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‘News’ wins state awards

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At a recent convention of Ohio newspapers, the Yellow Springs News won awards for in-depth reporting, features, editorials, headlines, overall design and advertising design.

The awards were part of the Osman C. Hooper Newspaper Show, a component of the Feb. 11 Ohio Newspaper Association Annual Convention in Columbus. The Hooper show highlights weekly Ohio papers, and 61 weeklies took part. For most of the categories, the News competed against a group of 16 papers with comparable circulation. The News category, Division D, is for the smallest papers, with circulation from 1,126 to 3,299. The News circulation is about 1,800.

The contest covers papers published between August 2008 through July 2009, which were judged by faculty members of Ohio journalism schools.

The News received first-place awards for both overall design and advertising design. One of the few weeklies that does not use color, the News is “a perfect example that color does not make good design,” the judges wrote, adding “very clean and simple design and creative and nice use of photos.”

Graphic designers Matt Minde and Vanessa Query contributed to the submitted papers’ design, with Minde customarily designing the paper’s front page.

The News also won first in advertising design, with “Nice layout, obvious hierarchy, clean and simple” designs, according to the judges.

In in-depth reporting, the News received second place for its series “Recession in the Village.” The judges stated that the “thoughtful series gathered data and did the analysis, but also offered the personal stories of the impact of the recession. A sobering project, well done.”

Contributors to the series were News Associate Editor Lauren Heaton, Reporter Brooke Bryan and Editor Diane Chiddister.

The News also received second place in feature writing, with submissions by Heaton and former reporter Susan Gartner. The judges singled out a Christmas 2008 story by Gartner called “Tidings of Joy, Babe Born in a Stable Van.” The story, both “funny and suspenseful,” is a “delight,” the judges wrote, and is “ultimately a story about the bonds of friendship, entertainingly told through the unexpected events of one December night.”

In the editorial writing category, the News competed against all 61 weekly papers. The paper won fourth place, with editorials that “showed the unique spirit of Yellow Springs,” judges wrote. “The lively prose made them easy to read and the content made them worth reading.” The submissions were written by Chiddister.

The News won fifth place in headline writing, a category in which the paper also competed against all other weeklies. The News submissions were “engaging, clever and appropriate,” according to the judges. News headlines are a collaborative effort, with Minde often taking the lead.

Other News staffers who contributed to the award-winning entries were Advertising Manager Bob Hasek; former Office Manager Dee Sorrell; Classified/Display Advertising Associate Kathryn Hitchcock; former Classified Associate Donna Riley; Proofreaders Amy Achor, Kitty Jensen and Suzanne Patterson; Circulation Associate Shane Creepingbear; Business Manager Doug Hinkley; and Bookkeeper Peg Champney. The News is co-owned by Chiddister and Hasek.

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