More than 500 awards were handed out Thursday, January 29 at the 2015 Better Newspaper Contest Awards Banquet at the 148th Annual Minnesota Newspaper Association Convention in Bloomington, Minn.
Top honors of the evening went to the Jackson County Pilot who took home the prestigious Mills Trophy. The St. Cloud Times were honored with the Vance Trophy. The Record newspaper from the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University in Collegeville, Minn. took home the General Excellence award in the college division.
All winners should be exceptionally proud as they were chosen from 3,882 entries submitted in the 2013-2014 Better Newspaper Contest.You can view a digital copy of the winners booklet or download a duplicate award order form.
The Mills Trophy, awarded to the top weekly each year, was established in 1982 in honor of the late Charles Edward Mills who founded the Montevideo American-News. Four sons and three grandsons listed on the trophy have all been publishers of Minnesota newspapers and three, Russell, L.D. “Tip” and Everett S. Mills were the only brother combination ever to serve as presidents of the Minnesota Newspaper Association.
The weekly Jackson County Pilot won the Mills Trophy with 20 awards, totaling 96. They bested the runner up, and last year’s Mills Trophy winner, the Detroit Lakes Tribune, by just one point.
The Vance Trophy honors the Jim Vance family of Worthington. V.M. Vance was the first family member to get into newspapering when he worked on the Des Moines Register in the 1920s. V.M. bought the Worthington Daily Globe (then a weekly) in 1929. His sons, Bob and Jim, later continued the newspaper tradition.
The St. Cloud Times won the Vance Trophy, winning 25 awards, totaling 136 points.
All Better Newspaper Contest winners are automatically eligible for the Mills and Vance trophies. Trophy winners are determined on the basis of points earned. Twenty points are awarded for a first place in General Excellence, 15 points for second place, and 10 points for third place. For newspaper categories (awards given to a newspaper), 10 points are given for every first place, six points for second place, and two points for third place. For individual categories (awards given to an individual), five points are given for every first place, three points for second place and one point for third place.
First place General Excellence Winners in the 2013-2014 Better Newspaper Contest are:
Weeklies up to 1,500: Observer/Advocate, Mountain Lake
Weeklies 1,501-2,500: Jackson County Pilot
Weeklies 2,501-5,000: Woodbury Bulletin
Weeklies over 5,000: Chaska Herald
Dailies under 10,000: Albert Lea Tribune
Dailies 10,000 and over: St. Cloud Times
The Herman Roe Editorial Writing Award went to Kathy Vos of The Free Press, Mankato. (Read her winning editorial here.) Second place went to Frances Edstrom of the Winona Post. Third place was awarded to Joe Spear of The Free Press, Mankato.
Jakki Wehking of The Parkers Prairie Independent took first place in the Press Photographer’s Portfolio competition among all weekly newspapers. Winning second place was Chad Richardson from the Hastings Star Gazette, third place went to Dan Condon of the Jackson County Pilot.
Monte Draper from The Bemidji Pioneer took first place in the Press Photographer’s Portfolio competition among all dailies. Winning second place was John Cross of The Free Press, Mankato. Dave Schwarz from the St. Cloud Times took home third place honors.
First place winners of the Editorial Portfolio are the Litchfield Independent Review (all weeklies) and the Post-Bulletin of Rochester (all dailies).
New Journalist of the Year honors went to Chris Rogers of the Winona Post (all weeklies) and Nick Hansen of the Marshall Independent (all dailies).
The 2013-2014 Lynn Smith Community Leadership Award went to the Blooming Prairie Times.