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Panhandle newspapers win awards
April 19, 2012 Lisa Betz   

Read more by Lisa Betz
LINCOLN — Each February, newspapers across Nebraska are busily engaged in preparing entries for the Nebraska Press Association’s annual Better Newspaper Contest. This year’s contest had more than 4,300 separate entries. Newspapers submit a $3 fee for each individual entry. Entries must be submitted by in-house staff only. Entries from outside contractors or contributors to the paper are excluded, as are all daily newspapers located in Lincoln and Omaha.

The contest this year represented 13 daily newspapers and 83 weeklies. The contest was judged by members of the Alabama Press Association and winners were announced Saturday night at an awards banquet in Lincoln, with more than 150 journalists in attendance.

Awards are bestowed in one daily newspaper category, with the area newspapers, Scottsbluff Star-Herald and Alliance Times-Herald competing, and four divisions of weekly newspapers determined by circulation. Among western Nebraska weekly newspapers that participated in the contest were Class A, with circulation up to 1,000 (Gering Courier, Hemingford Ledger); Class B, with circulation from 1,001 – 1,500 (Gering Citizen, Kimball Western Nebraska Observer); and Class C, with circulation from 1,501 to 2,800 (Bridgeport News Blade, Chadron Record).

The coveted Loral Johnson award, bestowed on the newspaper receiving the highest number of awards among all categories, was awarded to the Aurora News-Register. Western Nebraska was well represented with numerous winners, although not all area newspapers participated in the contest, and not all newspapers enter all possible categories.

The Scottsbluff Star-Herald brought home six awards in the daily class. The Star-Herald won first place for Single Retail Advertising Idea for Becca Bauer and Jenny Fisher; second-place award in the Breaking News for Maunette Loeks; second-place for Special Section , second-place for Public Notice and its Promotion, and second place for Classified Ad Section. Third place was awarded to the paper’s Web Site.

The Alliance Times-Herald, also in the daily class, won first place for Building Circulation.

The Chadron Record brought home three awards in class C (circulation of 1,501-2,800) The Record won first place Headline Writing; third place Agricultural Advertisement, and third place for Web Site. The Bridgeport News Blade won second place in Feature Photography for Kevin Myers, also in class C.

The Gering Citizen brought home seven awards in class B (circulation of 1,001-1,500): First place Editorial, first place Editorial Page, first place Specialty Pages, for its New Year, New You feature; second place for Elizabeth Berge’s Advertising Series design for Monument Inn and Suites, third place for General Excellence, and two third place nods for Lisa Betz in the Personal Column category and Ad Copy Writing, for Riddles Jewelry.

The Kimball Western Nebraska Observer brought home seven awards in class B (circulation of 1,001-1,500): First place and third place in Single Feature Story category for Dave Faries; first place for Lifestyles Section; second place Personal Column for Dave Faries; second place Feature Series, third place Editorial, third place New Writing.

The Hemingford Ledger won 12 awards in class A (circulation of up to 1,000). The Ledger was awarded first place Sports Column; first place News Photography; first place Personal Column; third place Feature Story; third place Editorial; first place for Use of Computer Graphics-Produced in House; second place Specialty Pages, third place Community Promotion Advertisement; first place Advertising Campaign; first place and second place for Single Retail Advertising Idea – Color; second place Web Site.

The Gering Courier won big in class A (circulation of up to 1,000) with a total of 22 awards, including the sweepstakes for the most awards in its class. The Courier also won first place Sports Writing for Jeff Fielder; first place for Lifestyles section; first place Headline Writing; first place Specialty Pages; second place In-Depth Writing for Arnie Tucker; second place Editorial; second place Editorial Page; second place General Excellence; second place Public Notice and Its Promotion; second place Sports Page; third place Single Feature Story for Arnie Tucker; third place news photography for Arnie Tucker; third place Front Page; first place for Classified Section; first place for Building Circulation; first place for Community Promotion Advertisement; first and second place for Agricultural Advertisement; second place for Ad Copywriting; third place for Best Small Ad; third place for Signature Page, third place Advertising Campaign.

Gering Citizen founder, Jim Headley, is now Managing Editor of the South Sioux City Dakota County Star, a class C weekly (circulation of 1,501-2,800). The Star won six awards, including first place Sports Page; second place for General Excellence; second place News Writing for Jim Headley; second place for Specialty Pages; and third place News Photography for Jim Headley.
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