Daily Journal wins several awards during HSPA newspaper contest

Staff report

The Daily Journal newsroom won several honors this weekend in a statewide newspaper competition.

The staff of the Daily Journal won multiple first-, second- and third-place awards for reporting, writing, graphics and design of the newspaper in the Hoosier State Press Association 2017 Better Newspaper Contest.

North Carolina journalists judged the competition, and Daily Journal staff accepted the awards at a ceremony in Indianapolis on Saturday.

The Daily Journal won second place in the general excellence category, which is awarded to papers in each circulation category based on the amount of awards in individual categories. Winners exemplify excellence in all aspects of newspaper publication, including mechanical excellence, editorial content and appearance.

Here are the other awards the newspaper earned and the judges’ comments:

First place in best business/economic news coverage went to editor Michele Holtkamp, reporter Ryan Trares and assistant managing editor for news Annie Goeller for a series of stories about microhospitals in the area. Judges said, “Love the whole package in this series — stellar writing with design that makes it easy to comprehend.”

First place in best profile feature went to Holtkamp for “Hope and forgiveness,” a story about a woman’s recovery after she was intentionally set on fire by her estranged husband. Judges said, “This story hooked me from the beginning, and became even more interesting as more details were revealed. It was very well written, and describes well how the subject has come to terms with her injuries and adopted a philosophy of forgiveness.”

Second place in the best profile feature category went to Trares for “A life of fandom.” Judges said “The story starts with an excellent description of the subject stepping onto Wrigley Field when the Cubs won the World Series, and follows with great writing on how he managed to become one of the ring bearers. In short, the writing is exceptionally skillful and top notch.”

Sports editor Ryan O’Leary earned second place in the best sports news or feature coverage category for “Home again.” Judges said, “Excellent story of a young swimmer’s courage and determination. The writer does a great job telling this young man’s story with attention to detail.”

O’Leary earned first place in best sports commentary. Judges said about his columns, “Great writing, and good, incisive, insightful commentary. Good originality with some of the phrasing.”

The newspaper staff earned first place in the best use of graphics category. Judges said, “ The graphics on these front pages are remarkable, trendy, yet still fresh and clean. The graphics appear to be a hallmark of this publication and rightfully so. Nice job on the part of the graphics department/artists.”

The newspaper staff’s special section documenting the Center Grove football team’s 2016 trip to the state finals earned second place in the best special section category. Judge said, “Very impressive section and overall package, especially when you consider this was done on deadline. Section looks great, especially the cover and Page 2. Great coverage of an important community event.”

The staff earned second place in the best newspaper design category. Judges said, “Great section fronts that really allow stories and photos to stand out. Attractive, easy to read layout with great use of photos, graphics and color. Loved the treatment of the football state finals defeat. The Accent fronts are impressive as well.”

Photographer Scott Roberson earned second place in the best sports action photo category. He earned a second place on a sports action photo published in the Brown County Democrat, a weekly newspaper that is part of AIM Media Indiana, which owns the Daily Journal. Judges said, “This picture has it all. A clear focus on the main action, good color and wonderful lines.”

The staff of the Daily Journal earned third place in the best feature section or pages, best sports section, best editorial page and best website categories.