More than 600 awards were handed out Thursday, January 28 at the 2016 Better Newspaper Contest Awards Banquet at the 149th Annual Minnesota Newspaper Association Convention in Bloomington, Minn.
Competition was tough this year, as winning entries were chosen from among 4,259 entries submitted in the 2014-2015 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 Forum of Fargo-Moorhead winning the Vance Trophy. The Concordian newspaper, from Concordia College, Moorhead and The Advocate, from Minnesota State University, Moorhead, tied for 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 19 awards, totaling 103 points. The runners up were last year’s trophy winners, the Jackson County Pilot and 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 Forum of Fargo-Moorhead won the Vance Trophy, winning 30 awards, totaling 136 points. The runners up were last year’s trophy winners, the St. Cloud Times and the Post-Bulletin of Rochester.
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 2014-2015 Better Newspaper Contest are:
Weeklies up to 1,500: Norwood Young America Times
Weeklies 1,501-2,500: Annandale Advocate
Weeklies 2,501-5,000: Detroit Lakes Tribune
Weeklies over 5,000: Chaska Herald
Dailies under 10,000: Faribault Daily News
Dailies 10,000 and over: Post-Bulletin, Rochester
The Herman Roe Editorial Writing Award went to Andrew Broman of the Litchfield Independent Review. (You can read the winning editorial here.) Second place went to Korrie Wenzel of the Grand Forks Herald. Third place was awarded to Patrick Marek of the Winona Post.
Justin Lessman of the Jackson County Pilot 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 Dan Condon of the Jackson County Pilot.
Jason Wachter from the St. Cloud Times took first place in the Press Photographer’s Portfolio competition among all dailies. Winning second place was Dave Wallis of The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. Mark Sauer from the Mesabi Daily News in Virginia took home third place.
First place winners of the Editorial Portfolio are the Jackson County Pilot (all weeklies) and the The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead (all dailies). Honored with the Dave Pyle New Journalist of the Year were Philip Weyhe of the Le Sueur News-Herald (all weeklies) and Kim Hyatt of the Owatonna People’s Press (all dailies).
The 2014-2015 Lynn Smith Community Leadership Award went to the Grand Forks Herald.