Gazette staff wins four state awards
The Portage County Gazette’s two editorial staff members took home three reporting awards, and a combined editorial and advertising project won an award in the Wisconsin Newspaper Association (WNA) Foundation’s annual contest.
The WNA presented awards to winners of the 2017 Better Newspaper Contest Friday, April 13, at the Sheraton Madison Hotel during the organization’s annual convention.
The 2017 Better Newspaper Contest included 2,819 entries from 119 newspapers across the state. Eligible entries were published between Sept. 1, 2016, and Aug. 31, 2017. Entries were judged by members of the Iowa Newspaper Association.
The contest is made up of three daily newspaper divisions and three weekly newspaper divisions. The Portage County Gazette is in the top weekly division, Division D, which includes non-daily newspapers across the state with subscriptions of more than 3,501.
Sports editor John Kemmeter earned a first-place award for Sports News Story with his multiple stories after the Amherst High School football team won the 2016 WIAA Division 5 State Title on a last-second field goal by Carter Zblewski.
The judge said Kemmeter’s depiction of the win was spot on.
“This story represented the biggest moment, in this judge’s opinion,” the judge commented. “To make a championship kick as your first made field goal, wow! That’s a sports writer’s dream to cover. Nice family history woven in, too.”
Editor Heather McDonald brought home a third-place award in the General News Story for her story “New drug court is changing lives,” describing how Portage County’s new drug court is impacting addicts and giving them a new start.
“Great story-crafting,” the judge commented. “The writer does a good job of explaining how a drug court works and keeps the flow of the story moving forward with well-placed quotes.”
McDonald also earned an honorable mention in the General News Story category for her article “Park dedication continues legacy of ‘The Admiral,’” an article about a park dedication for World War I navy admiral and former Stevens Point resident Albert Weston Grant.
“A strong lede and a strong ending,” the judge said. “Good use of quotes.”
Kemmeter and former Gazette staff members Paula O’Kray and Joey Hetzel combined for a winning advertisement piece.
The group earned a second place for Best Multiple Advertiser Spread for the Stevens Point Area Senior High School (SPASH) boys basketball team’s 2017 WIAA Division 1 State Championship spread.
The Portage County Gazette is owned by Multi Media Channels. MMC has five other paid newspapers: the Waupaca County Post, New London Press Star, Merrill Courier, The Press (in Ashwaubenon) and the Clintonville Tribune Gazette. In addition to the Portage County Gazette, the New London Press Star won 12 awards and one honorable mention in non-daily Division F, and the Clintonville Tribune Gazette won two third-place awards in non-daily Division F.