The Methow Valley News won the first-place award for general excellence among statewide newspapers of its size at the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association (WNPA) annual convention last weekend in Chelan.
Awards are presented in four circulation categories. The News is in category II (circulation of 2,500 to 5,000). Entrants in the general excellence category were judged based on two consecutive issues published in February 2014.
The News also won 19 other awards for advertising, writing and photography.
Most of the judging this year was done by members of the Arizona Newspaper Association and Pamplin Media Group in Oregon. Unless otherwise indicated, the awards were for category II newspapers.
• First place, use of process color in an advertisement smaller than one-half page: advertising designer Dana Sphar and former advertising manager Robin Doggett, for an ad created for Carlos 1800 Mexican Grill and Cantina.
• First place, groups I and II combined, lifestyle/culture special sections: News staff, for Methow Home 2014.
• First place, best news story/short form: Reporter Ann McCreary, for a story about cleaning up after mudslides.
• First place, best health or medical story, groups I and II combined: Reporter Marcy Stamper, for a story about genetically engineered foods.
• Second place, best environmental story: McCreary, for a story about electric cars.
• Third place, best environmental story: McCreary, for a story about managing cougars.
• Second place, best business news story: Stamper, for a story about credit card fees.
• Second place, best business feature story: McCreary, for a story about the mushroom harvest.
• Third place, best business feature story: Reporter Mike Maltais, for a story about Antler’s Saloon.
• First place, best education story: Stamper, for a story about the “kids in medicine” program.
• First place, best comprehensive coverage: McCreary, for a series of stories about cougars in the valley.
• First place, best story on the arts: Stamper, for a story about a collection of old pianos.
• Second place, best sports page design: Designer Darla Hussey, for an issue in February 2014.
• First place, best editorial: Publisher/Editor Don Nelson, for an editorial about the local impacts of 2013’s federal government shutdown.
• Third place, best editorial: Nelson, for an editorial about passage of an ATV ordinance in Okanogan County.
• Second place, best general interest column: Nelson, for his column “No Bad Days.”
• First place, best color pictorial photo: Proofreader/reporter Laurelle Walsh, for a photo of the Ride to Rendezvous.
• Second place, best color pictorial photo: Nelson, for a photo of jet contrails crossing over Patterson Lake.
• Second place, best color photo essay: Walsh, for photos of a dance performance.
The judges in the general excellence category said this about the News:
“What a refreshing, neat community news, commentary and advertising newspaper. Everything about this entry is just grand. Serving a small and winter-isolated valley can’t be easy, nor should it be for any community newspaper anywhere, but the Methow Valley News provides in-depth, well-crafted stories in the literal sense that residents under its wings should not miss.
“Strong, reasoned editorial and its news coverage seem to attract letters focused on the issues. Typography and layout are fresh, neat, with headlines carefully crafted to fit the story lines. A product all community newspapers could emulate.
“Strong community advertising, good classifieds and legals, and this paper continues to invite neighborhood correspondents to contribute. An inclusive publication in every respect.”
The News also won 20 awards last year.
Nelson was elected second-vice president of WNPA for the coming year. He has been on the WNPA board of directors for about two years.
WNPA is a newspaper trade organization which represents about 130 community newspapers in Washington state.