Advocate News receives four national awards


The Wilton-Durant Advocate News was represented by editor Derek Sawvell in Jacksonville, Florida Sept. 30 to Oct. 2 at the National Newspaper Association’s (NNA) annual convention and trade show, where the AN was given four 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 30 national awards in the past five 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 wrote a column in the fall of 2020 urging area schools to require face coverings at high school football games amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Judge’s comments: “Now that the country is nearing high vaccination numbers, we can look back and know this was a column written with vision and with heart. Excellent points, and a lot of good sense.”

First place—Best Photo Essay—A collection of photos from a tree carving project in Wilton done by a local artist who turned a tree trunk along Fifth Street into a floral piece of wooden art. Photos were gathered by Teresa Benischek. Judge’s comments: “Beyond the provided cutlines, these images alone told most of the story of a tree stump being turned into art. The most effective photo essay is not just a collection of photos, but a sequential display to convey the progression of the story from one image to the next. This entry does that best.”

Honorable Mention—Best Sports Column—AN editor Derek Sawvell’s look at female wrestling, and local girls competing in the state tournament. Judge’s comments: “Good piece and timely, as girls’ wrestling is finding its place in high school sports. Writer brings the girls to us so that we can understand why they want to compete in a boys’ dominated sport. I really enjoyed the read.”

Honorable Mention—Best Sports Section—The Advocate News sports pages from late February 2020. Judge’s comments: “Love your use of photos!”