Echo Press wins 17 awards in Minnesota Newspaper Association contest

The newspaper was honored in several categories: general excellence, reporting advertising, editorial page, sports, headline writing, photography and more.

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This photo by photographer Lowell Anderson received a second place award at this year's Minnesota Newspaper Association Better Newspaper Contest. It shows children climbing on ropes on a warm day last spring at St. Mary's School in Alexandria.
Alexandria Echo Press file photo

ALEXANDRIA — The Echo Press had another successful year in the Minnesota Newspaper Association’s Better Newspaper Contest, winning 17 awards in several categories – general excellence, reporting, advertising, editorial page, sports, headline writing, photography and more.

The awards were announced Thursday, Jan. 27 at the MNA’s 155th annual convention in Brooklyn Park.

Contest winners in the MNA's Better Newspaper Contest are determined by judges from award-winning newspapers in other states.

Here are the awards the Echo Press received:

General excellence, second place. Judge comments: “This intensely local paper connects readers with the people, issues and breaking news events in their community. It is useful and relevant in a way that it would keep readers coming back.”


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The Echo Press received a second place award for General Excellence, which encompasses all content in the newspaper, including news, advertisements, sports, Life and more.

General reporting, first place. Judge comments: “I loved the variety of stories in this publication, and the content of those stories. From hunting, to soldiers, to COVID, to several other subjects, I found myself reading nearly every story on every page. Great job with a variety of interesting topics in each issue! Something for everyone in this paper.”

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The Echo Press received a first place award in the General Reporting category.

Advertising excellence, first place. Judge comments: Great paper! Nice looking ads, good use of color, clean layout, wonderful ad support and a strong classified section.”

Editorial page as a whole, second place. Judge comments: “Really like the local feel to this page with local columnists, editorials and letters.”

Headline writing, second place. Judge comments: “A lot of jingle” – I love this headline for a lot of reasons, but it would've been really easy to have some cliched Christmas reference here, and you skipped it. I like the "a lot of jingle" that refers to both change/money and the event. Very clever without being over-the-top. "Soaking up festival fun" is the perfect heading for that fun photo; "In 2020, anything can happen" with the snow for the record books – isn't that the truth? Great job – it's clear you have fun writing these when it's appropriate but are still able to strike a balanced tone.”

Institutional advertisement, first place for an ad featuring the Alexandria Golf Club created by Scott Teaser and Katie Hastings. Judge comments: “Clean and attractive presentation. Juxtaposition of golf balls with Christmas ornaments is subtle but quite creative.”

This Echo Press ad earned a first place award for institutional advertisement in the Minnesota Newspaper Association contest.

Photography feature photo, second place for Lowell Anderson’s photo, “In like a lamb.” Judge comments: “I love the low perspective shooting up at the kids and the tangle of the ropes. A technically difficult shot considering the backlighting.”

Typography and design, second place. Judge comments: “Well-designed and well-organized. Excellent use of photos, with varied sizes and subject matter. Labels, mug logs, folios and fact boxes look sharp. The photo fade in the Nov. 20 nameplate was the most effective of your three submissions in terms of readability.”

Self-promotion or house ad, first place for the Most Personable Baby Contest ad created by Kate Henderson and Brenda Lawrence. Judge comments: “Nice use of color without overdoing it. Good composition.”


The Echo Press ad for the Most Personable Baby Contest received a first place award for best self-promotion or house ad.

Self-promotion or house ad, third place for the ad for the “Light up the Night” contest created by Michelle Weller and the Echo Press Creative Team. Judge comments: Use of the name tag and ribbon instead of an overused starburst sold me on this.”

Sports reporting, third place. Judge comments: “Clear, concise writing and a wide-ranging approach to sports make the staff's approach a success.”

Human interest story, third place for the story, “Getting his life back,” written by Celeste Edenloff. Judge comments: “A daughter's love for her dad comes through in this human interest article about a liver transplant. The writing is strong and really tells the story.”

Sports feature story, third place for the story, “Commitment to teaching tennis takes a break,” by Jared Rubado. Judge comments: “Strong writing allows the reader to appreciate the passion the tennis coach (Dave Ronning) has for his sport.

Advertising campaign, third place for an Alexandria Bike Shop ad campaign created  by Jen Vraa and the Echo Press Creative Team. Judge comments: “Very clean ad campaign with call to action.”

Best advertisement, third place for an ad for Anderson Florist created by Shelly Beaulieu and Mollie Burlingame. Judge comments: “Loved the use of colors and photos.”

Classified advertising section, third place. Judge comments: “Clean, well organized.”

Use of photography as a whole, third place. Judge comments: “Great photographs that showcase the stories. Number of photos to edit is very high.”


The Pine Knot News won the Mills Trophy, which is awarded to the weekly newspaper that collects the most points in the contest, while the Rochester Post Bulletin received the Vance Trophy, given to the larger newspapers.

Al Edenloff is the editor of the twice-weekly Echo Press. He started his journalism career when he was in 10th grade, writing football and basketball stories for the Parkers Prairie Independent.
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