NNA awards General Excellence winners in 2013 newspaper contests

Sep 14, 2013

PHOENIX, AZ—General Excellence winners were presented with awards in the annual Better Newspaper Contest during the National Newspaper Association’s 2013 Annual Convention & Trade Show, for achieving recognition in these prestigious categories:


General Excellence

General Excellence – College Division


The awards were presented to winners in attendance at the “Toast to the Winners” award reception, Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013, which was held during NNA’s Annual Convention & Trade Show at the Arizona Grand Resort in Phoenix, AZ.




NNA established this award to recognize member newspapers that achieve excellence in the following areas: quality of writing; headline language; use of photos and art work; design and typography; editorial page(s); front page; family life/living page(s); sports page(s); advertising design and layout, quality and technique of writing copy, handling of classified and/or reader ads and taste; and treatment of public notices.


Entrants submitted digital versions of three non-Sunday issues: one from June 2012, one from November 2012 and the third a consecutive issue to either submitted issue.


General Excellence winners are listed below, including judges’ comments:


Daily Division

First Place—Sioux City Journal, Sioux City, IA. Judges’ Comments: “This newspaper has it all: great writing, locally generated photos and well thought-out design that included an advertising layout strategy that works. These front pages illustrate what our industry needs to be doing to reach multiple readers in an organized approach. It also offered a variety of writing styles and uses excellent typography throughout.”

Second Place—Wyoming Tribune Eagle, Cheyenne, WY. Judges’ Comments: “This was a close contender because it combines excellent writing with great layout and design. A pleasure to read, and again should be a model for how the future of our newspaper industry needs to respond to a new generation of readers.”

Third Place—The Union, Grass Valley, CA. Judges’ Comments: “Good writing, good use of photos and average layout brings a third place to this publication.”

Honorable Mention—Antelope Valley Press, Palmdale, CA. Judges’ Comments: “Above average content and good photography. Readers could use a break from all of the hard news that dominates the front by bringing some of the features to the front. Overall, a good read and quality publication.”


Non-daily Division, circulation 10,000 or more

First Place—The Examiner, Beaumont, TX. Judges’ Comments: “The best designed newspaper in this contest. Super headline writing. Great use of photos with nearly every story! Interesting stories. I want to read every issue of this paper! Your Black History features were excellent. Close attention to details. Awesome entertainment section.”

Second Place—The Taos News, Taos, NM. Judges’ Comments: “Incredible special sections.  Superior design and typography. Excellent advertising layout and design. Strong newspaper. This was tough to decide between this one and the winner!”

Third Place—Idaho Mountain Express, Ketchum, ID. Judges’ Comments: “Very clean, modular layout. Strong use of white space. Nice package of local news and features. Excellent production. A real winner!”

Honorable Mention—Central City News, Baton Rouge, LA. Judges’ Comments: “Strong front pages. Interesting newspaper. Great layout and design. Great job!”


Non-daily Division, circulation 6,000-9,000

First Place—Jackson Hole News & Guide, Jackson, WY. Judges’ Comments: “I would most enjoy sitting down to read the News & Guide. It's so strong in so many ways. I'm very impressed with what the staff turns out every week.”

Second Place—The Southampton Press-Eastern Edition, Southampton, NY. Judges’ Comments: “There are some facets of the Southampton Press that I don't like (so many stacked headlines, too many firing squad photos, the dog legs in the layout), but overall the paper has so much to offer that overcomes my personal dislikes (and how many readers would ever complain about a dog-legged layout). Excellent writing, very attractive advertising, strong editorial page, etc. Impressive product. It's easy to make smaller PDFs for online reading. Be kind to next year's judge and shrink them down.”

Third Place—The N'West Iowa REVIEW, Sheldon, IA. Judges’ Comments: “I've known the NW Iowa Review as one of the best for many years and the quality is still there. Use of photos is always excellent and the sports coverage is the best. A great job, as always.”

Honorable Mention—Vilas County News-Review, Eagle River, WI. Judges’ Comments: “Among the other entries, the Vilas County News-Review is the strongest. The front pages are a little busy for my taste as you try to really pack in a lot of photos and information.”


Non-daily Division, circulation 3,000-5,999

First Place—Hutchinson Leader, Hutchinson, MN. Judges’ Comments: “From the minute I look at the front page, I want to dig into this newspaper and see what other surprises I will find! Strong design, stories and headline writing, added to outstanding advertising design, sports coverage, photos and family life/living coverage make this the best community newspaper in this division! Outstanding work, folks!”

Second Place—Litchfield Independent Review, Litchfield, MN. Judges’ Comments: “Strong overall and front page design, editorial pages and use of photos make this a good community newspaper. Add in good sports coverage, photos and headlines, and this was a strong second-place finisher!”

Third Place—Central Oregonian, Prineville, OR. Judges’ Comments: “A good community newspaper, anchored by quality photos and writing, editorial pages and a dynamic front page. Nicely done!”

Honorable Mention—The Douglas Budget, Douglas, WY. Judges’ Comments: “While this newspaper could use some stronger, more dynamic design elements and fonts, the content is very solid. This is a good community newspaper that its community should be proud of!”


Non-daily Division, circulation less than 3,000

First Place—Sangre de Cristo Chronicle, Angel Fire, NM. Judges’ Comments: “It's rare to see a newspaper of this caliber in any circulation category, but to find it among non-dailies with circulations under 3,000 is a real treat. Everything about the Sangre de Cristo Chronicle is a delight: the depth and breadth of stories, great writing and photography, outstanding design. We hope readers know how fortunate they are to have this newspaper.”

Second Place—West Point News, West Point, NE. Judges’ Comments: “This paper shines! Though we judged the West Point News second place, it was in most respects as good as the first-place winner. It shouts community. It's unusual to see a paper with so many faces, done so well.”

Third Place—Missouri Lawyers Weekly, St. Louis, MO. Judges’ Comments: “Missouri Lawyers Weekly stands as a model of how a newspaper can serve its professional community: Compelling stories, top-notch writing, fantastic design.”

Honorable Mention—Pipestone County Star, Pipestone, MN. Judges’ Comments: “Great breadth and depth for such a small paper. Love the photos, too.”

Honorable Mention—Point Reyes Light, Point Reyes Station, CA. Judges’ Comments: “This paper is produced with exceptional thoughtfulness. Writing is especially strong.”




Entrants in the College Division, submitted digital versions of three issues: one from February 2012, one from November 2012 and the third a consecutive issue to either submitted issue.


Entries were judged on an overall evaluation of the newspaper with a rating based on the following areas: quality of writing; headline language; use of photos and art work; design and typography; editorial page(s); front page; student life page(s); sports page(s); and advertising design and layout, quality and technique of writing copy, handling of classified and/or reader ads and taste.


Winners in the College Division are listed below, including judges’ comments:


College Division, Daily & Non-daily Division

First Place—The Southwestern College Sun, Chula Vista, CA. Judges’ Comments: “Great college paper. The writing is solid, headlines are compelling, photos are strong, editorial page is insightful (we especially enjoyed Managing Editor Angela Van Ostran's column), and the sports section is lively. The Sun is what every college paper should strive to be.”

Second Place—The Universe, Provo, UT. Judges’ Comments: “Strong contender. Student issues and concerns seem to be covered well.”


Established in 1885, the National Newspaper Association is the voice of America’s community newspapers and the largest newspaper association in the country. The nation’s community papers inform, educate and entertain nearly 150 million readers every week.