The Vilas County News-Review has won eight awards in the National Newspaper Association (NNA) 2018 Better Newspaper Contest and Better Newspaper Advertising Contest, including a second-place Community Service award for its Warm The Children program.

The awards were presented to the winners at the NNA’s 133rd annual Convention & Trade Show at The Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee last Saturday.

The News-Review also won two first-place awards for Best Feature Photo and Best Single Ad Idea - Color; a second-place award for Best Use of Local Photos in an Ad; a third-place award for Best Local News Coverage; and three honorable mention awards for Best Breaking News Photo, Best Serious Column and Best Use of Ad Color.

The Community Service award came in the combined daily and nondaily division for all newspapers across the country. 

The judges said: “This newspaper makes a big difference in its community through the Warm The Children program. Not only does the publication support the initiative, but spearheads it.”

The Warm The Children program raises approximately $80,000 each year to purchase warm winter clothing for nearly 600 youths in Vilas and Oneida counties. The News-Review also publishes The Three Lakes News in Oneida County. 

Other NNA awards

The News-Review staff received two first-place awards from the NNA.

The first-place award for Best Feature Photo in the nondaily division for newspapers with a circulation of 6,000 to 9,999 was won by Editor Gary Ridderbusch for a photo at the Northland Pines Homecoming pep rally as students battled in a tug of war contest.

The judges said: “Great expressions and physical emotion. Brings viewer close to the action.”

The other first-place award for Best Single Ad Idea - Color was in the nondaily division for newspapers with a circulation over 5,000 called “Derby Celebrates 50 Years.” Assistant Production Manager Betsy Boulden and Publisher Kurt Krueger designed the ad and Krueger, Ridderbusch and Sports Editor Doug Etten supplied photos from the World Championship Snowmobile Derby for the ad.

 The judges said: “The pictures made you wish you were there. There wasn’t too much clutter and the layout was simple and eye-catching.”

The same Derby ad won the second-place award for Best Use of Local Photos in an Ad in a combined daily and nondaily division with the same News-Review recipients.

The judges said: “Good action and still photos which appear to involve all parties.”

The third-place award for the News-Review staff came in the Best Local News Coverage category in the daily and nondaily division for newspapers with a circulation of 6,000 or more. Entries were judged on the overall depth of local news coverage in the community.

The judges said: “Residents of Vilas County in Wisconsin couldn’t ask for better news coverage than what they get from the News-Review. This newspaper has it all and does it very well.”

The honorable mention award for Best Breaking News Photo came in the nondaily division for circulation of 5,000 to 9,999 for an accident photo taken by Etten called “Monday Mishap.”

The judges said: “I like how the firefighters are not just standing around and how even the police officer in the background is doing something. This is a great shot of the accident and clearly shows how bad it was. I like the pop of color from the firemen’s vests and the fire truck . . . adding another reason why the reader’s eyes would go to this photo quickly.” 

A second honorable mention award went to Krueger for his In the Outdoors column titled “An ode to Dad: veteran, athlete, mentor” in the Best Serious Column for daily and nondaily newspapers in the 6,000 to 11,999 category.

The judges wrote: “Columnist gives a heartwarming account of time spent with his father.”

The final honorable mention award came in the Best Use of Ad Color category in the daily and nondaily division for newspapers with a circulation of less than 8,000 for an ad promoting Northern Lakes Landscaping designed by Boulden and Krueger. 

The judges said: “Like the use of a full-width, non-stock photo that is well lit and colorful. Like how the green gradient at the top and the green at the bottom of the ad works in the color of the landscape. Bright enough to capture attention and important information is easy to find and read.”

Over 1,500 entries

There were 1,303 entries in the Better Newspaper Editorial Contest and 207 entries in the Better Newspaper Advertising Contest for a total of 1,510 entries. A total of 485 awards were won by 97 member newspapers in 36 states. Iowa had the most combined BNC/BNAC wins with 63, followed by Wyo­ming with 61 and California with 47.

Judging was performed primarily by active community newspaper editors and publishers, as well as retired university journalism professors and retired or former newspaper professionals.

“The quality of entries is always inspiring and encouraging,” said judge Mark Campbell, editor, Azle News (Texas). “Exceptional journalism continues to readily be available across the nation, as evidenced by the strong writings I judge annually.”

Established in 1885, the National Newspaper Association is the voice of America’s community newspapers and is one of the largest newspaper associations in the country.