The Storm Lake Pilot-Tribune again claimed major honors in both the Iowa Newspaper Association 2009 Better Newspapers Contest and in the Associated Press 2009 Newswriting Awards. Honorees in both events were announced Friday night in Des Moines.
The 11 top awards presented to the Pilot-Tribune in the INA awards include:
* Best News Story - Dana Larsen and Jeff Jones for coverage of the $5 million blaze that destroyed the Consumer Supply complex.
* Best Special Section
* Community Service - The Pilot-Tribune was honored for its year-long efforts on awareness of hunger issues, as well as its own Mr. Goodfellow and Adopt A Family programs that raised some $30,000 in donations to help needy children and families.
* Iowa Master Columnist - Dana Larsen
* Best Series - Lorri Glawe, "Stopping the Abuse," an in-depth look at solutions to domestic violence in the community.
* Best Front Page
* Best Feature Photography - Lorri Glawe
* Coverage of Education
* Coverage of Agriculture
* Coverage of Business
* General Excellence - the top overall honor presented in the newspaper's class. Staff members Jennifer Nelson, Trent Johnson, Jennifer Reynolds and Lorri Glawe contributed work toward this honor.
Judges cited the Pilot for "great story-telling qualities," being "a newspaper devoted to balanced coverage," "good design and writing," "creative makeup and interesting content," being "an outstanding service to the community," "firm and thorough coverage," and "compelling" writing.
"Yours were the best columns I read all day - funny, insightful and a little twisted. Great work!" they said of Larsen's Master Columnist honor.
In the 2009 Associated Press contest, in which the Pilot-Tribune competes against newspapers up to more than three times its size, six top awards were brought home, inlcuding:
* Best Investigative Reporting - Dana Larsen - "Who Will Help a Storm Lake Teen?" on the plight of a local girl and her plea for help to diagnose a mysterious illness.
* Best Column Writing - Dana Larsen
* Best News Reporting - Coverage of the Consumer Supply fire and its impact on the community.
* Best Editorial Writing
* News Photography - "Welcome Home Heroes" - coverage of local soldiers returnning home from Iraq and Kosovo.
* Best Interpretive Story - "Are Homes Poisoning Children?" An expose on lead poisoning in northwest Iowa.
The judges said the Pilot's commentary writing is "best in class, with highly-skilled writing talent."