Local newspapers win awards at state contest

Jordan Gerard, left, and Dave Phillips won awards at the Minnesota Newspaper Association Better Newspaper Contest last week in the Twin Cities.
Bluff Country Newspaper Group

Two individuals in the Bluff Country Newspaper Group won awards in the Better Newspaper Contest, which was part of the annual Minnesota Newspaper Association convention last week in the Twin Cities.

Publisher Dave Phillips, who is also editor of the Spring Valley Tribune, won first place for his photo story. His collection of photos documented the Fins and Films event in Spring Valley last summer.

“Perfect angles. You have natural talent. Loved this entry!” wrote the judges about the photo story, titled “Drags, burnouts and pinups in Spring Valley.”

Spring Grove editor Jordan Gerard took second place in the category local breaking news coverage. Her story detailed storms last summer that brought flash flooding due to rain and destroyed 75 percent of the strawberry crop due to hail.

Judges noted that she had an excellent introduction and the story was “just folksy enough to feel personal without taking away the impact.”

The judges also stated that this category was difficult to judge with so many quality stories submitted. They valued the stories that “clearly threw the newsroom out of their normal routine and pushed them to turn to make that coverage their focus.”

The Better Newspaper Contest judges Minnesota’s newspapers in categories based on circulation size. Nearly every newspaper in the state except the two metro daily newspapers is a member of the MNA.

Bluff Country Newspaper Group has won awards in the contest every year during the past decade. Since 2009, the local group of newspapers has won 42 awards, mostly in writing and photography.