TNE staff wins multiple awards in state competition

The New Era received multiple awards, including place-winners in two very competitive categories, in the 2019 Better Newspaper Contest conducted by the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association.

Winners were announced at the 125th annual ONPA convention held last week.

The awards were based on newspaper content published during 2018. This year’s contest was judged by journalists in Kentucky.

A total of 49 newspapers throughout the state participated in the contest, submitting 1,133 entries, organizers said.

The New Era finished second in the category of General Excellence for weekly newspapers of 2,000 circulation and under. This was the seventh top-three finish in that category in eight years for The New Era, which was last second in 2016. This year’s 2,000-and-under-circulation winner was the Estacada News.

“This is a coveted plaque,” said Publisher and Editor Scott Swanson of the General Excellence award.

“I believe the competition this year was as high as it’s been for quite a while, with some new names on the list of winners. It’s really gratifying to know that people who do this for a living in other states consider Sweet Home’s newspaper one of the best of its size in Oregon.

“Having said that, though, the real judges we care most about are our own faithful readers, who are the reason we’re here.”

First-place winners for The New Era were:

n In the Best Educational Coverage category, Sean C. Morgan’s story “Best Attendance,” which appeared in the June 27 edition, on how Hawthorne School won the Golden Shoe Award for having the best attendance during the 2017-18 school year.

n In the Best General Feature Story category, Sarah Brown’s story on “Boxing Parkinson’s,” which appeared May 23, on how local Parkinson’s Disease patients are benefitting from a program in which the sport of boxing helps them maintain nerve and muscle function.

n In the Best Feature Story: Personality category, Swanson’s story on “Love Dressed in Burgundy,” which appeared Feb. 14, on how a local woman, Patricia Schilling, surprised her husband Steve on his 50th birthday by secretly restoring a Chevy Nova car he’d purchased in high school and had always intended to fix up.

n In the Best News Photo category, Sean C. Morgan’s photo of a firefighters silhouetted by a blaze that destroyed a house on Airport Road, which appeared Oct. 17.

Other second-place winners were:

n In the Best Feature Story: General category, Sean C. Morgan’s story on a local homeless couple who, unable to find affordable rental housing, were living in their RV.

n In the Best Sports Photo category, Sean C. Morgan’s photo of Sweet Home baseball pitcher Colton Smith tagging out a Sisters runner at home plate, which appeared May 16.

Third-place winners were:

n In the Best Sports Photo category, Sean C. Morgan’s photo of a young wrestler grimacing as she escaped an opponent’s clutches in a Sweet Home Mat Club tournament, which appeared Nov. 28.

n In the Best Story of the Year category, which includes all newspapers in Oregon who are members of ONPA and participate in the contest, Swanson’s story on “Love Dressed in Burgundy.” The winner of that category was the Statesman Journal in Salem. The second-place story was by the Oregonian.