Observer wins 'Newspaper of the Year' honors 2013.10.09

For the sixth year in a row, the State Line Observer won top honors in its class in the Michigan Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest.

The Observer won four first-place awards, three second-place awards and a pair of third-places honors, in addition to two honorable mentions.

“It’s one of the honorable mention awards that I like the best,” said editor David Green.

A feature story about a moth collector visiting Riverside Park didn’t earn any award in the regular Class D competition, but Green also entered it in the new Herbert Spencer division that pits all daily and weekly papers regardless of size. Writers from the Flint Journal and Grand Rapids Press took the top awards in feature writing.

The judge for this contest wrote, “When you start making scientific names seem interesting, you know you’ve got a masterful, dexterous writer.”

Green won first place for editorial writing and colleague Rich Foley took first for sports column writing.

Green’s photograph from Morenci’s youth wrestling program took  first place in the feature photo contest from among 37 entries.

“This paper understands what feature photography is about,” the judge wrote.

His story about Taylor Baugh winning her first state power-lift ing title was judged the best in sports writing among 15 entries.

“Amazing accomplishment by the subject, but an even better job by the author,” the judge wrote. “This relatively unknown subject was covered well. Excellent.”

The Observer took second place for sports coverage, second place for a feature photo of Fayette’s Jump Rope for Heart program, and second place for a sports photo of the festival rodeo.

A feature story about cursive handwriting won third place among 53 entries. Th e Observer also took third place for its editorial page.

Honorable mention was given to a sports feature story about beaver trapping.

Other papers winning Newspaper of the Year were the daily papers the Flint Journal, the Lansing State Journal, the Kalamazoo Gazette and the Grand Haven Tribune and the weeklies the Southgate New-Herald, the Fenton Tri-County Times and the Gaylord Herald Times.