Leader wins first place for General Excellence statewide

Takes home 30 awards from Better Newspaper Contest

Leader news staff
news@ptleader.com
Posted 10/16/19

Judges of Washington’s 2019 “Better Newspaper Contest” rated The Port Townsend Leader first in the General Excellence category for papers of its size.

The winning score is a composite of judges’ assessment of breadth of news coverage, ad design, writing quality, overall design, photos, front pages, sports, opinion pages headlines and treatment of public notices. Breadth of coverage is the heaviest weighted of those elements.

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Leader wins first place for General Excellence statewide

Takes home 30 awards from Better Newspaper Contest

Posted

Judges of Washington’s 2019 “Better Newspaper Contest” rated The Port Townsend Leader first in the General Excellence category for papers of its size.

The winning score is a composite of judges’ assessment of breadth of news coverage, ad design, writing quality, overall design, photos, front pages, sports, opinion pages, headlines and treatment of public notices.

Breadth of coverage is the heaviest weighted of those elements.

Staff returned from the 132nd annual meeting of the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association in Olympia Oct. 10-12 with 30 awards.

“Thank you to you, our readers,” Leader Publisher Lloyd Mullen said of the haul. “Without you, none of this would be possible.”

Mullen’s involvement in production of the paper was evident in the awards results.

He took home three of The Leader’s four advertising design awards and six of its eight photography awards, including a second-place award for Photographer of the Year in The Leader’s circulation category.

The judges commented on Mullen’s second-place award in the Breaking News Photo category for “Stabbing suspect heard voices” by saying, “The fact that the photographer hustled to capture this makes it a winner in my book. The picture elevates the whole story because it has a good graphic.”

In all, The Leader won 13 first-place awards, 11 second-place awards and six third-place awards, three awards for special sections, four awards for advertising, eight awards for photography and 14 awards for news.

Five awards went to the staff of The Leader as a whole, including its first-place award for General Excellence and its complete sweep of the Topical, In-Paper Special Section awards for its circulation category.

Reporter Kirk Boxleitner and former Leader General Manager Kelli Ameling (who recently moved to a newspaper in her home state of Michigan to work for Mullen’s brother, Louis) won four awards each, while reporter Lily Haight won three awards in her first year of submitting entries to the WNPA’s contest.

Ameling won first place in the Breaking News Story category for “Two plane crashes, one dead,” about which the judges said, “Solid piece, and probably the best entry in regard to putting a face on the story, going beyond the event and bringing in the human element.”

Boxleitner’s third-place Election Story winner, “Sheriff candidates debate,” was summed up by judges as “a fairly reported blow-by-blow” with “no shortage of spicy comments,” as well as a “tight summary and good quote use,” while his first-place Lifestyle Feature Story, “Chili Cook-Off,” received the judges’ comment, “Nothing says a lifestyles feature like writing about a local chili cook-off!”

Judges described Haight’s first-place Comprehensive Coverage, Single Writer entry, “Shooting facility debate,” as “well-written and packaged,” noting that “anything gun-related can be tricky to report on today,” but by “providing ample space” and “getting local views,” Haight and The Leader “gave a fair presentation to all sides.”

And Haight’s second-place Personality Profile, Long entry, “Eleanora,” inspired judges to write, “It’s not often someone profiles an octopus, (but) I thought you did a great job taking a normal story and making it something better.”

Current and former arts and entertainment editors Chris McDaniel and Katie Kowalski won two awards each, with McDaniel earning second place in this year’s newly created News Headline category for his Feb. 27 deadline, “Be sharp or be dull.”

“Headline writer on the cutting edge of summing up the story,” judges wise-cracked. “Good job.”

Leader Editor Dean Miller quipped that he can honorably brag up the results because they cover work that pre-dates his arrival at The Leader.

“This is a hard-working crew whose devotion to public service is measured in column inches, long hours and attention to the craft of journalism,” Miller said. “Nationwide, many local newspapers are in trouble, so we hope Leader readers pat themselves on the back for supporting a winner.”

During the three-day conference, Leader staff attended instructional seminars by industry professionals, including Pulitzer Prize-winning feature writer Jacqui Banaszynski, and heard from Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal, who said he expects to make news this winter by proposing that all student costs of the “Running Start” program be borne by local school districts, who receive ample state funds to pay for student books and other essential educational materials.

WNPA BETTER NEWSPAPER CONTEST AWARDS

Port Townsend Leader staff:

GENERAL EXCELLENCE
• (Group 3) — First place.
ADVERTISING
• Newspaper House Ad (Groups 3 & 4) — Second Place, “We’ve got you covered.”

SPECIAL SECTIONS
• Topical, In-Paper Special Section (Groups 3 & 4) — First Place, “Halloween.”
• Topical, In-Paper Special Section (Groups 3 & 4) — Second Place, “Graduation Keepsake.”
• Topical, In-Paper Special Section (Groups 3 & 4) — Third Place, “Fire Prevention Week.”

Kirk Boxleitner:

NEWS
• General Feature Story, Short (Group 3) — First Place, “Quilts of Valor.”
• Lifestyle Feature Story (Group 3) — Second Place, “Chili cook-off.”
• Health or Medical Story (Groups 3 & 4) — Third Place, “Disabled vets.”
• Election Story (Groups 3 & 4) — Third Place, “Sheriff candidates debate.”

Lily Haight:

NEWS
• Environmental Story (Group 3) — First Place, “Mountain goats.”
• Comprehensive Coverage, Single Writer (Group 3) — First Place, “Shooting facility debate.”
• Personality Profile, Long (Group 3) — Second Place, “Eleanora.”

Chris McDaniel:

NEWS
• Feature Page Design (Groups 3 & 4) — Second Place, “International cup of joe.”
• News Headline (Groups 3 & 4) — Second Place, “Be sharp or be dull.”

Lloyd Mullen:

ADVERTISING
• Single Advertiser (Sale/Event) Smaller than 1/2 Page (Groups 3 & 4) — First Place, “Uptown Pub.”
• Newspaper House Ad (Groups 3 & 4) — First Place, “Sweep-Steaks?” with Ayla Favati and Scott Herning.
• Branding Ad (Groups 3 & 4) — Second Place, “Coldwell Banker Best Homes.”

NEWS
• Front Page Design (Groups 3 & 4) — First Place, “Stabbing suspect.”

PHOTOGRAPHY
• Photographer of the Year (Groups 1-4) — Second Place.
• Photo Essay, B/W (Groups 1-4) — First Place, “Hitting the mats.”
• Sports Photo, B/W (Groups 3 & 4) — Second Place, “Flexing muscle.”
• Breaking News Photo (Groups 3 & 4) — Second Place, “Stabbing suspect heard voices.”
• Color Photo Essay (Group 3) — Second Place, “Shaken, stirred or both?”
• Color Photo Essay (Group 3) — Third Place, “Old school fun.”

Kelli Ameling:

NEWS
• Breaking News Story (Group 3) — First Place, “Two plane crashes, one dead.”
• Front Page Design (Groups 3 & 4) — First Place, “Stabbing suspect.”
• Feature Page Design (Groups 3 & 4) — Third Place, “Badass cheeses.”

PHOTOGRAPHY
• Sports Photo, B/W (Groups 3 & 4) — First Place, “Making the catch.”

Katie Kowalski:

NEWS
• Feature Page Design (Groups 3 & 4) — First Place, “The birth of Madeline.”

PHOTOGRAPHY
• Color Feature Photo (Group 3) — Third Place, “Love has chops.”

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