Observer wins top award in newpaper contest 10.07

Written by David Green.

The State Line Observer won the General Excellence award in the 2009 Michigan Press Association Better Newspaper Contest. Total points earned in the contest gave the Observer Newspaper of the Year honors in its circulation class.

This year’s entries were judged by journalists in Iowa.

The General Excellence judge wrote, “Beautiful newspaper, hands-down the winner. Photo pages are superb, the sports pages are the easiest to read. Hope your readers appreciate your staff’s efforts.”

The Observer also won first-place awards for editorial page (“excellent staff columnists”), for David Green’s news photo of a field fire (“head and shoulders above the rest,”) his sports photo of a football catch, and his feature story called “Tracking down the Google car.”

“This was such a fun feature story to read. I loved how you brought the reader along in your search,” the judge wrote about the Google car visit. “This story was unique among the 37 entries and the one I kept coming back to as the front runner.”

Second-place awards were given for Green’s feature story about the library’s antiques evaluation program (“The lead hooked me and took me through a lively story. It’s a great piece of storytelling,”) for Rich Foley’s NASCAR Notes sports columns and for the paper’s lifestyle pages.

Third place awards were given for newspaper design, for Green’s reporting on the Palm Plastics expansion project, for a rodeo photo by Dale Bates, and Green’s sports feature about bowler Doris Powell.

The Observer also received honorable mention for editorial writing, for Bates’s photo of a field fire, for Green’s photo pages on Fayette’s Civil War encampment and for the Observer’s website.

All websites were combined for weeklies and dailies and divided into three circulation classes.

The Observer will receive a plaque for Newspaper of the Year at the press association’s annual convention in January.

  • Front.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.

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