Newspaper earns high marks in contest

The Daily Journal was honored for journalism excellence in a statewide contest.

At the 2014 Hoosier State Press Association Foundation Better Newspaper Contest, Daily Journal journalists earned second place in general excellence, an award given to newspapers that demonstrate outstanding work across all categories, including news, feature and sports writing, and reporting, design, editing, graphics and commentary.

The newspaper staff also won top awards for deadline news writing, feature writing and headline writing. 

Reporter Tom Lange and former reporter Kate Knable won first place for best news coverage under deadline pressure for a story about children who were feared dead in a Nineveh house fire.

The judges said: “Comprehensive coverage of a tragic fire, written under big-time deadline pressure and under tough conditions.”

Assistant managing editor for news Annie Goeller won first place in best profile feature for her story “A family on edge,” about a family’s struggle to find quality care for their disabled daughter, after several caregivers had been under investigation.

The judges said: “This was the most important of the 37 stories I read for this category, and one of the most compelling. It profiles not only a family, but also a seemingly unsolvable situation. The emotion of the situation is clear but not exploited. It’s a case study in caring, audacity, and, ultimately, frustration. That there are no easy answers makes the story the one in the bunch that stuck with me.”

Sports editor Rick Morwick won first place in best sports commentary. The judges said: “Morwick writes fluently, combining stats, quotes and commentary in a perfect measure. His insights are a must-read for Colts fans. He is a hometown fan without being too boisterous. His writing demonstrates skills that set him apart from the others, in part because of his use of short sentences and a clever technique of repetition. It’s not overdone, and it elevates his newspaper columns to almost literature. His endings tie subject matter together neatly without sounding trite. Daily Journal readers are lucky to have him.”

Copy editor Scott Bacon won first place in headline writing.

Other awards given:

  • Second place in best feature story to Ryan Trares for his story “Shared grief, new life,” about a family’s loss after a woman’s death and new life given to the resident who received her liver through organ donation. The judges said: “Conveys the emotion of the story without being overly dramatic. Well done.”
  • Third place in sports news or feature coverage to reporter Mike Beas for his package on football equipment. The judges said: “Well-written and thoroughly comprehensive reporting. The graphic elements are a great addition and help the reader dig into the variance in equipment.”
  • Second place for best use of graphics.
  • Second place for best sports section.
  • Second place for best feature section for Go!
  • Second place for best special section for Brave Hearts. The judges said: “We loved the overall presentation. Very well-organized; we enjoyed the front page graphic, informative with great stories.”
  • Second place in best community service to Knable for a series of stories on Greenwood’s tax-increment financing districts. The judges said: “Such a complex issue to communicate to the general public. Great job explaining, bringing awareness and your continued efforts.”
  • Third place in best newspaper design. The judges said: “Lots of great elements above the fold. Great single-copy presentation.”

Awards were announced Saturday at the annual contest in Indianapolis. The Daily Journal competed in Division 4, with other newspapers across the state with circulation sizes ranging from 6,000 to 13,999.

The Brown County Democrat, the Daily Journal’s sister newspaper, also owned by Home News Enterprises, was a finalist for the Blue Ribbon award for nondaily newspapers. This award is the highest accolade given out by HSPA.

The Democrat and The Columbus Republic won first place in their respective divisions for general excellence. The Seymour Tribune won second place for general excellence in its division.