Courier-Tribune wins 13 state journalism awards

In the 2021 Missouri Press Association Better Newspaper contest, the Courier-Tribune won 14 awards in 13 categories including best advertising idea, general excellence, feature story, news series, photo illustration, sports pages, sports news story or package, news or feature special section, coverage of government, coverage of rural life or agriculture, page design, health story and best COVID-19 coverage. Managing Editor Amanda Lubinski, Publisher Sandy Nelson and Southeast Editor Kellie Houx accepted the awards on the staff's behalf.

One of the great traditions for community journalists like those on the Courier-Tribune staff is the annual Missouri Press Association convention. The convention culminates with winners of the annual Better Newspaper Contest announced during a luncheon celebration.

As in years past, the Courier-Tribune staff was humbled to receive recognition from our professional peers in a slew of categories, most notably for best coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic among weekly newspapers in our circulation class.

This award was especially appreciated as multiple issues of the paper’s coverage were judged throughout the year and Northland communities as well as their local news sources certainly were not alone in their struggle during the year that was 2020.

It’s encouraging to have the endorsement of our peers in print journalism. The judges, professional journalists from other states, said the CT’s pandemic reporting was “great in-depth, local coverage with state angles, too. Great service to readers.”

CT advertising staff took home first place for a presentation on the annual Best of the Northland readership contest for best advertising idea and the entire Courier-Tribune team took first place for best feature or news special section for the annual Living in Clay County magazine.

This award was a joy to win as every member of the CT staff, from advertising sales to reporters to graphic designers had a hand in its creation. Staffers worked diligently in 2020 to redesign the magazine to give locals and visitors alike a fresh perspective on the wealth of unique amenities that make Clay County a top-notch place to live, work and play.

CT news staff also took honorable mention in the general excellence category and first place in best page design and best sports pages, with judges noting our creativity in layout and use of editorial elements.

“Great picture, great color blocking, great font choices. If it is team colors, even better. If it looked good in print, even better. Great job design team,” wrote the judges.

Individual awards also went to Managing Editor Amanda Lubinski, Southeast Editor Kellie Houx and former sports writer Mac Moore.

Lubinski took the top spot for best news series about a quarry development in Kearney. Judges said the series was “thorough and fair to both sides. Not being familiar with state law or local ordinances, they were provided sufficient depth to allow average folks to understand.”

Lubinski also took third place for best feature story for reporting on how an abuse survivor worked to heal herself and honorable mention for coverage of government for a series on faulty election results and race impact for western county commissioner during the 2020 primary.

“Very complete story; uses many quotes to let the subjects tell their story,” wrote judges of Lubinski’s election coverage.

Houx took second place for best health story about a child’s need for a kidney transplant and third place for best coverage of rural life or agriculture for a story on a local veterinarian who purchased reindeer.

“Loved the reindeer feature story, which included the information about buying and keeping non-traditional livestock,” noted judges.

Moore placed first and third in the photo illustration category for art created on a Liberty North football player and work done as part of a sports year in review for 2020, respectively. Moore also placed third in best sports news story or package for coverage of the Liberty North girls volleyball team’s state championship run.

“Great series of illustrations that capture the emotion and heat of the moment,” wrote judges of Moore’s illustrations. “Great series of sports photos that show quality photography skills.”

Congratulations one and all, and thank you for keeping community journalism alive in the Northland.

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