contest winners

Inland 2017 Newsroom and News Photo Contests highlight Inland member excellence

Best work of Inland member newspapers recognized in photography, news writing, front page design, opinion, digital journalism and community leadership


The winners and runners-up of Inland's 2017 Newsroom and News Photo Contests were announced during the joint Annual Meeting in Colorado Springs Sept. 12..

The contests recognized the best work of Inland member newspapers in photography, newswriting, front-page design, opinion, digital journalism and community leadership. Each of the contests was co-sponsored and judged by a university school of journalism.

Here are the results of the 2017 Inland Newsroom and News Photo Contests::

Community Leadership Award

Sponsored and judged by the Missouri School of Journalism at Missouri University

The Inland Press Association Community Leadership Award was created to encourage newspapers to use their resources of news coverage, editorial support and staff involvement to make their communities better places in which to live and work.

(All circulations categories combined)

1st: Tulsa World, Veteran's Center Investigation,

Entry Credits: Andrea Eger/Curtis Killman

Vigorous and passionate reporting by Tulsa World journalists discovered that area veterans were being mistreated in Oklahoma's veteran care system in outrageous and callous ways. Mysterious deaths, maggots on patients and other examples of gross abuse and wrongdoing were uncovered through open record requests and lots of shoe leather work. The result was public outrage and a state investigation that is continuing. This kind of story would have gone uncovered without the journalism teeth of the Tulsa World. The World's work is an important service to veterans and their families. More importantly, the World's reporting shows the value and importance of journalism to every citizen in Oklahoma.

2nd: The Meridian (Miss.) Star

Courthouse conundrum, Entry credits: Staff

Without agenda setting reporting by The Meridian Star, the community's courthouse might still be stuck in a time warp. The newspaper's staff tackled a problem that everyone knew about, but few were willing to put on the front burner: A decaying building that made workers sick and was literally collapsing every day. The Star's excellent work put the courthouse at the top of the community's agenda and the future for this important institution is on track for the first time in decades. A great example of the power of journalism to make a community a better place to live.

Bronze: The Villages (Fla.) Daily Sun, Redefining Justice

Entry Credits: Katie Sartoris, Curt Hills, Amy Johstono, Adam Rogers

The Villages Daily Sun was the winner of this category last year for its dynamic reporting on the state's death penalty. The reporting has continued with new revelations about a system that is uneven, unjust and unfair. It's often hard to sway public opinion on the fate of criminals, but the Daily Sun's staff's reporting is changing minds. And if Florida can relook at the situation, perhaps other states, such as Louisiana, might follow. Awards aren't often given to follow-ups, but this is one of the most important contributions of a community news organization. Without follow-up, there is often no positive change.

Digital Journalism

Digital Journalism-General Excellence A

(Circulation under 50,000)

Winner: The Santa Fe New Mexican

Judge's comments: The Santa Fe New Mexican provides its readers with the advantages of old-fashioned shoe-leather journalism with the bells and whistles of the digital age. The paper has a comprehensive, well-thought-out approach to its app, serving rural areas where circulation may be limited because of prohibitively high cost for home delivery. The New Mexican covers breaking news and offers service reporting such as the digital review of the area's parks. There is a big-city feel to this small-town product.

Digital Journalism-General Excellence B

(Circulation over 50,000)

Winner: Daily Herald, Arlington Hts., Ill

Judge's Comments: The Daily Herald is a lively paper covering the Northwest suburbs of Chicago. The Daily Herald's solid print reporting translates well to, featuring online photo galleries plus videos serving the suburban readership.

Best Online Innovation

(All circulation sizes)

1st: The Roanoke (Va.) Times, "Ten years after Virginia Tech shootings,"
Judge's comment: In-depth. Engaging. Moving. The combination of varied multimedia and narratives gives the reader a broad understanding of the impact of the event of that day.

2nd: The News-Gazette, Ft. Wayne, Ind., "High School Confidential,"

3rd: The Santa Fe New Mexican, "New Mexico's capital city,"

Creative Use of Multimedia

(All circulation sizes)

1st: Santa Fe New Mexican, "Getting a 360-degre view on a local problem,"

2nd: Gaylord (Mich.) Herald Times, "Lake Michigan drowning,"

3rd: Daily Herald, Arlington Hts., Ill., "War, Faith & Fun in a 70-year Marriage,"

Honorable Mention: The News-Gazette, Ft. Wayne, Ind., "Games of the Week,"

Front Page

Sponsored and judged by the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University

(Circulation Under 10,000)

1st: Buffalo (Wyo.) Bulletin
Judge's Comments: Consistently good mix of five to six interesting hard and soft local stories, with clean and clear traditional packaging and design and a good mix of visuals. 

