as the 2020 recipient of the Golden Quill Award.

The Golden Quill Award recognizes outstanding editorial writing at a weekly newspaper.

The winning editorial was “Wisconsin needs to consider Red Flag Laws” published on Sept. 26, 2019.

The editorial reflected on the tragedy of the death of Robert Domine, a mentally ill man from Loyal who was killed after shooting at and injuring a police officer during a standoff. The editorial called for the legislature to take up the proposed “Red Flag” laws which would make it easier to keep guns out of the hands of individuals who are determined through a hearing process to be a threat to themselves or others. The editorial also called for a real commitment to addressing the mental health crisis in America.

Wilson wrote: “The political reality in Wisconsin is that Evers’ proposals are dead on arrival in the state legislature. Legislative leadership cares more about playing political games than in having a grown-up discussion about firearms and lack of mental health care.

On September 13, Robert Domine lost his longtime battle with schizophrenia and could have easily taken many others with him. No action will be perfect, but action needs to take place in order to prevent the next tragedy.”

The 2020 Golden Quill competition was judged by Barry Smith of Aztec, New Mexico. Smith has decades of journalism experience as a reporter and editor in Illinois, Colorado and Nevada. He spent 12 years as editor of the Nevada Appeal in Carson City, Nev. followed by 11 years as the executive director of the Nevada Press Association. He retired from that position in 2019.

Of the editorial, Smith wrote: “The lede on this editorial stuck with me longer than any of the others, and it went on from there to present a well-reasoned approach to balancing mental-health problems with Second Amendment rights. A life-and-death issue that can create deep divisions locally, statewide, and nationally, it gets the attention it deserves from Wilson and The Star News. Well done.”

In addition to the Golden Quill, ISWNE recognizes the top 12 editorials at weeklies with Golden Dozen awards. Wilson has received the Golden Dozen recognition six times since 2008 and this is his first Golden Quill Award. Recipients of this year’s awards came from newspapers in Wisconsin, New York, South Dakota, Missouri, Iowa, Georgia, Colorado, and Oregon.

Wilson, 47, is a 1995 graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and went to work as a reporter at the Clark County Press in Neillsville, he joined The Star News in May 1996 as sports editor. He became news editor in 2005.