Echo Press Web site named best in stateWeb surfers in Douglas County have the best site in the state for getting local news. The Echo Press Web site – www.echopress.com – earned first place honors in the Minnesota Newspaper Association’s 2007-2008 Better Newspaper Contest.
By: Al Edenloff, Alexandria Echo Press
Web surfers in Douglas County have the best site in the state for getting local news.
The Echo Press Web site – www.echopress.com – earned first place honors in the Minnesota Newspaper Association’s 2007-2008 Better Newspaper Contest.
In all, the Echo Press received seven awards in the contest, which were presented during the MNA’s 142nd annual convention in Bloomington Thursday.
Judges from award-winning newspapers in Iowa determined the winners, poring over more than 3,400 entries in dozens of categories.
The Echo Press received the following honors:
•Best Web site, first place (weeklies over 5,000).
“The Echo Press is a well designed Web site that clearly understands the importance of multimedia advertising and promotion,” a judge noted. “They offer regularly updated news and plenty of it – there were 14 sports stories posted one day I checked. Stories are well-written and most appeared to be posted quickly after news happens. The overall site is sophisticated, enticing and well-designed. I like the promotion of advertisers in features such as the ‘Recently Added’ box. I also liked the Area Voices [blogs], slideshows and prominent photo galleries. Components such as search and e-mail alerts and weather are prominently displayed. A well done site overall.”
•Best multimedia special project, first place (weeklies).
The newspaper’s coverage of area first responders honing their skills at a staged school bus crash earned high praise from the judges.
Reporter Mike Enright and Special Projects Reporter Lowell Anderson teamed up for the project, entitled, “Preparing for disaster.”
“This project used images and accompanying narration to significantly enhance the impact of the story,” a judge noted. “The use of black and white images was particularly effective. This entry demonstrates that multimedia need not be full of special effects to convey a powerful message. Sometimes, less really is more.”
The project can still be viewed on the Web site by clicking on “Slideshows” or following the link in this story.
•Best advertising campaign, first place (all classes).
Life Editor Tara Bitzan came up with the idea to spotlight newspaper employees in a series of ads titled, “Step Inside the Echo Press.” Karla Mikkelson, graphic designer, did the layout and design work.
“Not only are these ads incredibly attractive and well laid out, they also bring a personality to each featured employee, which the general public would not get otherwise,” a judge noted. “This series is spectacular! Well done!”
•Advertising excellence, second place (weeklies over 5,000).
“The Brian Volker [graphics designer] house ad says it all. Well designed ads with a clear attention to detail. The Cullens Home Center ad is a good example of the effectiveness of black-and-white ads in this paper. Pottery Place – another good ad. Bridal Showcase – nice. Severe weather section – solid work…Overall, the ads are crisp and clear. The production value is excellent and the ads frame the editorial copy nicely.”
•Best columnist, second place (weeklies over 5,000) – Lori Mork.
Sports Editor Mork, who also writes an “Our Turn” column, was praised for her amazing versatility.
“She addresses serious, sad and light-hearted issues with equal talent and flair,” said a judge. “Every one of her columns was a treat to read. Each made me feel something, including a great deal of empathy.”
•Best human interest feature story, second place (weeklies 6,001 to 15,000) – Jo Colvin.
Colvin’s September 28, 2007 story for the Life section, “An Army of Angels,” told how Brenda Larson, now the wellness director at Knute Nelson, survived a bad car crash and went on inspire others.
“This story was well-written and very touching,” a judge noted. “It captured the tragic event of the accident and the resolve of the spouse’s spirit. I like that it was told in her voice; nice use of quotes and not overly loaded with unneeded details.”
•Best use of color in advertising, second place (weeklies over 6,000) – Mimi Seykora.
Advertising representative Seykora’s work for Lake Region Eye Center was honored.
“This bright green really stands out, especially on an all black page,” a judge noted. “Great color choice, great image.”
The Mills Trophy, given to the weekly newspaper that accumulates the most points in the contest, was awarded to the Northfield News. The Vance Trophy, awarded to the top daily newspaper in the state, went to the St. Cloud Times.