2nd: Petoskey (Mich.) News-Review
Judge's Comments:
Close call with the first-place selection, also with a nice mix of hard and soft local stories and local faces. 

(Circulation 10,000 to 49,999)
1st: The Villages (Fla.) Daily Sun
Judge's Comments:
Best of the bunch. Putting it over the top was a highly visual but info-packed hurricane preparation full front; a compelling and effective mix of stats, text and visuals on a cancer package; and a visually powerful Pearl Harbor info and promo package.

2nd: Santa Fe New Mexican
Judge's Comments:
Consistently colorful. Bold. Clean. Some nice flourishes. Most pages have an edge to them; nice variety/mix of smaller promos to softer stories.

3rd: Dubuque (Iowa) Telegraph Herald
Judge's Comments:
Good story mix. Fairly traditional design, but willing to buck that when necessary as with its Pearl Harbor package. Very effective front package on a local manufacturer deciding to stay put. One nit: The judge must note that one element that was very confusing/intrusive was the promo photo that overlaid and blocked the center of the nameplate, sometimes completely overlapping its text.

(Combined Circulation Groups 50,000 and above)

1st: Omaha World-Herald
Judge's Comments:
Hands down the boldest, most impactful visual approach on the front pages of any entrants in the two largest-sized circulation categories. The fronts seem to draw spiritually from digital platform tablet design, acting as portal to some fine journalism. Standouts were the strength of the Goodwill investigation and creative, interesting local angle on main Pearl Harbor package that dominated the entire page.

2nd: Daily Herald, Arlington Hts., Ill.
Judge's Comments:
Standout was the Cubs World Series front page, which a) was a great staff shot and b) a bold move to break what appears usually to be a fairly traditional Page One format daily. Entries included some good enterprise stories, interesting story selection and solid writing and visuals.

3rd: Tulsa World
Judge's Comments:
Some good enterprise reporting served up in a clean, crisp effective design. Particularly effective was the half-page introduction to a weeklong package about the brutal rapes and murders of three girl scouts in 1977. Oversized photos of their smiling faces dominate the introduction package. Powerful.

Editorial Excellence

Sponsored and judged by the William Allen White School of Journalism & Mass Communications, University of Kansas

(Circulation Under 10,000)

1st: Garden City (Kan.) Telegram
Judge's comment:
Well-written, timely editorials, connecting with the community on local, state and national topics

2nd: Wilson (N.C.) Times

3rd: Clinton (Iowa) Herald

(Circulation 10,000 to 49,999)

1st: Wyoming Tribune Eagle
Judge's comment:
The editorials consistently lay out the problem clearly, explain a bit of background or why there's a problem, and then propose a commonsense solution.

2nd: Schenectady (N.Y.) Daily Gazette

3rd: Santa Fe New Mexican

(Circulation 50,000 to 99,999)

1st: Tulsa World
Judge's comment:
The editorials incorporate the right amount of statistics and facts where needed; the writer explains them clearly and connects them directly to the topic.

2nd: The Roanoke Times

3rd: None selected

(Circulation 100,000 and above)

1st: Daily Herald, Arlington Hts., Ill.
Judge's comment:
The paper published a series of post-election editorials on the importance of a free press, demonstrating its necessity in a free society but also calling on readers to actively play their role

2nd: Omaha World-Herald (Aaron Sanderford editorials)

3rd: Omaha World-Herald (Geitner Simmons editorials)

Honorable Mention: Omaha World-Herald (Cate Folsom editorials)

Local News Writing

Sponsored and judged by the School of Journalism and Telecommunications at the University of Kentucky

Investigative Reporting

(Circulation Under 10,000)

1st: Carroll (Iowa) Times Herald,"Deputy mixes public work, private business," Reporter: Jared Strong

2nd: Havre (Mont.) Daily News,"Market Decline," Reporter: Pam Burke

3rd: Carroll (Iowa) Times HeralD,"Carroll cop who courted teenage girls resigns," Reporter: Jared Strong

(Circulation 10,000 to 49,999)

1st: Reading (Pa.) Eagle,"Failing care," Reporters: Nicole C. Brambila, Matthew Nojiri

2nd: Santa Fe New Mexican,"A more favorable environment," Reporters: Justin Horwath, Rebecca Moss

