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.tug
    MORENCI pep rallies generally end with a tug of war. The senior class entry, shown above, did not advance to the finals. Griffin Grieder, Alaina Webster, Kyle Long and Jazmin Smith are shown at the front of the rope, giving it their best effort.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Athletic Fields
    SPORTS COMPLEX—Fayette’s outdoor athletic facilities will include three ball fields for summer recreation leagues at the southwest corner of the school. The baseball and softball fields, along with the running track, will be constructed on the east side of the school. Outdoor athletic fields were not part of the new school project from 2007, but voters approved a $1.4 million levy for a school addition and the sports fields last August. Both projects are scheduled to be complete by July 20.
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.band
    TROMBONISTS Jake Myers (left) and Max Baker perform Friday at the annual Senior Citizens Luncheon at Fayette High School. The National Honor Society and the FFA chapter teamed up to serve a meal to area seniors and to provide musical entertainment. Both the school band and choir performed. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • 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.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.

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