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‘News’ wins state awards

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At the recent annual Osman Hooper contest for weekly newspapers, the Yellow Springs News won first place in editorials, features and original columns, along with awards in advertising, special editions and in-depth reporting.

The contest took place Thursday, Feb. 12, as part of the annual convention of the Ohio Newspaper Association held in Columbus.

About 70 Ohio weekly papers competed in the Hooper contest, in five classes based on circulation. The News, with circulation of about 1,800, competed in Class E, papers with the smallest circulation. Judging the contest, which covered issues from August 2007 to August 2008, were journalism professors from Ohio state universities.

While the weeklies competed with other papers of their size in most categories, in the editorial category, all 70 papers competed for five awards. The Yellow Springs News took first place, with editorials written by editor Diane Chiddister. The three submitted pieces “represent all of the characteristics of exceptional community newspaper editorials,” according to the judge, who wrote,“The tone is hopeful, not cynical.”

The submitted editorials urged Village Council to consider alternative actions before signing a contract for a coal-fired plant, reflected on the censorship of a student-written play, and supported Nonstop Antioch.

The first place for features award was based on submissions by News Associate Editor Lauren Heaton and freelancer Susan Gartner. The features were “informative articles that immediately engage readers and have pleasing literary style and provide insights into local culture,” according to the judge’s comments.

The News features included stories about Clifton resident David Hild’s creation of a homemade sun dial, the 10th anniversary of the Women’s Park, and a profile of local muralist Sarah Dickens.

In original columns, the News won first place for the columns written by local resident Jimmy Chesire about his experience coaching the village’s summer t-ball Perry League.

According to the judge, “These essays are charming baseball poetry about the joys of running a t-ball league. Somehow quoting ‘Psychic Discoveries Behind the Iron Curtain’ and Picasso fits nicely with summer fun, team uniforms and adjective-deserving individual baseball characters.”

The News also took second place in advertising, and third place in special editions and in-depth reporting.

The advertising award honors the design of ads, and the submissions were created by News graphic designer Matt Minde and former designer Lisa Wolters. The judge spotlighted an ad produced for the Meadowlark Restaurant, citing the ad’s “clean and modern feel.”

The News advertising director is Robert Hasek, and Kathryn Hitchcock is the display advertising associate.

The third-place award in special editions honored the 2007 “Guide to Yellow Springs,” which focused on Antioch College. The award for in-depth reporting covered the News’ coverage of the closing of Antioch College, written by Chiddister and Heaton.

Also contributing to the paper’s awards were Office Manager Dee Sorrell, Circulation Manager Donna Riley and former reporter Virgil Hervey.

The News is a 125-year-old independent weekly newspaper that is co-owned by Chiddister and Hasek.


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