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Journal second in National Newspaper Association contest
 DDreeszen  / 

TULSA, Okla. | The Sioux City Journal finished as runner-up in the general excellence category in the 2017 National Newspaper Association Better Newspaper Contest. The award was presented Saturday at the NNA's annual convention in Tulsa.

Antelope Valley News in Palmdale, California, placed first in the category, which is the top honor for daily publications given by the 2,200-member group, which represents community newspapers.

The general excellence category recognizes member newspapers that achieve excellence in the quality of writing, headline language, design and typography, use of photos and artwork, front page, editorial page, sports pages, family life/living pages, advertising design and layout, handling of classified and/or reader ads and taste, and treatment of public notices.

Judges wrote of the Journal: "Good focus on local with elections, crime and sports. Good features as well. Excellent sports photos.”

The Journal previously won the NNA general excellence award in 2016, 2015, 2013 and 2010, and placed second in 2014.

In the 2017 contest, the Journal also captured 14 individual news awards, including four first-place awards.

Additionally, the Journal placed first in the NNA’s Newspaper and Education contest in the Partnerships category for its Kid Scoop News program. Kid Scoop, a monthly tabloid newspaper designed by and for Siouxland students, showcases students’ writing and artwork and features games, puzzles and brain teasers.

The Northwest AEA helps the Journal fund classroom subscriptions and distribute the magazines to participating schools, and a number of other local businesses and organizations are sponsors of the program.

NNA judges wrote: "Great combination of a successful Kid Scoop program and the school. Well thought out goals helped make this successful. Integrating the work of the students within the Kid Scoop product gives it local flavor and encourages them to be print readers. The project, in effect, makes them reporters and encourages self-esteem, as well. Great job!”

Overall, there were 1,433 entries in the NNA’s Better Newspaper Editorial Contest and 221 entries in the Better Newspaper Advertising Contest for a total of 1,654 entries. A total of 475 awards were won by 117 member newspapers in 33 states.

The Journal’s news awards are listed below.


Best Sports section

Best Sports column, Tim Gallagher for his effort in detailing a collision on the baseball diamond in Onawa, Iowa, that ultimately sent two West Monona Spartans to the hospital.

Best Business Feature, Dave Dreeszen for a story on CF Industries nearing completion of its $2 billion expansion at Port Neal.

Best Education/Literacy story, Alex Boisjolie for an investigation into how some registered sex offenders are legally allowed to live close to schools or day care centers.


Best Lifestyles Pages for an issue of Siouxland Life.

Best Special Section for the Journal’s annual preview of the high school and college football season.

Best Environmental Story, Ian Richardson for a series of reports on lingering sewer odors, traced to Big Ox Energy's renewable fuels plant, that forced dozens of residents to evacuate their homes.

Best Investigative/In-Depth Story for Dolly Butz’s story on Siouxland veterans' difficulties in receiving medical treatment from the Veterans Administration.


Best Sports Column, Jeff Budlong for a column on an example of sportsmanship by a Siouxland high school athlete.

Best Editorial, Mike Gors for an editorial on the Journal's decision to not endorse either of the major party candidates for president in the 2016 election.

Best Feature Photo, Jim Lee for a photo of a ping pong match at Camp High Hopes.

Best Feature Series, Journal staff for profiles on 20 Siouxland Korean War veterans in 20 days.


Best Humorous Column: Bruce Miller for a series of Parting Shot columns.

Best Review: Bruce Miller for his review of a Jake Owen concert.

Woman who died in Tuesday crash with school bus identified
 Ian Richardson  / 

CORRECTIONVILLE, Iowa | The Woodbury County Sheriff's Office has identified the woman who died after her vehicle was struck by a school bus Tuesday afternoon as 68-year-old Linda Zahnley, of Correctionville. 

Zahnley died of her injuries after her sport utility vehicle was rear-ended by a pickup truck in the southbound lane of State Highway 31 and pushed into the path of an oncoming River Valley school bus, which struck the SUV as it entered the northbound lane of traffic, according to a press release.

The incident occurred near the intersection of Highway 31 and O'Brien Avenue shortly before 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The release said Zahnley was stopped and waiting to turn east onto O'Brien Avenue when she was struck by the southbound pickup, driven by 54-year-old Clifton Cockburn, of Correctionville. 

The bus, which did not have any children on board, was driven northbound by 57-year-old Renee Lundt, also of Correctionville. 

Lundt was transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. 

The Iowa State Patrol is conducting the technical investigation into the crash. 


Justin Wan, Sioux City Journal