Herald staff comes away with 8 awards at annual state contest

Published 10:37 am Friday, January 28, 2022

The Austin Daily Herald logged eight awards this year at the annual Minnesota Newspaper Association’s annual Better Newspaper Contest, held Thursday night in Brooklyn Park.

The awards were capped by a first place award for General Excellence in the 5,000 and under multi-day category.

“The quality of the coverage, a lively local opinion page, and a commitment to basics like candidate Q&As make this newspaper a true resource for local residents,” the judge commented. “We like to see this kind of commitment that makes the paper a true public service and a reflection of the community.”

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Behind that came four second place finishes in the categories of Advertising Excellence, Classified Advertising Section, Editorial Page as a Whole and Sports Reporting.

“Strong leads and good writing go well beyond the basics to connect with local athletes and fans,” the judge said regarding the sports section. “A well-balanced section.”

The Herald also collected three third place awards that included Use of Photography as a Whole and Special Section for the paper’s annual Progress edition.

“Great Progress edition,” the judge wrote. “The use of strong photography really made it stand out from other progress sections. Lots of great local stories too.”

Editor and photographer Eric Johnson claimed third place in the Portrait and Personality category for his portrait of Ellis Middle School student Ellis Middle School student Alex Arizpe, who entertained his fellow students each morning last April by playing his accordion before school.

“It’s incredibly gratifying to be recognized for these awards, not only because it reflects the work of our staff, but also the determination to continue to put out the best product we can in an incredibly difficult time,” Johnson said. “I can’t say enough about what the people in this building do each day.”

The Herald’s sister paper, the Albert Lea Tribune, took home four awards including first place for Editorial Page as a Whole, second place for Best Magazine, Second Place for its website and third place for General Excellence.

“We’re incredibly happy for our partners in Albert Lea,” Johnson said. “In a lot of ways we are one staff. Working so closely with the Tribune has helped elevate our own publication.”