The Hometown Press took home five awards from the Iowa Newspaper Association (INA) Awards Banquet held in conjunction with the INA Convention and Trade Show on Friday, Feb. 7. The 2014 Iowa Newspaper Foundation Better Newspaper Contest featured hundreds of entries from talented newspaper staffs across the state of Iowa with more than 750 awards given out during the two-day event.
This year in the contest judging, the Hometown Press was among the smallest in weeklies class two for weekly newspapers with 1,126-2,100 in circulation. “As one of the smaller weeklies in our class with the number of entries in some categories over 40, I am very proud of our staff for receiving five awards, the same number we received last year when we were one of the largest newspapers in the class one division,” said Margaret Vander Weerdt, editor. “Week after week, we share the stories, successes, photos, ads, and more of the area. Without our readers, subscribers, and advertisers, recognition for our accomplishments would not be possible. Thank you for your support each and every week of the year.”
Three members of the Hometown press staff – Vander Weerdt, Jessica Maston, and LeAnn Hjelmeland – joined Iowa newspaper professionals at the annual INA Convention. The theme for this year’s event was “Tradition On the Move” featuring 22 breakout sessions for newspaper staffs to learn and share so they can better lead their communities.
The trio from the Hometown Press was motivated by the kick-off address “Buried Alive With the Will to Survive – From Devastation to Inspiration” by Lt. Joe Torrillo, retired New York City firefighter and 9/ll survivor. The newspaper staff also attended educational presentations by experts from across the country in the fields of advertising, circulation, social media, writing, online, and technology. They also learned more about the latest in products, services, and programs for the newspaper industry by browsing through the 34 trade exhibitor booths in the INA Trade Show.
The evening concluded with the Awards Banquet. Following the evening meal, the winners of the 2014 Iowa Newspaper Foundation Better Newspaper Contests were named. This was the second year the Hometown Press was eligible to enter the contests. The top three newspapers in the weekly class two division based on points for awards received were: 1. Spirit Lake Dickinson Co. News, 2. Storm Lake Pilot-Tribune, and 3. Shenandoah Valley News, followed by Adel Dallas Co. News and a tie between the Hometown Press and the Rock Rapids Lyon Co. Reporter. The Des Moines Register was named the 2014 Newspaper of the Year.
Award-winning entries for the Hometown Press were Best Sports Section (first place), Best Ad Idea for a Community Promotion or Event (first place, Lynnville Days ad), Best Ad Featuring Miscellaneous (second place, Co-Line help wanted ad), Best Feature Page (second place), and Best Ad Featuring Grocery, Food, or Entertainment (third place, Linden House ad).