It was a very busy news year, and nobody can tell you that more than people who spent a lot of time (albeit virtually) in a newsroom.
And that was reflected in the 13 awards People Newspapers won this year for editorial content and advertising. The National Newspaper Association announced the awards Wednesday afternoon.
“Every time I think the team at People Newspapers has made me the proudest they can, they top themselves,” said publisher Pat Martin. “Last year we won 10 NNA awards, and it’s exciting to see the growth this year with 13, especially during such a difficult year.”
Editor William Taylor applauded colleagues and other contributors to the paper for earning recognition from their peers in the industry.
“Producing great community newspapers takes a team effort even in the best of years,” he said. “I’m honored to work with professionals who often stepped out of their usual comfort zones to make substantial contributions in 2020 and so pleased to see their work appreciated.”
There were 1,229 entries in the Better Newspaper Editorial Contest and 180 entries in the Better Newspaper Advertising Contest for a total of 1,409 entries. A total of 509 awards were won by 83 member newspapers in 33 states.
Judging was performed primarily by active community newspaper editors and publishers, as well as retired university journalism professors and retired or former newspaper professionals.
Art and Production Director Melanie Thornton’s poignant reaction piece, ‘Everything Worthwhile Isn’t Easy’, written during the height of the protests around the death of George Floyd garnered third place in the Best Serious Column category, with judges commenting that it was a “good column on an important topic.”
Sports Editor Todd Jorgenson’s profile of stand-out wrestler Primo Pinson, then a McCulloch Intermediate School fifth-grader, in our May 2020 Park Cities People issue was named a second-place finisher in the Best Sports Story category.
Digital Editor Bethany Erickson was awarded two second-place honors, one for Best Breaking News Story for her coverage of a rally in support of Black teens who were singled out at a local Sonic and asked to leave, and Best Non-Profile Feature Story honors for her touching tale about the late Henry Nguyen’s remarkable journey to fulfill some of his last wishes, thanks to the tenacity of his sister, Anh Pham.
Junior intern — and Chapel Hill Preparatory fifth-grader — John Erickson also picked up a third-place Best Profile Feature Story award for his story about Roger Farkash, the mastermind behind the displays at the Trains at NorthPark. He also earned a “well done,” in the judges’ remarks.
Deputy Editor Rachel Snyder picked up an honorable mention in the Best Profile Feature category for her profile of Melissa Fisher and Will Mitchell, who were high school sweethearts at Highland Park High School that found each other again later, and married. Kirk Dooley also snagged a Best Sports Feature or Series honorable mention for his recounting of the terrifying night in 1974 that Scots fullback Bobby McCullough was hit by Grand Prairie defensive back Larry Mims in a collision that injured both players.
Several special sections also were singled out for attention. Our 2020 STEAM section — which looked at the continued focus on integrating more science, technology, engineering, arts, and math into lessons, won second place in the Best Special News, Sports, or Feature Section category, while our April 2020 Lady Scots special section took home third-place honors in the same category.
Judges said the STEAM section was “very impressive in all ways.”
“Those working on this are to be congratulated for providing a wonderful read for anyone interested in education,” they added. “Great work.”
They also had high praise for the Lady Scots section, which was the work of Thornton and Jorgenson.
“This one is for the females who are not as recognized as the males but deserve it,” the judges said. “Great piece of work.”
The People Newspapers digital home — peoplenewspapers.com — was awarded an honorable mention in the Best Website category, with judges acknowledging that “lots of hard work goes into this website and it shows.”
Park Cities People also picked up three advertising awards. Taylor and account executive Quita Johnson picked up a second-place award in the Best Advertorial or Sponsored Content category for their work on the Comerica Bank-sponsored Remarkable Women feature in July 2020. Account executive Evelyn Wolff won an honorable mention in the Best Classified Section category from January 2020 through February 2020, and Johnson, account executive Tana Hunter, and senior account executive Kim Hurmis picked up first-place honors for the 2020 Highland Park Football special section in the Multiple Advertiser Section category.
“Overall a great section filled with wonderfully designed advertisements,” the judges said regarding that section. “Ads tie into the theme of the section well and are eye-catching. Fantastic job on these ads.”
Winners will be recognized at the awards ceremony held Saturday, Oct. 2, during the NNA’s 135th Annual Convention in Jacksonville, Florida.