SIOUX CITY -- The Sioux City Journal captured first place for general excellence in the 2018 National Newspaper Association Better Newspaper Contest. The award was presented Sept. 30 at the NNA's annual convention in Norfolk, Virginia.
It’s the third time in four years the Journal has taken the top honor in the daily division for the 2,200-member association, which represents community newspapers.
“It’s gratifying to receive this kind of recognition for doing the kind of local journalism that has always been a hallmark of our newspaper,” Journal editor Bruce Miller said. “In these trying times for journalists, it’s great to know others appreciate the hard work that goes into keeping readers well-informed about the events and people around them.”
The general excellence category recognizes 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.
The Journal previously won the NNA general excellence award in 2016, 2015, 2013 and 2010, and placed second in 2014 and 2017.
In the NNA's 2018 Better Newspaper contest, the Journal also captured a record 20 individual news awards, including 10 first-place awards. The Journal also placed first in the Partnerships category for its Kids Talk News program.
The Journal’s awards in the NNA's Better Newspaper Contest are listed below.
Best Editorial: Mike Gors for an editorial on the Sioux City school district's investigation into claims made by a former chief financial officer.
Best Feature Photo: Justin Wan for a photo of a Sioux City child diving into a pile of snow.
Best Sports Photo: Jim Lee for a photo of a South Dakota pole vaulter.
Best Review: Bruce Miller for his review of "Baby Driver."
Best Lifestyles Section: Siouxland Life
Best Performing Arts Story: Bruce Miller for his story on "The Orville."
Best Business Story: Bret Hayworth, Ian Richardson and Ty Rushing for three-day series on what the new Seaboard Triumph Foods plant would mean for the local workforce, housing and public schools.
Best Education/Literacy Story: Dolly Butz for story exploring the Sioux City district's specialty schools.
Best Feature Story: Dolly Butz for story on methamphetamine addiction.
Best Sports Section
Best Sports Column: Tim Gallagher for a column on a Le Mars Gehlan baseball coach battling the loss of his eyesight.
Best Humorous Column: Bruce Miller for his "Parting Shots" columns.
Best Breaking News Story: Nick Hytrek for a story on Beef Products Inc. and ABC News settling BPI's defamation suit against the network.
Best Business Feature: Mason Dockter for his story on how road construction impacted West Seventh Street businesses.
Best Environmental Story: Ian Richardson for a story on Big Ox Energy's environmental troubles in South Sioux City.
Best Feature Series for a series that featured 20 Siouxland women who served in the military.
Best Sports Story: Tim Gallagher for his story on the growth of non-teachers coaching Siouxland high school athletic teams.
Best Serious column: Tim Gallagher for a Mother’s Day column on a Le Mars couple whose son died in a traffic accident.
Best Breaking News photo: Tim Hynds for a winter weather photo.
Community newspaper editors and publishers, retired university journalism professors and retired or former newspaper professionals judged the contest. Overall, there were 1,405 entries in the NNA's Better Newspaper Editorial Contest and 202 entries in the Better Newspaper Advertising Contest for a total of 1,607 entries. A total of 115 newspapers in 38 states won a total of 478 awards.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly described the Jim Lee photo that won first place in the Best Sports Photo category.