3rd: Reading (Pa.) Eagle,"Coming clean," Reporter: Nicole C. Brambila

(Circulation 50,000 to 99,999)

1st: Tulsa World,"Veterans center investigation" Reporters: Andrea Eger, Curtis Killman

2nd: Tulsa World,"Injection analysis," Reporters: Corey Jones, Curtis Killman

3rd: Tulsa World,"Is race a factor in arrests?," Reporters: Corey Jones, Curtis Killman

(Circulation over 100,000)

1st: Omaha World-Herald,"Goodwill," Reporters: Henry Cordes, Matthew Hansen

2nd: Omaha World-Herald,"State Patrol," Reporters: Paul Hammel, Emily Nohr, Joe Duggan, Henry Cordes

3rd: Daily Herald, Arlington Hts., Ill,"Tax Watchdog," Reporter: Jake Griffin

Personality Profile

(Circulation under 10,000)

1st: Carroll (Iowa) Times Herald,"The light in her eyes," Reporter: Jared Strong

2nd: Carroll (Iowa) Times Herald,"Vietnamese roots lead Carroll native," Reporter: Rebecca McKinsey

3rd: Carroll (Iowa) Times Herald,"A king among boys," Reporter: Rebecca McKinsey

(Circulation 10,000 to 49,999)

1st: Joplin (Mo.) Globe,"Lost time: 20-year-old odyssey ends with release from mental hospital, dropped charges," Reporter: Koby Levin

2nd: Reading (Pa.) Eagle,"Finding strength in forgiveness," Reporter: Jim Lewis

3rd (Tie): The Journal Gazette, Ft. Wayne, Ind.,"Bringing neighbors home," Reporter: Steve Warden

3rd (Tie): Wyoming Tribune Eagle,"Cinderella tells all," Ellen Fike

(Circulation 50,000 to 99,999)

1st: Tulsa World,"Labor of love," Reporter: Jimmie Tramel

2nd: Tulsa World,"Muddy water bonds," Reporter: Kelly Bostian

3rd: Tulsa World,"Living death," Reporters: Ginnie Graham, Curtis Killmany

(Circulation over 100,000)

1st: Omaha World-Herald,"Two Gun Hart," Reporter: Matthew Hansen

2nd: Daily Herald, Arlington Hts., Ill.,"Richard III, truly powerful," Reporter: Barbara Vitello

3rd: Omaha World-Herald,"Serving openly as Ashleigh," Reporter: Steve Liewer

Explanatory Reporting

(Circulation under 10,000)

1st: Pella (Iowa) Chronicle,"Mental Health: Iowa's crisis," Reporters: Kyle Ocker, Nicole Presley, Ethan Goetz

2nd: Lahontan Valley News, Carson City, Nev.,"Where to put the water?" Reporters: Steve Ransom, Aly Lawson

3rd: Meridian (Miss.) Star, "Draining City Funds,"Staff

(Circulation 10,000 to 49,999)

1st: Herald Bulletin, Anderson Newspapers,"Picture of health," Reporter Devan Filchak and staff

2nd: The Villages (Fla.) Daily Sun,"Redefining justice," Reporters: Katie Sartoris, Curt Hills, Amy Johstono, Adam Rogers

3rd: Dubuque (Iowa) Telegraph Herald,"Flexsteel to stay," Reporters: Jeff Montgomery, Ben Jacobson

(Circulation 50,000 to 99,999)

1st: Tulsa World,"Girl Scout murders series," Reporter: Tim Stanley

2nd: Tulsa World,"Planning amid fear," Reporter: Bill Sherman

3rd: None selected

(Circulation over 100,000)

1st: Daily Herald, Arlington Hts., Ill.,"300 miles from Flint: Is your water safe?" Reporter: Jake Griffin

2nd: Omaha World-Herald,"Garcia trial," Reporter: Todd Cooper

3rd: Omaha World-Herald,"So much contact with those in crisis," Reporter: Erin Grace

News Photo Contest

Sponsored and judged by The Media School at Indiana University

Class A: Photography

News Picture­-Photography-News

1st: Dave Kettering, Dubuque (Iowa) Telegraph Herald,"Entrapped"
Judge's comments on 1st place:
Beautiful arrangement of firefighters around a window that prefect focus reveals a calm but obviously concerned face of a trapped woman being rescued. Weak caption detracts from a clean and powerful visual story.

