Record wins 30 statewide awards
The Kansas City Chiefs weren’t the only area team to capture top honors this week.
The team that produces this newspaper learned Tuesday that it won a near-record 30 statewide awards — three more than last year — in Kansas Press Association’s 2020 statewide competition for midsize non-dailies.
Included were nine first-place awards for news:
- best overall news story
- best series of stories
- best government and political story
- best education story
- best story about senior citizens
- best column writing
- best headline writing
- best news story originating from a public notice, and
- best feature package.
Three additional first-place awards honored advertising designs for hardware, automotive, and health care clients.
Out-of-state award-winners who judged the contest also honored the newspaper with 10 second-place awards.
Included were awards for investigative reporting, column writing (again), infographics, design and layout, and front-page content and design.
Advertising awards included second-place honors for furniture, automotive (again), community event, and promotional ads along with a special award for the newspaper’s Explore section.
Third-place awards were for investigative reporting (again), editorial writing, religion reporting, agricultural reporting, headline writing (again), story-and-photo combination, breaking news coverage, and advertising campaigns.
Although all the awards specifically honor the Marion County Record, many of the award-winning entries also appeared in the Hillsboro Star-Journal and Peabody Gazette-Bulletin, which the Record also publishes.
Reporter Alex Simone won first place for his news story about a resident whose house was intentionally deluged without warning.
He also participated in one of the two awards for headline writing; won third place for investigating reporting, about dog complaints altering mail delivery; and shared a third-place award for his part in a story-and-photo package about county wind energy powering the State Fair.
Feature writer Rowena Plett won two first-place awards, for coverage of an award-winning Marion teacher and of a devoted senior couple, in addition to sharing in one of the headline awards and winning third place for her coverage of the global reach of You Tube videos of a county farmer playing music to his cattle.
Veteran reporter Phyllis Zorn won first place for government and political coverage for one of her many stories about County Commissioner Dianne Novak’s role in controversy over wind farm proposals in the county.
News editor Mindy Kepfield won second place for investigative reporting about lack of warning before flooding downstream from Marion Reservoir and third place for her photos in the State Fair wind energy package and for her role in spot-news coverage of rising floodwaters.
Sales manager Debbie Steele and now-retired production director Melvin Honeyfield were honored with first-place awards for their ads for Marion County Hardware, Hillsboro Ford, and Parkside Homes; second-place awards for their ads for Midway Motors and Baker Furniture; and a third-place award for a series of ads for Spur Ridge Vet Hospital.
Publisher Eric Meyer won both first and second place in column writing and third place in editorial writing for his weekly contributions to the Record’s opinion page.
He also won first place for writing and researching a weekly series of Memories in Focus historical vignettes, photos for which are selected by Memories columnist Joan Meyer.
He won first place, among all dailies and weeklies in the state, for reporting on unpaid taxes. His graphic accompanying that story won second place.
He also wrote and designed the Record’s 2018 retrospective, which was honored with a first-place award; designed three issues and front pages honored for design excellence; and created award-winning ads for Marion’s summer street dance and a county fair newspaper promotion.
His coverage of the annual Kapaun pilgrimage to Pilsen also was honored, as was his participation in one of the two headline writing awards.
Competing against newspapers in much larger communities, including many that publish as many as four times weekly, the Record has won a total of 170 statewide awards since 2015 and three times has been named sweepstakes winner as the state’s best midsize non-daily for news and/or advertising.
Sweepstakes winners will be announced when awards formally are presented at a statewide convention in March.
The contest covered issues published between Oct. 1, 2018, and Sept. 30, 2019.