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.