2nd: Mike Simons, Tulsa World,"Police Academy graduation"

3rd: Ian Maule, Tulsa World,"Sitting in the remains"

Honorable Mention: Chad Thompson, Ft. Dodge (Iowa) Messenger,"Tazed and arrested"

News Picture-Photography-Feature

1st: Hans Madsen, Ft. Dodge (Iowa) Messenger,"Honor Flight Departs"
Judge's comments on 1st place:
Strong graphic elements like the stripes in the flag and in the shadows plus the backlight of the flag and the silhouette of the old soldier make for a dramatic telling of loyalty and brotherhood.

2nd: Daniel White, Daily Herald, Arlington Hts., Ill.,"Morning bugler"

3rd: Mike Simons, Tulsa World,"Foggy Walk"

Honorable Mention: John Cleary, Anderson Newspapers,"Connect4"

News Picture-Photography-Sports

1st: John Starks, Daily Herald, Arlington Hts., Ill.,"World Series victory leap"
Judge's comments on 1st place:
It was the sporting event of the year and this is the moment. Great expression, good clean background and nice graphic appeal are the result of the photographer knowing where to be when the moment occurred.

2nd: Nikki Kohl, Dubuque (Iowa) Telegraph Herald,"Winning celebration"

3rd: Britt Kudla, Ft. Dodge (Iowa) Messenger,"Softball"

Honorable Mention: Paul Valade, Daily Herald, Arlington Hts., Ill.,"Volleyball spike"

Honorable Mention: Bill Mitchell, The Villages (Fla.) Daily Sun,"Triathlon Sunrise"

News Picture-Photography-Portrait

1st: Jessie Wardarksi, Tulsa World,"Game operator, Shandrell Henderson"
Judge's comments on 1st place:
Great use of natural light and subdued color in a category dominated by overworked studio lighting.

2nd: Hans Madsen, Ft. Dodge (Iowa) Messenger,"Blanden butterflies"

3rd: Amy J. Correnti, The Villages (Fla.) Daily Sun,"D-Day portrait"

News Picture-Photography-Picture Story

1st: Jessie Wardarksi, Tulsa World,"Peggy Gaytan Cold Case"
Judge's comments on 1st place:
A couple strong images of the station and Peggy Gaytan's friend with a wreath, but the captions do not support the story well and the visual reporting is shallow.

No finalists selected

News Picture-Picture Use-News

1st: Adam Rogers, The Villages (Fla.) Daily Sun,"Trump"
Judge's comments on 1st place:
It's a dramatic photograph and the type overlaid on it create a story that is neither quite celebratory nor dishonoring, but is instead rather cautionary. Strangely appropriate.

2nd: Adam Rogers, The Villages (Fla.) Daily Sun,"State of emergency"

No other finalists

News Picture-Picture Use-Feature-Entertain

Adam Rogers, The Villages (Fla.) Daily Sun,"Duty and dignity"
Judge's comments on 1st place:
A strong lead image supported nicely in the regulated and regimented layout of process images below it makes for a good explanation of how the dead are honored in this ceremony that has taken place every 30 minutes since 1921.

2nd: John Clanton, Tulsa World,"Noodling family"

3rd: Chelsea Kleven, The Villages (Fla.) Daily Sun,"A special kind of photo album"

News Picture-Picture Use-Sports

1st: Adam Rogers, The Villages (Fla.) Daily Sun, "Memorial Day"
Judge's comments on 1st place:
A series of strong, low-angle shots of the aircraft in the sky is balanced by an unusually shaped image almost at eye level of fighter jets seemingly on the heads of the fans makes for a comprehensive view of the event.

2nd: John Clanton, Tulsa World,"Hale High School baseball program may be cut"

3rd: Ryan Gregg, The Villages (Fla.) Daily Sun,"Wildwood Middle High School champs"
Honorable Mention: Bill Bootz, The Villages (Fla.) Daily Sun,"Arnold Palmer"

News Picture-Picture Use-Multiple Pages

1st: Adam Rogers, The Villages (Fla.) Daily Sun,"Senior athletes"
Judge's comments on 1st place:
The special section has several nice stories about older people engaged in athletic activity. The topic receives relatively little coverage and this special goes a long way toward informing the public about how strong and dedicated seniors can be and are.

2nd: Adam Rogers, The Villages (Fla.) Daily Sun,"Memorial Day"

3rd: Ryan Gregg, Grace Stamper, Adam Rogers, The Villages (Fla.) Daily Sun,"Wildwood Middle High School champs"