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Echo Press wins 23 awards in state contest

This is the fourth time in 12 years Editor Al Edenloff has won the prestigious Herman Roe Editorial Writing Award in the Minnesota Newspaper Association Better Newspaper Contest.

The Echo Press received the second most points in the Minnesota Newspaper Association's annual contest among all non-daily newspapers in the state.

For the second straight year, the Detroit Lakes Tribune, another Forum Communications Company newspaper, accumulated the most points, 86, to win the prestigious Mills Trophy.

The Echo Press was next with 82 points, winning the Herman Roe Editorial Writing Award competition, six additional first place awards, six second place awards and 10 third place awards.

Representatives from the newspaper picked up the awards at the MNA's annual convention in Bloomington last Thursday.

The winners in the MNA's Better Newspaper Contest are determined by judges from award-winning newspapers in other states and cover many different categories - news, advertising, photography, design, website and more.

A total of 3,591 entries from newspapers across the state were entered into the 2011-2012 contest.

The Echo Press was honored with first place awards in the following categories:

Herman Roe Editorial Writing Award. Individuals from newspapers of all circulation sizes compete for the award, which honors the single-best editorial written during the course of the year. Editor Al Edenloff won the award for the fourth time with the editorial, "Voters should seize unique opportunity to build school," published on September 16, 2011.

The judges noted that the editorial "clearly and succinctly walks readers through the significance of the $10 million [in incentives for building the school] and the alternatives, taking on the best arguments of the opposing side directly and explaining why taxpayers with no children will still benefit."

Human Interest Story, weeklies over 5,000 circulation. Reporter Amy Chaffins was honored for her August 3 story, "Remembering Diane," that included an interview with Mike Fortenberry, the husband of murder victim, Diane Fortenberry. "The author handled this subject perfectly," said a judge. "She simply told the story."

Best Magazine, all weeklies. The Echo Press' publication, the Vacationer, which is now published year round, was honored. Sports Editor Lori Mork oversees the magazine.

Best Advertisement, weeklies over 5,000. Publisher Jody Hanson and Graphic Artist Mary Green were honored for their Steinbring Motorcoach advertisement.

Self Promotion or House Ad, weeklies over 2,500. Graphic Artists Melissa Walerius and Nichole Roell were recognized for their "Taste of the Echo" campaign, featuring recipes from Echo Press employees. "It's exactly the sort of hometown, homespun feeling that community newspapers need to forge with their readers," said a judge.

Use of Color in Advertising, weeklies over 5,000. Sales representative Greg Eigen and Roell won for their Lake Region Eye Center ad featuring a snowboarder. "Great use of action photo," a judge said. "Ad is very clear and concise regarding product."

Innovative Online Advertising, all weeklies. Roell and Eigen's ad for Lake Region Eye Center was described as "very well designed; good branding consistency [that] would quickly grab the attention of target consumer."

The Echo Press earned second place awards for Sports Reporting; Use of Photography as a Whole; Best Advertisement to Graphic Artist Kelsey Langager and Eigen for an Hedine Jewelers ad; Innovative Online Advertising to Sales Representative Shelly Beaulieu and Roell for a Karrow Jewelers ad; Best Columnist to Lowell Anderson for his "Our Turn" columns; and Best Use of Multimedia to Anderson for shooting video of a slow bike race placed on the newspaper's website on April 20.

Third place awards included Editorial Page as a Whole; Headline Writing; Classified Ad Section; Website; Sports Story to Reporter Eric Morken for "Gideon's moment" published on September 23, 2011; Local Breaking News Coverage to Edenloff and Anderson for "Six lives lost in three hours" published on February 22; News Photo to Anderson for the photograph that accompanied the same story; Feature Photo to Edenloff for "Fair weather and friends" published on August 22; Best Magazine for 101 Fun Things to Do in Douglas County coordinated by Special Projects Editor Tara Bitzan; and Innovative Online Advertising to Hanson and Roell for a Steinbring Motorcoach ad.


The Osakis Review, which is produced by the Echo Press, won a second place award for Human Interest Story. Managing Editor Amy Chaffins was honored for her March 28 story, "Neumann racing into his golden years."


Another newspaper in the area, the Parkers Prairie Independent, also did well in the contest, picking up seven awards - first place for Best Columnist (Kevin Lee) and News Photo (Tom Meyers); second place for Typography and Design, Use of Photography as a Whole and Advertising Excellence; and third place for Sports Photo (Jakki Wehking) and Photo Story (Wehking).

Al Edenloff
Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  
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