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‘News’ wins top state prize

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The Yellow Springs News won the top prize in its division at last week’s annual Ohio Newspaper Association convention in Columbus.

The News was named the winner of the “General Excellence” award for Division D at the convention’s annual Osman C. Hooper contest for the state’s weekly newspapers. Sixty-one weekly papers competed, divided into four divisions based on circulation size. Division D, for the smallest papers, is made up of 16 papers, with a circulation of 1,098 to 2,885. The News circulation is about 1,800.

The General Excellence award goes to the paper that receives the highest number of points in its division based on the awards it receives in the contest. The News received awards in eight out of the 12 categories, including feature writing, in-depth reporting, editorials, column writing, special editions, news coverage, photography and advertising. It also received first place for its Web site,, in a divison for all independent weekly papers.

The News also won the General Excellence award in 2008, 2006 and before that, in 1985.

Judging the competition were journalism professors from Ohio University, Ohio State, Kent State and Bowling Green; this year’s contest covered the period between August 1, 2009 and August 1, 2010.

The judges deemed “Curating Legacy of American Writer,” by News Associate Editor Lauren Heaton, the first place feature entry, stating that the story, which focused on villager Arnold Adoff’s work to curate the work of his late wife, author Virginia Hamilton, “establishes the historical significance and legacy of Hamilton” in a way that “had an unusually wide range and depth.”

Jimmy Chesire’s column on the local T-ball league won first place in column writing. According to the judges, the column was “well-written, clever and full of delightful ‘kid logic.’”

The News also won first place for its 2009 “Guide to Yellow Springs” in the special edition category. That guide, which focused on young village families and artists who had moved to Yellow Springs partly due to its arts scene, “does just what it is supposed to do, with a touch of class,” the judges wrote.

The Guide profiles were written by former News reporter Brooke Bryan and free-lancers Stephanie Beasley, Rick Zerkel and Hallie Cranos, with photos by Aaron Zaremsky and Beasley. The Guide was desinged by Matt Minde.

The News’ first-place in advertising was for a series of ads created by Minde. According to the judges, “there are nice concepts behind each of these ads, with visuals and copy working well together.”

Winning second place in the in-depth reporting category was “African Americans in Yellow Springs,” a series of articles that examined the history of racial diversity in the village, and its decline in recent years. The series was “the best in-depth reporting feature in this category,” the judges wrote, stating that the series is “a must-read for anyone living in the area. This series should be reprinted and shared as the city makes plans for the next century.”

While in most categories, the papers compete against others of their size, in the editorial category, the papers competed against all 61 weeklies for five awards. The News won second place for the editorial “Be Proactive on Diversity,” in which Editor Diane Chiddister urged the village to take steps to turn around its decline of racial diversity.

In the photography category, the News won third place for “Jumping for Joy,” a photo of YS Kids Playhouse actors by reporter Megan Bachman. The judges complimented the “great energy” and the “charm” of the photo.

The News also won third place in the news coverage category. Judges wrote, “Outstanding coverage of the rebirth of Antioch College, clearly the story of the year for its readers.”

Other News staff members who contributed to the award are Advertising Director Bob Hasek; Circulation Manager Kathryn Hitchcock; Village Desk Editor Lauren Shows; former Office Manager Dee Sorrell; proofreaders Kitty Jensen, Amy Achor and Suzanne Patterson; and former graphic designer Vanessa Query.

The News is co-owned by Chiddister, Hasek and Minde.


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