A tornado. A spy-turned-teacher. A group of women supporting each other during their journey to get pregnant. Lady Scots. Meals on Wheels.
All are among the stories People Newspapers told last year, and are among the awards the two newspapers the company publishes won at the 2020 National Newspaper Association’s Better Newspaper awards.
All told, People Newspapers won 10 awards this year for editorial content and advertising, the NNA announced Tuesday.
“When a team is passionate and they love what they do, it shows in their work,” said People Newspapers publisher Pat Martin. “I couldn’t be more proud to serve our community alongside these talented hardworking individuals.”
“We had big news to cover in 2019, including a devastating tornado,” said People Newspapers editor William Taylor. “Keeping readers updated on what would come after the storm was essential to the staff, and it’s satisfying to see that work recognized by our peers in the newspaper industry.”
Writers Kersten Rettig and Bill Miller were singled out for their pieces about Meals on Wheels and CIA agent-turned-Hockaday teacher Tracy Walder, respectively. Rettig’s first-person account garnered a third-place award in the Best Non-Profile Feature Story category, while Miller’s profile won second place in the Best Profile Feature Story category.
Judges lauded the unique angle of Rettig’s story, and called Miller’s piece “fascinating.”
Former People Newspapers managing editor Bianca Montes won second place in the Best Non-Profile Feature Story category for her story about a Highland Park United Methodist Church support group for women struggling to become pregnant.
“A moving story, well-told thanks to the interviewing and writing skills of the reporter,” the judges noted.
People Newspapers sports editor Todd Jorgenson’s story about Highland Park High School standout Prince Dorbah’s journey to football elite had judges praising the “good subject, well-written story.” It picked up a second-place award in the Best Sports Feature category.
Preston Hollow People deputy editor Bethany Erickson won a first-place finish in the Best Breaking News Story category for her coverage of the October 2019 tornado, noteworthy because of the difficulty in producing breaking-news content in a monthly publication.
“Great coverage of a massive event. Great understanding of community effects,” judges wrote.
Additionally, Park Cities People picked up a second-place award in the General Excellence category. “The design of this publication is outstanding with its modern feel and community-based focus,” judges said. “It felt and looked very readable. And it was.”
The Lady Scots Got Game special section won third place in the Best Special News, Sports or Feature Section or Edition category, and People Newspaper’s 20 Under 40 section picked up a second-place award in the same category.
Park Cities People also picked up two advertising awards. Marketing and digital production manager Imani Chet Lytle and account executive Tana Hunter picked up a second-place award in the Best Use of Color category, and art and production director Melanie Thornton and account executive Quita Johnson won first place in the Best Single Ad Idea, Black & White category.
Each year, NNA honors the best in community journalism in the Better Newspaper Editorial Contest and the best in community newspaper advertising in the Better Newspaper Advertising Contest. The BNEC and BNAC, together, make up the association’s Better Newspaper Contest. Entries are accepted during the contest entry period, which occurs annually from Jan. 1 through April 27.