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Journal staff wins 21 newspaper awards

BOZEMAN — The Valley Journal staff enjoyed an award-winning weekend at the Montana Newspaper Association’s annual convention. The Journal earned 21 awards for the newspaper’s content in the MNA’s 2009 Better Newspaper Contest. 

The purpose of the contest is to promote excellence through competition and recognize superior performances by newspapers throughout the state of Montana. This year’s contest was judged by members of the New Mexico Press Association. Competition is divided into four categories, based upon total circulation. The Valley Journal competed in the Weeklies Division III/Dailies Division I division.

Among the 21 awards, the Journal staff earned six first-place awards, including Best Sports Event Coverage by Aaric Bryan, Best Sports Picture by Aaric Bryan, Best Photo Essay by Jim Blow, Best Outdoors, Nature Photo by Kelly Moore, Best Advertising Series by Summer Goddard, and Community Service by a combined staff effort.

“I’m so proud of our hard-working, talented staff,” Valley Journal co-owner Summer Goddard said. “I’m honored to work alongside each and every person at the Valley Journal. They are all very deserving of recognition for their efforts. I thank our loyal readers and advertisers as well for making us the best-read newspaper in Lake County. Thank you for allowing us to serve you as we continue to do what we do best.”

Awards earned by the Valley Journal staff, along with the comments from judges, include:

• Best Headline Writing, first place, staff award for multiple issues — “Solid, no-nonsense headlines for hard news that layout the story without too much cuteness. Great sports headlines with ties to photos.”

• Best News Graphic, second place, Mickele Schultz for her graphic listing hunting season dates in the Hunting and Fishing Guide.

• Best Feature Story, second place, Jim Blow for his Ice Rescue story. “Good, tight writing. Many angles and subjects equally well covered.”

• Best Government Reporting, honorable mention, Melea Burke for her series on the smoking ban.

• Best Educational Reporting, second place, Kate Haake for her Charlo special education story. “A unique feature/profile story that raises good questions in an often abused sector of education.”

• Best Outdoors Reporting, third place, Jim Blow and Melea Burke for their story on the Doves’ Guts Camp. “Good writing, good photography.”

• Best Outdoors Section, third place, Hunting and Fishing Guide. “Good writing, good photography.”

• Best Sports Event Coverage, first place, Aaric Bryan for his story on Arlee’s performance at the state wrestling tournament. “This guy can write. Story well told and the singlet to the journey is a good touch. Well executed.”

• Best Spot News Picture, third place, Kate Haake for her photograph of a child receiving a flu shot. “Three separate personalities come out in this intriguing photo.”

• Best Feature Picture, honorable mention, Jim Blow for his photograph of girls in knots during a Guts Camp exercise. “Nicely composed and framed. A little more expression on participants’ faces would have strengthened this one.”

• Best Sports Picture, first place, Aaric Bryan for his photograph of a Polson soccer goalie diving across the net. “Terrific action shot shows players’ great determination and effort.”

• Best Sports Picture, honorable mention, Aaric Bryan for his photograph of Arlee wrestler Jake Trujillo at state.

• Best Photo Essay, first place, Jim Blow for his photographs of the Arlee Fourth of July Rodeo. “Filled with some great action photos. I could almost hear the hooves beating the ground and felt like I was at the rodeo. Great job. Good display.”

• Best Outdoors, Nature Photo, first place, Kelly Moore for her photograph of a lightning strike at Ninepipe Reservoir. “Terrific capture of an incredible lightning strike.” 

• Best Outdoors, Nature Photo, third place, Jim Blow for his photograph of a fawn running through a pasture. “Nice capture of a fawn stretching out to dash away from the evil, intruding photographer. Good sense of motion.”

• Best Single Ad (Spot Color), third place, Linda Sappington for a Wedding Thank You advertisement.

• Best Single Ad (Process Color), second place, Linda Sappington, Boone Goddard for the Cove Deli advertisement. “Cute idea, clever copy, simple layout.” Will certainly draw the attention of all us pepperoni-loving, peace-loving Woodstockers. In fact, I think I’ll order a pizza right now.”

• Best Single Ad (Process Color), honorable mention, Boone Goddard, Summer Goddard for the First Resort advertisement. “Nice idea, good use of white space.”

• Best Advertising Series, first place, Summer Goddard for the Collision Craft ad campaign. “Excellent campaign! Simplistic, immediately know who it’s for with the common thread of sign usage.”

• Best Advertising Series, second place, Linda Sappington for the Polson Family Eye Care advertisement. “Consistency works! Photo always to right, same ad size, same font.”

• General Excellence Advertising, third place. “Lots of nice ad design concepts in this short-tab magazine format. Readers probably really enjoy this community paper.”

• Community Service, first place. “Excellent series of articles and ads to rally community behind the little girl with leukemia.”

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