The Platteville Journal received seven Wisconsin Newspaper Association Better Newspaper Contest awards, including two first-place awards, at the annual WNA convention in Middleton Friday.
The Better Newspaper Contest was judged by members of the Missouri Newspaper Association. The Journal was judged against weekly newspapers of more than 3,500 circulation, the largest weekly circulation group in the contest.
The Journal won first place in the Most Improved Newspaper category. The category compared three editions in August 2012 from the same three editions one year earlier.
“Changes very noticeable,” judges wrote, mentioning The Journal’s logo “and front page in general. … Very newsy and well designed newspaper.”
Editor Steve Prestegard also received a first-place award in the editorial category for his June 27 Etc. column, “Parking problems.” Judges called it “good, punchy writing on topics of local interest.”
Prestegard received a second-place award in the Lifestyle Pages category for the June 13 story, “That Tree.” “Liked the story, certainly is a new one,” judges wrote.
Prestegard also received a third-place award in the Open Records/Freedom of Information category for his June 20 Etc. column, “Behind closed doors,” on the Grant County Board of Supervisors.
“This county board must be something to see in action,” judges wrote. “This is a strong editorial that reminds readers of the importance of accountability by government office holders. Terrific job.”
Prestegard also received a third-place award in the headlines category for the May 23 story on the Wisconsin 80 project, “Road Work Ahead(ache),” and a third-place award in the front page category.
The Journal also received a third-place award in the category of Best Niche Publication — In Paper for Exploring the Tri-States, which was put together by account representative Ann Rupp and designer Carol Tyson. Judges called it “very well done. Impressive section with a lot of content, and a lot of ads.”
The Journal has won 29 WNA awards, including seven first-place awards, since Morris Newspapers Corporation of Wisconsin purchased The Journal in 2003.
Other newspapers owned by Morris Newspaper Corporation of Wisconsin also won WNA awards. The Grant County Herald Independent in Lancaster earned five first-place awards and four second-place awards. The Crawford County Independent & the Kickapoo Scout in Gays Mills earned one first-place award, one second-place award and two third-place awards. The Tri-County Press in Cuba City and the Fennimore Times each received a third-place award.
The UW–Platteville Exponent newspaper also won two awards — a third-place in the General Reporting category for its coverage of the Chicago’s Best fire, and a second-place in the Sports Reporting category for its coverage of former UW–Platteville coach Bo Ryan’s visit to campus.
Marklein honored: State Rep. Howard Marklein (R–Spring Green) received a legislative award from the Wisconsin Newspaper Association.
Each year, the WNA presents its Badger Award to two legislators who have provided outstanding support in the newspaper industry. The Badger Award is presented in recognition of their advocacy for openness in government and an informed citizenry.
The WNA presented the award to Marklein and Sen. Joe Leibham (R–Sheboygan) for their work on Wisconsin Act 228, which updated the public notice process.
“I was glad to work with the Wisconsin Newspaper Association and Senator Leibham to help update outdated provisions of the public notice statutes,” said Marklein. “This was a great opportunity to help our local newspapers by streamlining the notice process. These notices promote transparency and openness in government, which are things we can all support.”
Changes in the public notices process included standardizing the font and requiring that all public notices be published on the public notices website.
“In my area of the state, newspapers are an important source of information,” said Marklein. “People in rural areas depend on their local papers to keep informed about local and statewide issues.”
The Badger Award is the highest award given by the WNA to a non-member of their association.