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.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Front.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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