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Echo Press takes home 14 'Better Newspaper Contest' awards

The Echo Press took home a first-place award for its headline writing in the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Better Newspaper Contest. The staff picked up the award at the annual convention last week. Judges said the newspaper knows how to have fun with its headlines, especially for its centerpieces like the story on wakeboard surfer, Frankie Jost.1 / 4
Echo Press sales representative Izzy Rusch won a first-place award for this pizza ad in the best advertisement category for the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Better Newspaper Contest.2 / 4
Echo Press Sports Editor Eric Morken won a first place award in the sports story category for the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Better Newspaper Contest. Morken won the award for his story on an Osakis pitcher, Isaac Infanger.3 / 4
Echo Press sales representative Izzy Rusch won a first-place award in the institutional advertisement category at the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Better Newspaper Contest. The judges said the ad was eye catching and used great imagery. 4 / 4

The Echo Press was honored with 14 awards in the Minnesota Newspaper Association's "Better Newspaper Contest." Echo Press staff picked up the awards and attended seminars at the annual convention in Bloomington on Jan. 25-26.

Newspapers from across the state entered the contest, submitting their best work in advertising, writing, Internet, photography and several other categories.

The Echo Press received six first-place awards, two second place and six third place.

First place (with judges' comments if any were provided):

• Jody Hanson, self-promotion or house ad — "I like this ad especially because it describes well the value of what society should be."

• Izzy Rusch, institutional advertisement, Carlson Music — "Great imagery; messaging is very clear. Ad is eye catching and overall excellent presentation."

• Izzy Rusch, best advertisement, pizza — "Great idea to feature a pizza for coupons and promotions. Caught my eye and made me read it through. Really jumps off the page."

• Izzy Rusch, use of color in advertising, Colors of Cancer — "A unique idea that includes a lot of nuanced colors blended with an eye of aesthetics and careful not to overwhelm readers."

• Eric Morken, sports story, Long Road to the Diamond (on Osakis pitcher Isaac Infanger) — "A unique story, well told. The reporter does a nice job of setting the scene. This kid and his family have been through a lot, and the reporter brings that to life."

• Staff, headline writing — "This paper knows how to have fun with headlines, especially for its centerpieces. The main headlines, combined with subheads, entice readers to delve into the article to learn more."

Second place:

• Deb Zens and Shelly Beaulieu, advertising campaign, Colorful Seasons — "Love how colorful this ad is and how it makes it fun."

• Randy Jansen, best advertisement, Paffrath Jewelers — "Clever idea with the ornaments and use of color."

Third place:

• Randy Jansen, advertising campaign, Paffrath Jewelers — "Clean, sophisticated ads. Nice way to entice customers with images. Good treatment of fonts and type styles."

• Al Edenloff, investigative reporting

• Eric Morken, sports story, Brothers Behind Him — "A nice tale of perseverance, reported comprehensively. As in the first-place story, the reporter writes well and has a good eye for detail. Could have used a tighter edit; probably a bit too long."

• Staff, sports reporting — "Good paper, good coverage, good pictures."

• Staff, editorial portfolio — "Good editorial explaining the Opinion pages. Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down. Some sharp design going on here."

• Staff, use of photography as a whole — "There is no doubt in the pages of this newspaper which photo is dominant. Great technique."

The 2017 awards cover a specific timeline — Sept. 1, 2016, through Aug. 31, 2017.

Celeste Edenloff

Celeste is a reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press and has lived in the Alexandria Lakes Area since 1997. She first worked for the Echo Press as a reporter from 1999 to 2011, and returned in June 2016 to report on the community she calls home. Besides writing articles for the Echo Press, she has a blog, “Newspaper Girl on the Run.” Celeste is on a continuous healthy living journey and loves to teach bootcamp fitness classes and run. She has participated in more than 200 races with her husband, Al, covering the 5K, 10K, 10-mile and half-marathon (13.1 mile) distances.

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