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DES MOINES | The Journal's "Homeless in Siouxland" series captured top honors in two statewide newspaper contests Friday.

The five-day series, which ran June 24-27, won first place in both the Iowa Associated Press Managing Editors contest in the Interpretive Story or Series category, and the Iowa Newspaper Association contest in the Best Series category.

Competing against the state's largest daily newspapers, including the Des Moines Register, the Journal took home a combined 19 awards in the two contests, including 8 first-place honors.

"Homeless in Siouxland" drew on the talents of the entire newsroom staff. The reporting, done over a series of months, shed light on one of the most vulnerable populations -- the hundreds of men, women and children who search for a place to sleep every night. The coverage resulted in local leaders taking action to find a solution to the problem.

A slideshow that portrayed the typical day in the life of a Sioux City homeless man won first place in the INA's Best Slideshow category. The slideshow was shot and edited by Journal photographer Justin Wan and narrated by former Journal reporter Ian Richardson.

Journal staff writer Dolly Butz was a double winner Friday, taking first place in Iowa APME's Lifestyle Features category and in the INA's Best Personality Feature category.

In the INA contest, Butz was honored for her gripping account of a Sioux City woman's methamphetamine addiction and her road to recovery. In the APME contest, Butz was recognized for her story on the growing number of Northwest Iowa women forced to travel long distances to deliver their babies due to some rural hospitals closing their OB units.

Journal staff writer Nick Hytrek won first place in the APME's Business News category for his story that examined how grain elevators have improved their safety measures but how some risks remain.

Hytrek's story was published in the wake of a deadly grain elevator explosion in South Sioux City. The Journal's coverage of the explosion won third place in the APME's spot news reporting category. Journal reporters Mason Dockter, Bret Hayworth, Hytrek and Richardson contributed to the breaking coverage.

Hytrek also won second place in the APME's Continuing News Coverage category for a series of stories on the commissioning of the USS Sioux City. Hytrek and Journal visuals editor Tim Hynds traveled to Annapolis, Maryland for the commissioning ceremony on Nov. 17.

The Journal also won second place in three INA categories: Best Front Page, Best Coverage of Business and Best Features page. The latter was for Siouxland Life, a quarterly magazine.

In the INA contest, the Journal also earned third place for Total Newspaper Design, Best Sports Section, Best Coverage of Government and Politics, Best Coverage of Court and Crime and Community Leadership. The latter award was for The Journal's series, "Serving Her Country," which profiled a number of Siouxland women who are military veterans.

In the advertising portion of the INA competition, the Journal won two first place awards -- Best Ad Idea for a Community Promotion or Event and Best Web Advertisement. The Journal also won a third place for Best Web Advertisement, taking two of the three spots in the category.

Winners of this year's INA and Iowa APME newspaper contests were announced during the INA's annual convention in Des Moines. 

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