Nevada Press Association announces top winners in 2014 Better Newspaper Contest

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NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nevada — Here's a list of the top awards in the 2014 Nevada Press Association Better Newspaper Contest, announced Saturday at the association's annual convention:

General Excellence:

First Place: Urban Daily — Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Judges' comments: "While editing mistakes cost credibility, the paper's consistent effort to show its talent on every section earned loyalty. It was very difficult to choose among only three entrants, one of which had a radically different format from the others. All three showed competitive newsrooms and adventurous design editors. The decision was based on which paper delivered the most to its readers."

First Place: Intermediate — The Record-Courier (Gardnerville).

First Place: Community — Boulder City Review.

Judges' comments: "Lots of local news. A full-service community newspaper."

First Place: Urban Weeklies — Vegas Seven.

First Place: Magazines — Edible Reno-Tahoe.

Judges' comments: "Innovative design and a unique look set this magazine apart from the competition. Interesting stories and exceptional photographs rounded out the package. The magazine clearly knows its edible niche, and its enterprising staff matched the strong content with attractive and relevant advertising."

Second Place: Urban Daily — Las Vegas Sun; Intermediate — Nevada Appeal (Carson City); Community — Vegas Inc.; Urban Weeklies — Reno News & Review; Magazines — Luxury Las Vegas.

Third Place: Urban Daily — Reno Gazette-Journal; Intermediate — Desert Valley Times (Mesquite); Urban Weeklies — Las Vegas Weekly; Magazines — Reno Magazine.

Outstanding Journalist:

First Place: All Urban Newspapers and Magazines — Jennifer Robison, Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Judges' comments: "Ms. Robison's impressive body of work reflects a commitment to solid reporting and fact-gathering, as well as an understanding of how to make a complex story compelling and interesting to read. Very solid work!

Say what you want about Nevada, there are some top notch journalists on the payroll down there!"

First Place: All Community Newspapers— Sheila Gardner, The Record-Courier (Gardnerville).Judges' comments: "Stellar work. It shows the highest quality work can be done in small newsrooms."

Outstanding Visual Journalist — Justin Yurkanin, Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Judges' comments: "Excellent quality photos, and the pics flow well with the content

Difficult competition to judge. Very close call and could have gone several ways. Excellent job by all the entries."

Story of the Year — John Przybys, Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Judges' comments: "Story of the year is supposed to tell a compelling story and hold the reader's interest.' This story is not just compelling, it is inspiring. A remarkable family responding to extraordinary challenges with creativity, love and determination, but this story is raised to the next level by the author's choices. He uses the power of language beautifully to tell the tale of two people who might well have been trapped by silence, but more importantly he exercises empathy to help the reader enter the world of Cashel and Allie and all those who are born 'different.'"

"It was a pleasure to judge the Story of the Year competition. Nevada newspapers can be proud of the work submitted, almost across the board. In judging this category, I did take seriously the title 'Story' of the Year. I tried not to be swayed by work that was comprehensive such as long series or packages, and instead focused on what was the best, most compelling, most readable single story. I regret that only one such story can be honored in this category, because there were at least half a dozen examples that shouted out for an award, and I am hopeful that some of those will be successful in other categories."

Editorial of the Year — Steve Ranson, Lahontan Valley News (Fallon).

Judges' comments: "Great editorial. Takes a strong stance and then provides answers."

Photo of the Year — Sam Morris, Las Vegas Sun.

Judges' comments: "A breaking news photo that captures an image that stays with you. The colors and angles of the photo make it a shot that no doubt fixated readers."

Ad of the Year — Sean Rademacher, Las Vegas Weekly.

Judges' comments: "Clever use of visuals to create intrigue/engagement.

All three were clever executions and deserve recognition."

Silver Star Award — Greg Erwin, Reno News & Review.

Judges' comments: "It's really nice to be able to honor a circulation manager for his contributions to the newspaper. Without distribution, it's pretty much all in vain."

Journalist of Merit:

First Place: Urban Daily — Jackie Valley, Las Vegas Sun.

Judges' comments: "Powerful writing and reporting by Jackie Valley. She's the obvious winner in this category."

First Place: Intermediate — Dylan Harris, Elko Daily Free Press.

Judges' comments: "Good variety of work, solid writing and reporting skills. This was a tough category to choose, but the breadth of the stories here made the difference."

First Place: Community — Ed Komenda, Vegas Inc.

Judges' comments: "Impressive work from a young journalist."

First Place: Urban Weeklies — Mark Adams, Las Vegas Weekly.

Judges' comments: "Mark gets the edge over the other impressive nominees in the Journalist of Merit category with his advancement into the web editor ranks to go with his enthusiastic, conversational, fun and observant writing."

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