Honors Include the Gold Medal in the Class 2 Division
Columbia, Mo. (Sept. 27, 2011) — The Columbia Missourian brought home an impressive 58 awards from the 2011 Missouri Press Association‘s Better Newspaper Contest. The amount of awards won this year shatters the previous record of 36 awards in 2006.
“I was sure there must have been an error in math when I heard,” Tom Warhover, associate professor and executive editor for innovation at the Missourian, said. “This year’s showing was incredible. It’s a testament to the great student-journalists who walk through these halls every day.”
The Missourian, which includes Vox Magazine, participated in the class 2 (circulation of 5,001 to 15,000) division. The Missourian won the Gold Medal in that division. The Gold Medal signifies the newspaper in the division with the highest total award points.
The award winners are:
- Best Front Page: Columbia Missourian Staff. Judges’ Comments: Shows a clear ability to present information in a variety of ways – and to do it well. On the traditional news page, there is an elegant sense of space and typography, and stories show clear hierarchy and dominance. The sports poster page is uniformly bold – the type, the photo. You really get drawn into that page. But the most impressive is the election recap. It gives all of the information the reader needs quickly and sends readers inside if they crave depth. These pages have energy, information, the whole nine yards.
- Best Breaking News Story: “Key witness recants in Ryan Ferguson case,” Chris Hamby. Judges’ Comments: A lot of good work here, pulling together a nine-year-old case and getting all of the facts into the context of the convicted man’s new claims. Nicely done.
- Best News Story: “IBM commits to bring at least 600 jobs to Columbia,” Washington Gikunju. Judges’ Comments: Comprehensive coverage – team effort – under deadline pressure. Excellent context and perspective.
- Best News/Feature Story: “That’s life,” Vox Magazine Staff. Judges’ Comments: Clever and witty language to tell stories about fertility that might otherwise get lost in scientific, mundane talk. The issue is told from every angle. I especially like the “What Would God Say?” story.
- Best Photo Package: “Roots ‘N’ Blues,” Jeff Lautenberger and Andrew Williams. Judges’ Comments: Nice set of photos, especially stoker. Good variety.
- Community Service Award: “Open Records,” Columbia Missourian Staff. Judges’ Comments: Excellent coverage of this vital issue – open records – with good info on how to access the records.
- Best Sports Page: March 12-13, 2010; Aug. 12, 2010; Nov. 23, 2010, Columbia Missourian Staff. Judges’ Comments: Excellent local content focused – rightfully so – on Missouri sports. Design clean and readable with judicious use of info boxes.
- Best Sports News Story/Package: “Homecoming 2010,” Columbia Missourian Staff. Judges’ Comments: The writing sparkles. You don’t have to be a Mizzou fan, or even a football fan, to appreciate it!
- Best Sports Feature Story: “MU linebacker playing through pain,” Len Goldman. Judges’ Comments: What a great story! A pleasure to read. The time and effort in this story really shows. Nice set up. Great story breaks. Ran a little long, but it needed to. I loved how the story encompassed the entire season. Showed hurdles on and off the court. Reporter didn’t pull any punches, “Confusion on the court” is fantastic in helping round out an excellent piece of work. Thought it was handled very sensitively while showing the struggle of this team.
- Best Special Section: “Sustainability issue,” Columbia Missourian Staff. Judges’ Comments: Great use of industry-related colors on cover and throughout. Relevant imagery, informative topics and detailed content. Great section.
- Best Investigative Reporting: “Whistle blows, then trouble,” Pat Sweet. Judges’ Comments: This reporter uncovered an alarming trend within the nuclear power business. Good, solid reporting.
- Best Local Business Coverage: Columbia Missourian Staff. Judges’ Comments: Good, deep reporting on big local business stories. Nice use of graphics to present details. Not all business news is good; you report on bad news, too. Good writing, editing, presentation.
- Best Business Story: “Recycle,” Robert Johnson. Judges’ Comments: The lead pulls the reader into this insider’s look at the auto salvage industry from the perspective of a family-run operation. Nice integration of national policy’s (Cash for Clunkers program) effects at the local level.
- Best Coverage of Government: “Planning for growth, April ballot, city council elections,” Columbia Missourian Staff. Judges’ Comments: The paper’s ability to take government and bring it to a level that readers could easily understand was outstanding. The writers did a great job of avoiding government lingo that can sometimes bog down stories.
- Best Story About Rural Life Or Agriculture: “That time of year,” Han Cheung. Judges’ Comments: Nicely told feature about something many people wouldn’t know anything about. Good description and pacing.
- Best Story About Education: “Older students face challenges when they return to college,” Genevieve Conti. Judges’ Comments: A well-done story with the perfect person to illustrate it. I’m sure your readers must have rooted for Roger’s success, like I did when I read the story. Great info on why mid-life students are going back to the classroom and what their lives are like.
- Best Information Graphic: “Missouri Lottery,” Tanya Ortiz. Judges’ Comments: The key to a successful info graphic is the clear and clean presentation of a significant amount of info. The chart on which numbers are picked was simple and clean – perfect. The reader can easily understand that he or she should avoid picking number four in most drawings. Well done.
- Best Coverage of Family Living: “Blooming backyards,” Columbia Missourian Staff. Judges’ Comments: Nice color, both in display and writing, and nice range of topics. Good job of putting faces on urban gardening, going to college as a parent and Rwanda refugees.
- Best Story About Religion: “The road less traveled,” Darren Orf. Judges’ Comments: Orf hooks the reader immediately with a well-crafted sense of place and a straight-forward nut graph that sets up the intriguing tension between Amish native sons and their diverging responses to the sect’s lifestyle. We learn about Amish life from a personal perspective rather than a tutorial – and fact-hungry readers are free to chew on the sidebar of stats. The story is a classic of “showing, not telling” and the photos are an excellent complement to the atmosphere Orf provides with creative writing.
- Best Columnist-Humorous: “Faith to be marginalized at the intersection of thinking and believing,” “What to do with a problem like the Youzeum,” “Improved intellegence just an outdoor activity away,” Molly Harbarger. Judges’ Comments: Enjoyed her light touch in dealing with both ways to enjoy the outdoors and the controversy over hiring the gay chief financial officer for the Methodist Conference. Her easy, conversational style drew me in and kept me reading.
- Best Sports Photograph: “Roar!” Eve Edelheit. Judges’ Comments: Great shot of the rabid fan base. Great angle and color. Really good energy in this shot.
- Best Ad or Promotion of an Advertisement: “Homecoming,” Columbia Missourian Staff. Judges’ Comments: Nice layout, consistently good throughout. Nice editorial and ads.
- General Excellence: Columbia Missourian. Judges’ Comments: Good writing and editing through all sections. Good handling of ads. Balanced editorials. Public notices handled well.
- Best Feature Story: “Retired group of men build homes for Habitat for Humanity,” Brad Racino. Judges comments: Good descriptive detail.
- Best Photo Package: “Drink up,” Columbia Missourian Staff. Judges’ Comments: Nice story telling photos – very nice package. Well done.
- Best News Content: For dates of Sept. 14, 2010; Aug. 5, 2010 and Nov 2, 2010, Columbia Missourian Staff. Judges’ Comments: A close second – this paper has some great writers on staff – strong op/ed commentary, interactive with readers, heavier focus on local issues. Not afraid to celebrate local figures while simultaneously hitting the hard news.
- Best Special Section: “Tiger Kickoff”