The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

March 24, 2012

Kazek honored for columns in CNHI contest

For The News Courier

- — Kelly Kazek, managing editor of The News Courier, last week was named Columnist of the Year in the CNHI Better Newspaper Contest.

Judges said of Kazek’s columns, which won in the small daily newspaper category: “Her columns are a treat to read. She writes in a conversational, witty and entertaining way. She has fun with her columns and you know she is having a good time while writing them. The beneficiaries are her readers.”

The contest is held annually by Community Newspaper Holdings Inc., the Montgomery-based company that owns The News Courier and 119 other newspapers in 22 states.

The overall winner of the contest was The Joplin Globe in Missouri, which was honored for its comprehensive coverage of the deadliest tornado to strike a U.S. community in six decades. Judges named The Globe “Newspaper of the Year” in the contest’s largest circulation category and also awarded it first place for public service, citing the paper for reporting on every conceivable angle of the twister that killed 162 people, injured hundreds, and caused an estimated $1 billion in property damage.

The judges – a panel of six CNHI editors and one publisher – praised the paper for remarkable team journalism even as staff members coped with the personal duress of losing their homes or apartments in the disaster. One news designer lost his life.

Katherine Miller, advertising director for The News Courier and a former member of The Globe staff, was in Joplin at the time of the tornado and sustained slight injuries when the Walmart was struck.

“The enormity of the tragedy would have been a challenge for any size news organization,” said Bill Ketter, chairman of the judging panel and CNHI’s senior vice president of news. “But instead of being overwhelmed by the complexity and confusion of the disaster, The Globe newsroom rose to the challenge in the finest journalistic tradition of serving its community.”

The News & Tribune of Jeffersonville, Ind., won “Newspaper of the Year” honors among smaller CNHI dailies for serving its community in print and online with a “robust diet” of lively and helpful local stories and photos.

“There was a strong sense of place throughout the paper – from its comprehensive election guide to the colorful police blotter reports to a compelling special on the 9-11 anniversary that engaged readers through the use of social networks,” the judges said.

The Andover, Mass., Townsman was named “Newspaper of the Year” among non-dailies.

Judges selected the Traverse City, Mich., Record-Eagle as the “Website of the Year” among the larger dailies. The Lebanon, Ind., Reporter won that honor in the small dailies category, and the Crossville, Tenn., Chronicle for non-dailies.

Judges selected The Andovers, produced by The Eagle-Tribune of North Andover, Mass., as the “Magazine of the Year,” lauding it “for sophisticated style, spectacular photography and superior content.”

The Gloucester, Mass., Daily Times won a public service award for a series of stories about drug addiction and overdose deaths in the community. The public service award for non-dailies went to the Suwannee Democrat of Live Oak, Fla., for its in-depth coverage of a countywide referendum to repeal a ban on alcohol sales.

Individual honors were awarded to the following journalists:

• Reporter of the Year: Keith Eddings, Eagle-Tribune, North Andover, Mass. (large dailies); Mary Wade Burnside, Times West Virginian, Fairmont, W.Va. (small dailies); Dustin Luca, Andover, Mass., Townsman (non-dailies).

• Columnist of the Year: Carol Stark, Joplin, Mo., Globe (large dailies); Kelly Kazek, The News Courier (small dailies); Keith Kappes, Grayson, Ky., Journal-Times (non-dailies).

• Editorial Writer of the Year: Ken Johnson, Eagle-Tribune, North Andover, Mass. (large dailies); Kelly Hawes, Logansport, Ind., Pharos-Tribune (small dailies); Keith Kappes, Morehead, Ky., News (non-dailies).

• Sports Writer of the Year: Matt Williams, Salem, Mass., News (large dailies); Matt Koesters, Jeffersonville, Ind., News &Tribune (small dailies); Denis House, London, Ky., Sentinel-Echo (non-dailies).

• Photographer of the Year: Angie Beaulieu, Eagle-Tribune, North Andover, Mass. (large dailies); Chuck Branham, Jeffersonville, Ind., News & Tribune (small dailies); Tim Jean, Derry, N.H., News (non-dailies).

• Designer of the Year: Joe Myers, Eagle-Tribune, North Andover, Mass. (large dailies); Jim Reily, Newburyport, Mass., Daily News (small dailies).