By Cheri Eichholz Cherry
The Columbia Missourian, the School’s digital-first community newsroom that covers news and sports, won 51 awards Saturday in the Missouri Press Association’s 2021 Better Newspaper Contest, including the Gold Cup award given to news organizations with the most awards in its division.
The Missourian competed in the division of newspapers with circulations from 5,001 to 15,000 and won awards for written stories, visuals, multimedia, graphics, design and projects produced in 2020.
The awards were announced Saturday at the Missouri Press Association’s annual convention and awards luncheon held in Excelsior Springs this year.
- General Excellence, Best Overall Design, Best Front Page and Best Online Newspaper or Website: Missourian staff won first-place awards for four team categories. General Excellence, including Vox Magazine, was judged on the breadth of content, the quality of layout, art, design and advertising. The Best Overall Design category considered the layout, design of text and photos of three entire print editions. The Best Front Page entry consisted of three front pages and demonstrated consistent quality of writing, layout, design, headlines and other elements. The Best Website category is judged for the site’s ease of use and originality.
- Best Coverage of Rural Life or Agriculture, Best Business Story and Best News or Feature Series: The Missourian, in collaboration with KBIA and KOMU, earned first-place awards for Washed Away, an occasional series on Missouri River flooding and levee failures in the state. Caitlyn Rosen and Seth Bodine won a first-place award in the Best Business Story category on the effect levee failures cause to Missouri farms. Rosen and Bodine worked with Mikayla Easley, Tynan Stewart, and Lillie Hegeman on additional floodplain stories earning a first-place nod in the Best Coverage of Rural Life or Agriculture and a second-place award in the Best News or Feature series category.
- Best Feature Photo: Photo director Brian W. Kratzer won first place for his photograph of fireworks at Columbia’s Fire in the Sky event.
- Best Information Graphic: The Information Graphics team won a first-place award for Ben Scott’s graphic on the effect the pandemic lockdown has had on airlines, and Jessica Blake won a second-place award for her graphic on compliance with Columbia’s mask mandate.
- Best Health Story: Janae McKenzie won first place for her story about the reluctance of some people to wear a mask in spite of local ordinances and mandates.
- Best Investigative Reporting: Jordan Meier, Mawa Iqbal and Spencer Norris won a first-place award for their story about political action committees and how politicians use PACs to bypass campaign spending limits and further special interests.
- Best News or Feature Obituary: Roshae Hemmings won a first-place award for her feature obituary on Gary Edwards, known to many in Columbia as the “Walking Man.” Hemmings also earned an honorable mention for her life story of Dr. Gus T. Ridgel, one of the first Black students to be admitted to MU. Connor Giffin won a second-place award for his life story about Missouri School of Journalism faculty member Mark Hinojosa.
- Best News Story: Galen Bacharier won a first-place award for his story about the refusal of University of Missouri President Mun Choi to remove the Thomas Jefferson statue from the MU quad after a request to remove it.
- Best Photo Package: Missourian staff members, including Ethan Weston and Elizabeth Underwood, produced a first-place photo package of Election Day scenes for a package titled Defending Democracy. The Nov. 6 edition of Friday Night Sights featuring Week Two of high school football playoffs also earned an honorable mention in this category.
- Best Sports Photograph: Jeffrey Zide won first-place for his photograph of Missouri’s Amber Smith’s drive to the basket in a game against South Carolina at Mizzou Arena.
- Best News Photograph: Armond Feffer won a first-place award for his photograph of the March to Mizzou protest sponsored by the Black Student Athletes Association. Zuofei Zephyrus Li won a second-place award for his photo of protester Sterling Brown at a George Floyd protest in Columbia on June 3, 2020.
- Multimedia Reporting: Missourian staff won first place for its hyper-local election coverage, a deep dive capturing diverse scenes in audio, video, and photography using online and print platforms.
- Best News or Feature Series: The Missourian won first place for its series First Pitches, in which former Missourian sportswriting alums share memories of their experiences here.
- Best Story about Education: Tran Nguyen won a first-place award for her story about Columbia Public School’s ranking in the bottom 25% of the state when it comes to student achievement percentages of their less advantaged students and students of color.
- Best Editorial Cartoon: John Darkow’s cartoon “She looks like me” commemorates Kamala Harris’ barrier-breaking vice-presidential inauguration.
- Best Feature Story: Leanne Tippett Mosby won second-place for her profile on organic farmer Liz Graznak.
- Community Service: The Missourian won a second-place award for its fourth annual Progress Awards program honoring people and organizations that move Columbia forward.
- Best Coverage of Government: Missourian staff won a second-place award for analysis and coverage related to trash pick-up, recycling and roll carts, including a cartoon commentary by John Darkow.
- Best Sports Feature Photograph: Dan Shular won a second-place award for his photo of Helias junior tight end Samuel Schell after winning the Class 4 state championship game. Trenton Almgren-Davis won a third-place award for his photo of Rock Bridge cheerleader Brooklyn Woodruff in midair.
- Best Sports Feature Story: Adam Cole second-place for his profile of newly hired Missouri football coach Eliah Drinkwitz and received a third-place award for his story about a summer job program benefitting Missouri football on the Neuner farm.
- Best Sports News Story or Package: Liam Quinn won a second-place award for his story about Missouri women’s tennis players being encouraged to play with injuries. Jackson Stone won a third-place award for his story about high school wrestling champions.
- Best Story about Rural Life of Agriculture: Seth Bodine won a second-place award for his story about how farms are adapting to the pandemic and the losses they face. Ziye Kelsey Tang won third place for a story about Missouri maple syrup makers. Emily Wolf earned an honorable mention for her story about a bill that would allow the retail sale of raw milk.
- Best Story about the Outdoors: Abbey Tauchen won a second-place award for her story about a gourd farmer. Savannah Bennett won third place for her story about the Mid-Missouri Radio Control Association. Xander Negozio won an honorable mention for his story about the transition from the Our Wild Nature area to the Shepard-to-Rollins trail.
- Best Video: Missourian staff won a second-place award for Unfulfilled: Documentary on the senior Class of 2020 and their missed or canceled moments due to the pandemic. The Long Wait won a third-place award for Election Day coverage. Contributors were Zuofei Zephyrus Li, Grace Noteboom, Megan Oosthuizen, Minh Connors and Jacob Moscovitch.
- Best Story about History and Best Sports Feature Story: Max Baker won a third-place award in the Best Story about History category for his article about the five-year anniversary of the 2015 campus protests against racism and the united stand Missouri football took to support Concerned Student 1950 activists and their supporters. This entry also earned Baker an honorable mention in the Best Sports Feature Story category.
- Best News or Feature Sections: Missourian staff won a third-place award for its Innovations in Agriculture section and an honorable mention for Boomtown 2020: How to live your best life in Columbia over 50.
- Best Photo Illustration: Hillary Tan won a third-place award for his photo illustration of a gun barrel hiding underneath a pillow.
- Best Headline Writing: Missourian staff won a third-place award for a body of work that demonstrated clever word selection and creativity.
- Best Military Story: Abbey Tauchen earned an honorable mention for her story about an agricultural transitional job program for veterans.
- Best Page Design: Missourian staff won an honorable mention for the layout and design of the 2020 Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl victory.
Updated: September 28, 2021