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Banners Staff Earns Awards
December 17, 2008 - Banner staffers won several awards it the Hoosier State Press Association’s annual Better Newsroom Contest. Awards were presented at a December 7 banquet in the 500 Ballroom at the Indianapolis Convention Center.
Hundreds of entries from small and large newspapers across Indiana were judged by volunteers from the Virginia State Press Association. Of the six competition divisions, The Banner competes in the smallest, Division 1, for non-daily newspapers with less than 3,000 circulation. This is the fifth consecutive year The Banner has entered the contest.
The 2008 contest brought The Banner its first Internet-related award – a third place showing by Banner General Manager Stacy Cox for best website.
Jeff Eakins and Eric Cox won first place in the best community service category. The award was given for stories and editorials relating to The Banner’s oversight of the Charles A. Beard Memorial School Corporation. The newspaper has received the top community service award four out of the five years it entered the contest.
Judges complimented The Banner’s tenacity. “It’s easy for nondaily papers to rest comfortably with the monthly coverage of school board meetings,” a judge said, “and not worry about figuring out the many mysteries that go unexplained at such meetings hidden behind consent agendas and complicated financial account reports. Sometimes we’re too trustworthy in the ‘good ol’ boy’ system, as proven by the corruption uncovered by The Banner’s undaunted commitment to open records, etc.”
Eakins also placed second in Best Ongoing News Coverage category for his coverage of CAB’s hidden records fiasco. “What a bizarre story,” the judges said of Eakins story regarding CAB records that were hidden from school board member Kevin Knott. “Good for you – and the board member – for sticking to your guns. Your coverage was very thorough and balanced, and the writing good. Hope your readers demand to know what this is all about.”
Cox took first place in both the Best General Columnist and Best Editorial Writing categories. He also took first and second place in the Best Feature Photo category, first place and second place in the Best Picture Story category and first place in Best Multiple Picture. Cox’s photos placed second in the Best General News and Best Sports Feature Photo categories, as well as third place in the Best Sorts Action Photo category.
Additionally, his photos of a Civil Reenactment at Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park north of Knightstown earned finalist honors for Photo of the Year. The 2008 Photo of the Year award went to Matt Detrich of the Indianapolis Star.
The Banner also placed second in the General Excellence contest, which represents an accumulation of points derived from each newspaper’s total awards. The Banner placed first in General Excellence in 2006 and 2007.
“We try hard,” Cox said. “We strive to please our readers by always trying to go above and beyond the call of duty.”
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