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The ‘real’ story behind the awards

By Staff | Feb 8, 2015

There is just no denying it.

I have a real sense of pride in the fact that the staff here at the Faribault County Register has once again been honored with several awards from the Minnesota Newspaper Association’s Better Newspaper Contest.

I am especially humbled by all of the wonderful comments made by the judges of the contest about our winning entries.

You can read about it in a story on page 3 of this week’s Register, but here is a little background perspective from the editor’s notebook.

While the staff received one third place award, it is an impressive one.

That’s because it is in the General Excellence category, one of the most, if not the most, important one in the contest.

It means we were judged the third best medium-sized weekly newspaper in the state. And I’d be happy with that designation anytime.

It is also significant to me because it honors the entire staff at the Register, not just one person or one department. And, we do have a great team who all work hard and are dedicated to putting out a quality newspaper product they deserve a lot of credit and recognition.

Taking first and second in a category is also significant, and that is just we did for two of our special magazine sections, Our Heroes and Community Focus.

The Our Heroes magazine has been a consistent winner in the contest for many years. Just to be clear, the one that was honored last week was the 2013 edition, because of the dates for the contest entries.

But rest assured, we will be entering the most recent 2014 edition in the next contest.

Again, these two awards are significant because they go to the entire staff. They are truly the result of a ‘group effort.’

Kevin Mertens is no stranger to receiving an award for his photography at the MNA contest and this year was no different as he claimed a first place in sports photography for an awesome picture of two football players in mid-air, with the headline ‘Hand-to-hand combat.’

We are truly blessed to have his photo skills displayed in the Register. My only surprise is that he doesn’t win even more awards.

A photo I took of a Blue Earth Area kindergartner getting her hand sucked on by a calf took a second place in Portrait and Personality photography.

The second I took the picture it became one of my favorites. I was a little disappointed it didn’t take first place, but it got beat out by a photo of a little old lady expressing her disgust when someone else called out “Bingo!” before she did.

Our final award is a bit special to me.

It was a first place award in a category called Best Explanation of Newspaper Operations or Newspaper Ethics. It was for a ‘From the Editor’s Notebook’ column I wrote after we were criticized for our coverage of the death of a BEA student in a tragic traffic accident.

The column details our decision making and why and how we do what we do. It also tells of how these things affect us at the newspaper, as well as the rest of the community.

Winning first place in this category is quite an honor because it is one of the few that is competition among every newspaper in the state, regardless of size. So, smaller weeklies compete with big dailies.

(If you missed the column, or are interested in reading it again, it will be posted on our website under “opinions.”)

While winning awards and being recognized by our peers for our hard work is always nice, it is not the main reason we try to publish a quality product each week. We do it for you, all of our readers.

So, thanks for reading us.