Local newspaper has big day at state awards ceremony

The New Era was the top award winner among the state’s 54 weekly newspapers at the Oregon Newspaper Publisher’s Association annual convention last week in Welches.

The newspaper won 20 awards for work done in areas ranging from news and sports photos to opinion columns. The paper also received four awards for advertising excellence.

Each year ONPA holds a Best Newspaper Contest, which is judged by journalists in other states. Newspaper staffs submit what they consider their best work, or issues from specified dates. Judging this year was done by newspaper staffs in Arizona.

“The fact that other journalists see quality in our local newspaper is definitely encouraging,” Publisher Scott Swanson said. “It’s always nice to be recognized by our peers. It’s nice to know that when big news happens here, other journalists think we’re covering it in a professionally superior manner.”

The editorial contest awards, all for work done in 2011, were:

n The Sweepstakes Award for most awards won by a weekly newspaper.

n Second place in General Excellence for weeklies in the 1,001-2,000 circulation range.

n First for Best News Photo to Sean Morgan for a photo of a hay truck fire on Ames Creek Drive (May 25) and third place to Chris Pinto for a patient being loaded into a REACH helicopter after a crash on Highway 20 east of Foster (Aug. 31).

n A sweep of the two awards for Best Photo Essay, both by Sean Morgan, for a Memorial Day observance at Gilliland Cemetery (June 1) and a selection of more photos of the Highway 20 crash east of Foster (Aug. 31).

n A sweep of the three awards for Best Sports Photo by Morgan for a photo of Huskies’ baseball player Justin Rice sliding into third base (April 6), a rodeo clown and a rider using a barrel to protect themselves from a bull (July 13), and Sweet Home softball player Sarah Wyatt sliding home ahead of the throw (April 13).

n A sweep of the awards in Coverage of Business and Economic Issues, first and second to Swanson and third to Morgan, including stories on the use of a helicopter to harvest Christmas trees on a local farm (Nov. 23) and the opening of an antiques store on Main Street (June 22).

n Second place in Best Educational Coverage for a story about how a substitute teacher was removed from the school district’s substitutes list after parental complaints about the contents of his photography Web site (Sept. 2).

n Second place in Best Feature Story: Personality for a story by Morgan about a local man who makes a living playing on-line poker – though he says he dislikes gambling (Feb. 2).

n A sweep of the two awards for Best Local Column – first place to Morgan for three columns headlined “Sanitizing literature doesn’t make sense (March 2),” “Time to can the old bottle bill” (June 15) and “Lots of fun left after the Jamboree” (Aug. 24); and second to Scott Swanson for three columns headlined “Trip to Japan puts things in perspective (March 16),” “Technology not always an advantage (Sept. 14)” and “Move to check drunk driving has pluses (March 9).”

n Second and third place for Best Spot News Coverage to Scott Swanson for a June 15 story on a power line knocked down by a piece of heavy equipment that severely shocked a local woman and to Sean Morgan and Scott Swanson for a report on the burning of the Cascadia Post Office.

n Third place for Best Page One Design.

n Second place in Best Headline Writing to Scott Swanson for a selection of headlines: “Final frame” (the demolition of the burned bowling alley); “Councilors take gander at fowl law” (the issue of whether chickens should be allowed in Sweet Home); “Wicked windstorm” (a story and photos on the windstorm that knocked trees down throughout the area in March), “Cuts leave TIP facing its own trauma (about difficulties faced by the local Trauma Intervention Program); “Time to can the old Bottle Bill” (an opinion column about problems with the 5-cent deposit on cans and bottles), and “‘Leave us alone:’ Cascadia-area residents sound off on Post Office closure question” about a meeting of Cascadia residents after their Post Office burned down.

The advertising staff won two first-place awards in the weeklies division, one for The New Era’s “Congratulations for Making State” ad that is supported by multiple local businesses. The other first-place award was for use of a single spot color on a black-and-white advertisement featuring a carriage for Chafin Farms.

They also won a second place in the best use of a single color category.