More than 550 awards were handed out Thursday, January 26 at the 2017 Better Newspaper Contest Awards Banquet at the 150th Annual Minnesota Newspaper Association Convention in Bloomington, Minn.
Competition was tough this year, as winning entries were chosen from among 4,255 entries submitted in the 2015-2016 Better Newspaper Contest. You can view a digital copy of the winners booklet or download a duplicate award order form (professional awards or college awards).
Top honors of the evening went to the Detroit Lakes Tribune, taking home the Mills Trophy and the St. Cloud Times winning the Vance Trophy. ThreeSixty Journalism, from the University of St. Thomas took first place in the General Excellence division of the college contest.
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 Detroit Lakes Tribune won the Mills Trophy with 21 awards, totaling 95 points. The runner up was the Echo Press of Alexandria.
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 27 awards, totaling 154 points. The runners up were last year’s trophy winners, The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead.
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 awards in “Division I: Awards to Newspapers” and “Division III: Special Awards,” 10 points are given for every first place, six points for second place, and two points for third place. For awards in “Division II: Awards to Individuals,” 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 2015-2016 Better Newspaper Contest are:
Weeklies up to 1,500: The Tower Timberjay
Weeklies 1,501-2,500: Morris Sun Tribune
Weeklies 2,501-5,000: Litchfield Independent Review
Weeklies over 5,000: Alexandria Echo Press
Dailies under 10,000: Owatonna People’s Press
Dailies 10,000 and over: The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead
The Herman Roe Editorial Writing Award went to Chuck Frederick of the Duluth News Tribune. (You can read the winning editorial here.) Second place went to Jack Zaleski of The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. Third place was awarded to Tom Dennis of the Grand Forks Herald.
Chris Rogers of the Winona Post took first place in the Press Photographer’s Portfolio competition among all weekly newspapers. Winning second place was Brooke Kern from the Morris Sun Tribune and third place went to John Grones of The Voyageur Press, McGregor.
Michael Vosburg from The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead took first place in the Press Photographer’s Portfolio competition among all dailies. Winning second place was Steve Kohls of the Brainerd Dispatch. David Samson from The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead took home third place.
First place winners of the Editorial Portfolio are the Tower Timberjay (all weeklies) and the Post-Bulletin of Rochester (all dailies). Honored with the Dave Pyle New Journalist of the Year were Laura Hayes of the Winona Post (all weeklies) and Adrian Glass-Moore of The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead (all dailies).
The 2015-2016 Lynn Smith Community Leadership Award went to the St. Cloud Times for its series, “Sex trafficking: The victims next door.”