Tribune recognized for General Excellence

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 28, 2008

Staff Report

For the third consecutive year and the fourth time in five years, The Ironton Tribune has been named the best small newspaper in Ohio.

The newspaper received first place in General Excellence in Division I and joined The Cleveland Plain Dealer, The Canton Repository, the Sandusky Register and The Massillon Independent as General Excellence winners.

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Division I, the largest division, comprises all Ohio newspapers with circulations of fewer than 8,000. The newspaper captured 15 total awards, the most of any newspaper in its category.

Division I was judged by The State Journal of Frankfort, Ky. Judges said The Ironton Tribune distanced itself from the field.

“Obvious winner! Rich stories on variety of (sometimes surprising) topics. Bold headlines, attention to detail, nice tone,” judges wrote. “Layout tends to mirror tone of stories, which shows good collaboration. Unpredictable, yet very accessible.”

Publisher Michael Caldwell said the recognition comes as a result of the efforts of the entire staff.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the entire Ironton Tribune team. This is a tremendous honor handed out by the Associated Press and to have earned this award three straight years — and four times in five years — is truly humbling,” Caldwell said. “It is certainly a testament to the hard work that the entire staff puts into creating the best newspaper we can each and every day.”

Managing Editor Rick Greene said the newspaper staff tries to produce a newspaper that its readers can be proud of.

“It is always rewarding to be recognized by your peers. Our objective each day is not to win awards, but to serve our communities to the fullest extent possible with professional journalism,” Greene said. “These awards cannot be garnered without dedicated people who take their responsibilities seriously.”

Photographer Jessica St James accounted for seven of the newspaper’s 15 awards. St James won second-place awards in Best Graphic Artist, Best Illustration, Best Feature Photo and Best Photo Essay. She had third-place awards in Best Illustration and Best Photo Essay. She earned an Honorable Mention in the Best Photographer category.

Judges said St James’ work with illustrations added helpful visual elements. They also said her feature photography caught poignant moments.

“Great raw emotion caught …,” judges wrote. “We could feel the emotion from all of the subjects.”

The newspaper staff was awarded a first place for Best Breaking News on coverage of a train accident that left two young girls dead. Judges said the event was covered well with sensitivity.

“Definitely the best. Appropriate tone,” judges wrote. “Leads through all the details (in) clear, well-organized way. Lots of exactness. Special attention. Well done!”

Greene was awarded a first place in the Best Graphic Artist category and received an Honorable Mention for Best Informational Graphic.

“Way to create design using photos,” judges wrote on a package related to the changing colors of leaves in the fall. “Good color and great judgment on white space.”

Caldwell received a second-place award for editorial writing.

“Short, simple and to the point,” judges wrote. “Easy to read and understand.”

Tribune Sports Editor Jim Walker received a third-place award for Best Sports Enterprise for a story related to the dangers of practicing in summer heat.

“This entry explains the dangers of extreme temperatures while giving practical tips and concerns,” judges wrote. “Readers can truly benefit from this, and that is certainly one of the purposes of journalism - to get the information people need out in the open.”

Former Managing Editor Don Willis was recognized with a third-place award in the Best Informational Graphic category. His graphic illustrated details about the fatal train accident.

The newspaper also received an Honorable Mention for Best Special Section with its 2007 Answer Book.