The Custer County Chronicle received second place in General Excellence at the S.D. Newspaper Association’s annual awards ceremony last weekend held in Medora, N.D. The convention included both North and South Dakota newspapers. It was one of 23 awards the newspaper received in the 1,151-2,000 circulation category. That included nine first-place awards. There were 1,111 entries in the 2018 SDNA contest.
For the general excellence award, the judges wrote, “Good news writing is this paper’s calling card. They cover the news with stories that are interesting and complete.”
Other awards received included a first place award for best special issue, Down Country Roads magazine. “Great feature story and photo packages. Stories are well-written and great profiles. Well designed and organized,” the judges said.
The Chronicle also received first in community service for youth problems and solutions for 2018. “A good, comprehensive look at problems and challenges facing teens in the Custer community,” the judges wrote. “This is a great example of the local newspaper providing an important public service to its readers and to the entire community. The sort of reporting and information that can make a difference locally. Good work!”
Staff at the Chronicle received a first place award for best use of color for Mostly Chocolates. “Using the bold colors from the logo throughout the ad really helps tie together the main information,” the judges wrote. “I also loved the details of the ice cream over the ‘chocolates’ text.”
For best series of ads, Norma Najacht took first for Custer Fitness Center ads. “Powerful pictures and catchy text gives these ads first place,” the judges wrote.
Najacht also took first place for best use of art service for the Destination Dentistry ad in “The Best.”
Darrell Mohr received first place for a Veterans Day ad for best use of local photography. “While the eyes take in the powerful photos, the message they send is even stronger,” the judges wrote. “Great choice in photos bringing on pride and remembrance.”
Mohr received a second place award for a 2×4” ad for snow removal for Rock Solid Enterprises.
The Chronicle staff received third place for “The Best” in the advertising special section catetory. The judges commented, “Very good idea with plenty of reader appeal. Advertisers had to feel lucky to be included in this.”
Mohr took second place for most original creative idea for Bradeen’s Christmas ad. “Nice little cabin in the Black Hills artfully combined with a buffalo silhouette. Very nice combo for a real estate company,” the judges said.
In the editorial portion of the contest, Ron Burtz took first place for best news story, “In search of workers.” The judges wrote, “Very well and clearly written, offering local perspective as well as thorough explanation and background details on the broader federal problem.”
Jason Ferguson took second place in this category with “STAR Academy sells.” The judges commented, “Thorough balanced, unbiased reporting on a story of obvious local importance.”
Ferguson took second place in best news series about the Poet’s Table vandalism. The judges said, “Interesting, well-written stories. Good coverage of the topic.”
Mary Doescher received first place for the best local general interest column category. “How can you not love and respect a 101-year-old columnist?” the judges commented.
In the same category, Ferguson received second place for his Wednesday Morning Quarterback columns.
Ron Burtz received third place for his cartoons, a category which lumped together all weekly newspapers. “This is very much a folksy piece that says what many of us are thinking. so that’s really great. Very good animation, as well,”
the judges said.
In best headline writing, Najacht received first place. “Humorous, alliterative, informative. Great puns, but don’t overdo it,” the judges commented.
Ferguson received second place in this category, with the judges commenting, “Clever and informative.”
Ferguson was awarded a second place for best feature photo, “Bed racing in style.” The judges said, “Great shot of people just having some fun! I even like how you can still see the reactions of those in the crowd.”
Ferguson received a third place award for best feature series which focused on suicide. “Brave and important. Inspired choice of topics around this subject. I’d like to see the series continue,” the judges said.
Ferguson received a second place for best sports reporting, “Glory Tori comes to the finish line.” The judges said, “Interesting story about such a successful track athlete. Story had great details.”
He also received a second place for best sports photo, “Time to celebrate.” The judges said, “It’s not easy to capture raw emotion, especially from a group, but you did it well. The photo makes me feel happy for those girls on a team that I don’t even know.”
The Chronicle captured second place in best newspaper website, a category into which all weeklies were judged.
The contest was judged by the Wyoming Press Association.
Charley and Norma Najachts’ induction into the South Dakota Newspaper Hall of Fame was announced at the convention. Their formal induction will be held at next year’s South Dakota Newspaper Association’s annual convention to be held in Deadwood April 23-25.
South Dakota Newspaper Association represents the state’s 125 weekly and daily newspapers. Those newspapers have a total audience of more than 600,000 readers.