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.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.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in 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.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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