Each year, the Hoosier State Press Association conducts what it calls a “Better Newspaper Contest” in which Indiana newspapers of similar sizes compete in a broad range of journalistic categories from news reporting, feature writing, sports writing, page design and photography. There are even categories for Web sites and related content.
When newspapers choose to enter such contests, they do so because it gives them an opportunity to compete with their peers and see where they stack up.
When the Tribune-Star enters the HSPA contest, we are putting our work up against some of the best newspapers in a state with some very good newspapers. Our division is for newspapers with paid circulations of between 18,000 and 40,000. Among our chief competitors are the Herald-Times in Bloomington, The Journal and Courier in Lafayette, the Star-Press in Muncie, and newspapers in Columbus, Anderson, Kokomo, Elkhart, Marion and Fort Wayne.
Awards for 2007 were announced last weekend at a banquet in Indianapolis, and I am proud to report that the Tribune-Star once again did well. We brought home seven awards in all, three of them for first place.
Here is a rundown of this year’s T-S awards:
Headline Writing — Chad Steenerson, a copy editor here for the past six years, has earned a reputation as one of the most talented headline writers in the state. His first-place award this year was not his first. In fact, he is the perennial winner in this category in the HSPA contest, as well as other statewide contests. Chad is a skilled wordsmith who has a unique ability to capture the essence of news and feature stories and write headlines for them that are often bright and witty.
Sports Event Coverage — Todd Golden, sports editor, and Tom James, sports correspondent, won top prize for their excellent coverage of the Indianapolis Colts’ Super Bowl victory last February. Todd and Tom made for a great team as they trekked to Miami and supplied our readers for an entire week with some of the best coverage of the Super Bowl provided by any news organization anywhere.
Sports News or Feature Coverage — David Hughes, a veteran sports reporter, captured top prize for his poignant feature story about Erica Sell, a student at Terre Haute South Vigo who was fighting cancer while still playing softball for her high school’s team. David’s story was among the best stories published by the Tribune-Star all year, so we’re pleased that he received such high recognition for his work in the HSPA contest.
News Coverage with No Deadline Pressure by a Team — This team award goes to our reporting staff, headed by Assistant Editor Susan Duncan, for outstanding work covering the canonization of St. Mother Theodore Guerin in October 2006. This event carried a high degree of interest for our readers, and the staff rallied to produce high quality work over a sustained period.
Use of Graphics — Zach Taylor, news editor, and Elizabeth Goodman, a former copy editor and page designer, teamed up to capture this honor. Zach produced eye-popping photo illustrations for his portion of the entry, while Elizabeth’s contribution was an excellent timeline graphic on St. Mother Theodore Guerin.
Ongoing News Coverage — Mark Bennett, feature writer and columnist, was honored for his inspired work while in Rome for the Guerin canonization. Covering a major story in a foreign country is no easy task, even for a seasoned professional like Mark. His work was top-notch, and he is most deserving of this award.
Web site — Producing a superb online edition requires vision and execution. A lot of people contribute, but I particularly want to commend Shaun Hussey, Web developer, James Willis, copy editor, and Sheila TerMeer, community news editor, for the time, care and attention they give to this increasingly important newspaper function.
Congratulations to this year’s winners. Their work has made us proud.
The Tribune-Star and its readers are blessed with a talented, hard-working and productive staff of journalists who time and again rally to the cause of creating a daily newspaper that meets the needs of a large, diverse audience. I feel privileged to work among them.