The Wilton-Durant Advocate News was represented by editor Derek Sawvell in Norfolk, Virginia Sept. 27-29 at the National Newspaper Association’s (NNA) annual convention and trade show, where the AN was given a record nine awards in the annual NNA Better Newspaper Contest.
Sawvell also serves as the state of Iowa’s Ambassador to NNA. The Advocate News has won a total of 14 national awards in the past two years.
Competing primarily in the daily and non-daily division with circulation less than 3,000, the Advocate News won the following awards:
News & Editorial awards
First place—Best Sports Column—AN editor Derek Sawvell’s piece about local teams competing with parochial school Iowa City Regina. Judge’s comments: “Exceptional writing, reasoned analysis, and without hometown paranoia. Derek takes on a testy issue — public school athletic programs competing with private schools and their recruitment options — in a narrative that compels reader understanding. No. 1 on issue and presentation!”
Third place—Best Sports Column—AN editor Derek Sawvell’s look at the use of a “U-S-A” chant at a Wilton football game in which the Beavers were hosting Columbus, a team with a high proportion of minority student-athletes. Judge’s comments: “This writer examines a nationalistic chant usually associated with Olympic accomplishments to note its alternate, negative connotation when repeated at high school athletic events. Derek Sawvell writes with empathy for his readers and subjects. Outstanding narrative, in-depth, with reasoned observations and conclusions determining his outcome. Excellent!”
Third Place—Best Sports Section/Page—Judge’s comments: “Good diversity in sports coverage. Nice photos and layout.”
Honorable Mention—Best Breaking News Photo—Coverage of when a train collided with a semi near Durant Iron & Metal. Judge’s comments: “Composed in a way to show the immense destruction that’s caused when a train collides with a vehicle.”
First place—Best Series Ad Idea, Black & White—Weekly ads for Family Eye Center. Judge’s comments: “It can be challenging to design a very eye-catching black and white ad. The photos you used really caught my eye. Nice job! I really liked the Abe Lincoln ad!”
Second place—Best Advertising Idea—Advocate News Easter egg ad involving finding eggs within ads in the paper. Judge’s comments: “This contest makes the reader look through the entire newspaper to find the Easter eggs. It is a good way to have people read and be engaged with the product.”
Second place—Best Single Ad Idea, Color—Community Bank & Trust Country Connection ad. Judge’s comments: “Of course using a cute kid is always an attention getter, but putting it in full color makes it that much more appealing. Nice ad.”
Second place—Best Small-Page Ad—Port City Underground ad featuring Santa eating pizza. Judge’s comments: “Creative use of theme with easy to read motivating offer. A lot of info in a clean presentation.”
Honorable Mention— Best Small-Page Ad—Ardon Creek Country Connection ad. Judge’s comments: “Clean layout.”