Times wins six awards in state contest
News · February 08, 2018

The West Branch Times earned six statewide awards Friday night, covering news, photography, graphics and design.

The Times competed in the Iowa Newspaper Foundation’s Better Newspaper Contest in the Weekly Class I division for newspapers with up to 1,001 circulation and earned four first-place awards and two second-place awards.

First-place awards included three for reporter and editor Gregory R. Norfleet — Best News Photo, Excellence in Editorial Writing and Best News Feature Story — and another for Best Use of Graphics. Second-place awards included Best Headline Writing and Best Editorial Pages.

“Earning four first-place honors is the highly competitive Iowa newspaper contest is a great accomplishment,” Woodward Communications Group Publisher Jake Krob said. “These awards are affirmation that the West Branch Times is a great small-town paper, and Gregory is a heckuva newsman.”

For Best News Photo, the Times took first place out of 20 entries for an Aug. 31 photo, “Jitters,” of the first day of school showing a girl peeking out from behind her mother while hugging her good-bye.

“This photo captures the emotion and feeling of the first day of school,” wrote the judge. “The eye contact with the little girl and the viewer being on her level draws you in and reminds us of our own first day of school.”

For Excellence in Editorial Writing, the Times took first place among four entries, submitting “Some level of evil” from July 6, “Violence not necessary” from Feb. 16, and “Bridging the school divide” from Sept. 20.

“Well-written and time spent on this is well-apparent,” wrote the judge.

For Best News Feature Story, the Times took first place out of 38 entries for Gregory R. Norfleet’s “Missing high-altitude balloon lands on Von Maur … sort of,” a story about a balloon launched by West Branch Middle School STEM pupils.

“Gregory Norfleet writes the story of the missing balloon like a mystery novel with artful cliffhangers, suspense and payoff,” wrote the judge.

For Best Use of Graphics, the Times took first place out of seven entries.

“I like how the graphs are used in every issue to give the readers a visual on what the article is about,” wrote the judge.

For Best Headline Writing, the Times took second place out of seven entries.

“Informative and readable headlines,” wrote the judge.

For Best Editorial Pages, the Times took second place among five entries.

“Local focus of editorials is nice and page has a consistent look that’s easy to navigate,” wrote the judge.

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