Newspaper group wins four awards

Bluff Country Newspaper Group picked up four awards in the annual 2018-19 Minnesota Better Newspaper Contest during a Minnesota Newspaper Association banquet Thursday in the Twin Cities.

Megan Warner, a graphic artist in the Spring Grove Herald office, won first place for her self-promotion or house ad. She designed an ad based on a health theme telling people they need a “subscription prescription” to get back in the loop.

“Enjoy the idea behind this and the layout and design look great,” wrote judges about her entry.

It’s also a play on words for newspaper people because customers often come into offices asking to renew their prescription when they really meant subscription.

Publisher David Phillips won first place for best columnist.

“This is the kind of detail-oriented writing that comes when a guy knows his community,” noted judges.

The contest is broken down into circulation categories with newspapers competing against similar publications.

However, a few special categories had competition among all newspapers across the state. Jordan Gerard, who served as editor at the Spring Grove Herald at the time, won second place in one of those categories — explanation of news operations/newspaper ethics. She wrote a series on how the Herald determines news for publication.

“Loved the idea of sharing advertising from a news perspective,” wrote judges.  All too often we allow the wall between departments to hold us back from being the best that we can be. Why shouldn’t we take the time to explain to our readers what a different department does? What we do every day in the newspaper?”

Gerard also took second place in the category local breaking news coverage when she detailed the great blizzard of 2019 early last year.

“Story captures the surprise arrival of a blizzard when forecasts did not indicate an imminent threat,” wrote judges. “Readers got a thorough explanation of the situation. The online updates were timely and crucial. Good community journalism.”

There were more than 4,000 entries in this year’s contest of the MNA. Newspaper people from Indiana judged the contest. The convention included several educational and training seminars.