The Union wins 9 National Newspaper Association Awards |

The Union wins 9 National Newspaper Association Awards

The National Newspaper Association has honored The Union with nine awards in its annual Better Newspapers Contest, choosing western Nevada County’s daily newspaper as a finalist for an NNA General Excellence Award.

NNA’s announcement of the 2013 winners marks the third consecutive year The Union has been chosen to receive a General Excellence honor by the organization’s panel of judges.

Taking top honors for The Union was Anthony Barstow, with a first-place award for Best Sports Story. Barstow’s “Destined to play” featured Penn Valley Little League player Aaron West, who was born without a fully formed left hand, and his opportunity to meet former Major League Baseball pitcher Jim Abbott, who despite being born without a right hand had a 10-year career that included throwing a no-hitter as a member of the New York Yankees. Barstow, a former sports writer, now serves as a copy editor at The Union.

“This is a well-written, interesting story of two individuals overcoming insurmountable odds,” an NNA contest judge commented. “(Good) use of quotes, and the narrative was fluid.”

The Union took second place in the Best Editorial Pages category for its Nov. 2, 2012, four-page Ideas & Opinions section in advance of the Nov. 6 general election.

“Another really good entry with good design, various viewpoints with local impact, and variety of letters,” a judge wrote.

R.L. Crabb’s “Does a bear sit on the goods?” take on the California State Parks scandal, in which the parks reportedly stowed away millions of dollars while closing parks statewide, took third place for Best Original Editorial Cartoon.

The Union’s special report “Residential burglaries: Sharp spike seen in first six months of 2012,” by staff writers Liz Kellar, Matthew Renda and Christopher Rosacker, copy editor Kim Midboe and photographer John Hart, took third place in the Best Feature Series.

“I like this series and how the writers took readers beyond the crime stats,” a judge wrote. “Kudos to the police reporter for keeping tabs on what’s going on in the community and reporting on it to make everyone safer.”

Another third-place award was won for Best Business Feature Story by Community Reporter Cory Fisher and Hart for their work on “Keep on truckin’: Multimillion-dollar business in its 63rd year,” which featured local business Robinson Enterprises.

The Union earned honorable mention in the Best Education/Literacy Story category for its special report “Changing landscape of education,” by Rosacker, Hart and Midboe. The report focused on the impact of declining enrollment and state budget cuts, along with a discussion of potential consolidation of local school districts.

Features Editor Brett Bentley and freelance writer Laura Brown earned an honorable mention for “A food revolution,” which featured advance coverage of the 2012 Sustainable Food and Farm Conference in Grass Valley.

The Union also earned an honorable mention for Best Local News Coverage.

“This paper hits the mark with strong, local news throughout the paper,” a judge commented. “Readers should be proud of this publication.”

The National Newspaper Association awards earned by The Union come on the heels of statewide honors the newspaper earned in April. The Union was honored for Best Front Page and Best Graphic Illustration by the California Newspapers Association for the special report on residential burglaries and also took second place for Best Lifestyle Coverage, in addition to receiving seven honorable mention awards.

Established in 1885, the National Newspaper Association is the largest newspaper association in the country. The Union’s contest entries were among 1,777 entries judged in the Better Newspaper Contest, in addition to 375 entries in the Better Newspaper Advertising Contest for a total of 2,152 entries. A total of 544 awards were won by 140 member newspapers in 41 states, the NNA reported. California had the most combined BNC/BNAC wins with 88, followed by Texas with 45 and Iowa and Wyoming, which tied with 41 each.

Over the past three years, the NNA has honored The Union with a total of 26 awards in its Better Newspapers Contest. General Excellence Award winners will be announced at the organization’s awards reception Sept. 14, during NNA’s 127th Annual Convention & Trade Show at the Arizona Grand Resort in Phoenix, Ariz.

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