This is the first time since 2001 that The Journal placed first overall in the state in Weekly Class 3, but in the years in between, the newspaper had finished in the top three, including three straight second-place finishes.
“Being named the top paper by our peers is great, but we cannot lose focus on our job, which is to keep people of this community informed,” said Moore, who won a second-place feature-photo award. “As long as we do that, then we will be successful.”
Staff writer Jonathan Kleppinger came away with four first-place awards and an honorable mention for his writing and reporting and photography skills.
“I was floored to have won several individual awards in my first chance at the paper, but I was overjoyed to be part of an overall first-place finish that The Journal staff has been working toward for years,” Kleppinger said. “It is a privilege to be part of an award-winning newspaper that has done very well in a class with so many other outstanding papers.”
News designer Shane Walters won two first-place awards, a second-place award and three third-place awards for his design work in all sections of the newspaper. He was recognized by judges for his “really creative stuff” and “lots of things to catch readers’ attention.” But Walters said the creativity isn’t just limited to his office cubicle.
“After receiving favorable feedback from the readership study, it was icing on the cake to walk away with general excellence,” he said. “We have an excellent staff and it’s an honor to work with so many creative individuals.”
Sports Editor Jonathan Stark had only been on the Journal staff for about six weeks when the competition’s Sept. 30 deadline rolled around, but he walked away with a first place award for Best Sports Picture and a shared award with Walters for third place Best Sports Page. Stark said the early taste of success has him excited for next year’s competition.
“I kind of felt weird coming in during the last month of submissions because I know how much work everyone else put in during those 12 months,” he said. “I feel like a player who was traded in the middle of the season to a team that ends up winning the championship. It’s great to walk into a newspaper like this that has had success in the past and will have it in the future. Winning something after just a month’s worth of work excites me for how much work I’ll have done a year from when I started.”
Former staff writer Amanda Baumfeld and sports editor Casey Castle earned awards for The Journal, too. Baumfeld received a third-place award for best investigative story and an honorable mention for best feature story; Castle won a first-place award for best sports feature story.
New staff writer Laura Butler also won awards at KPA. Butler received awards in the University category for her work at Eastern Kentucky University’s newspaper, The Eastern Progress. She won a first-place award for headline writing and shared a second-place award for page design and a third-place award for reporting at the school paper.
Journal staff members won the following awards:
• First Place General Excellence for the Weekly Class 3 Category
• Best Feature Story - honorable mention - Amanda Baumfeld
• Best Sports Feature Story - first place - Casey Castle
• Best Enterprise/Analytical Story - first place - Jonathan Kleppinger
• Best Enterprise/Analytical Story - honorable mention - Jonathan Kleppinger
• Best Investigative Story - third place - Amanda Baumfeld
• Best Extended Coverage Stories - first place - Jonathan Kleppinger
• Best Business/Agribusiness Story - first place - Jonathan Kleppinger
• Best Feature Picture - second place - Mike Moore
• Best Sport Picture - first place - Jonathan Stark
• Best Sports Picture Essay - first place - Jonathan Kleppinger
• Best Special Section - second place - Staff
• Best Graphic - third place - Shane Walters
• Best Sports Page - third place - Shane Walters and Jonathan Stark
• Best Lifestyle Page - first place - Shane Walters
• Best Lifestyle Page - second place - Shane Walters
• Best Front Page - first place - Shane Walters
• Best Front Page - third place - Shane Walters
• Best Website - second place - Staff