For the fourth consecutive year, The Garden City Telegram news department is the daily division II editorial sweepstakes winner in the annual Kansas Press Association Awards of Excellence newspaper contest.
The news staff had 35 entries place in the 2018 KPA contest, including 12 first-place finishes. The overall performance made the paper the editorial sweepstakes winner, which goes to the paper with the most awards, among papers with a circulation of 3,801 to 9,400.
The awards were presented Saturday at the Capitol Plaza Hotel in Topeka during the KPA’s annual convention.
Editor-publisher Dena Sattler praised the effort.
“The Telegram team’s ability to consistently win awards in news and sports reporting, photography, commentary and news and advertising design work speaks to our employees’ talent and dedication,” Sattler said. “Every employee plays a key role in making it possible to produce quality print and digital products on a daily basis. I especially commend our staff members for their willingness to be innovative during a time of change in our industry.”
Staff writer Mark Minton took first place in five writing categories — business, government, agricultural, education and environmental. His winning entries included a business story about a proposed tariff on imports from Mexico, a government story looking at the regional impact of the Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy Act (RAISE), an agricultural story reporting the spread of wheat streak mosaic virus, an educational story about a group of Garden City USD 457 employees' efforts to reach out across languages and cultures through periodic visits to the Tyson Fresh Meats plant, and an environmental story depicting the devastation caused by last year's Lane County wildfires.
Staff writer Josh Harbour claimed three first-place awards with a health story examining how the Netflix series "13 Reasons Why," sparked discussion about teen suicide, for a photo package showing local residents viewing the "Great American" eclipse, and an environmental portrait of Eric Vargas, a marketing assistant and insurance agent at Liberty Mutual-Calzonetti Group who moonlights as a professional boxer.
Multimedia Producer Brad Nading won in sports photography for a photo of a bull rider being bucked off a bull at the 2017 Beef Empire Days PRCA Rodeo, and was runner-up for photographer of the year. Sattler won in editorial writing, and the news staff took first place in overall news and writing excellence, as well as special sections for its Progress 2017 edition.
In advertising, Creative Services Manager Jared Powers had three ads place, including a first-place finish in Best Community Event Ad for his promotion of the 91st Annual Mexican Community Fiesta.
Other news and advertising sweepstakes winners were:
• Non-daily division I: Linn-Palmer Record, editorial; Hugoton Hermes, advertising
• Non-daily division II: Marion County Record, editorial and advertising
• Non-daily division III: Wichita Business Journal, editorial; Miami County Republic, advertising
• Daily division I: Southwest Leader & Times, editorial; Independence Daily Reporter, advertising
• Daily division II: Great Bend Tribune, advertising
• Daily division III: The Topeka Capital-Journal, editorial and advertising
In addition to the awards handed out Saturday, three long-time Kansas publishers were named to the Kansas Newspaper Hall of Fame on Friday night.
Rudy Taylor, patriarch of the Taylor Family Newspapers in southeast Kansas, Craig McNeal, longtime owner and publisher of the Council Grove Republican, and Tom Throne, a former publisher at newspapers in Leavenworth, McPherson and Junction City, became the latest inductees.
Other awards presented included:
• Ann Gardner, former editorial page editor of the Lawrence Journal-World, was presented the Clyde M. Reed Jr. Master Editor Award.
• Joe and Rita Relph, long-time owners of the Wilson County Citizen in Fredonia, were presented the Gaston Outstanding Mentor Award.
• Tim Carpenter, a reporter for the Topeka Capital-Journal, was the winner of the Murdock Award, given annually for outstanding journalistic efforts aimed at local issues. Carpenter's three-part series called "Toxic Leadership" focused on an inquiry into the leadership of the Kansas National Guard.
• The Holton Recorder was honored with the Boyd Community Service Award for its continuing project to recognize all Purple Heart recipients in the community. After plans for a "Purple Heart Memorial" monument were announced in 2015, the Recorder starting writing feature stories about those vets with the hope of learning more about local military heroes. The series not only helped with the $25,000 fundraising drive, but also revealed 160 Purple Heart vets in the community, nearly twice what was originally believed.