The Vandalia Leader was one of a few weekly newspapers to win at least eight awards during this year’s Missouri Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest. Awards were distributed to member newspapers attending the annual convention this past weekend in Kansas City, Mo.
“I’m thrilled our newspaper received the recognition it did in this year’s contest,” said General Manager/Editor Ron Schott, who was unable to attend the convention. “Our staff works extremely hard each week to produce a quality product with hyper local coverage for our readers. We don’t do our jobs to get a pat on the back. That being said, we won’t turn one away when it’s given to us. It does confirm that we are indeed providing a quality product to the community.”
Schott won an astounding three of the four offered awards in the Class 1 Weeklies Best Editorial category.
He won a first place plaque for his editorial about being thankful for those who come to him with complaints and concerns.
Judges said the piece was “very well written as a journalist protecting our journalistic freedom. Life is such that the negative comes with the positive. Using a personal account to make the story relatable was a smart idea, especially in this context.”
Schott also took second place with his editorial entitled “Taking a deeper look into the Chick-fil-A controversy.”
Judges said “this was a hot topic across the nation and Mr. Schott handles the controversy well. The issue was taken out of context and he explains why Mr. Cathy should not be ridiculed for his statements.”
Schott’s editorial “It’s important to disagree with someone in the right way” won the honorable mention award. Third place was given to the Lee’s Summit Tribune. The Vandalia Leader’s GM/Editor also won an honorable mention award in the Best Sports Photo category for his picture of Community R-VI’s Brittni Brandwein. The photo gives an appearance of Brandwein dribbling the ball without using her hands.
“This photo did a great job of capturing an ordinary game situation and making it both eye-catching and unique,” the judges said. “The photo certainly deserves an honorable mention despite lacking in clarity and definition. It illustrates how a still image can capture something that probably wouldn’t have even been noticeable in real time. Great job!”
The since departed reporter John McLaughlin won three awards.
He won a first place plaque in the Best Story About Rural Life or Agriculture category for his article “Drought deals carnage to Missouri crop.”
“This takes standard drought statistics a step further with local interviews,” the judges said. “Good way to show the human side of how the numbers effect each of the main crop as well as livestock.”
His article “Recent rains rouse little relief for drought” won an honorable mention award.
McLaughlin’s article on Windstream reportedly updating broadband took third in the Best Business Story category.
“The contest was tighter for third and fourth place but again I chose the story that had the best reader interest and I think broadband is something more people want to know about,” one of the judges said.
Freelance writer Linda Geist received an honorable mention award in the Best Feature Story category for her piece on Martinsburg native Jean Becker.
The judges said her piece was “great.” They really enjoyed the anecdotes and adventures.
“It was very well researched and a lot of little things really brought out her character,” the judges added.