Advocate News receives 5 NNA awards, including best feature photo


The Wilton-Durant Advocate News is typically represented by editor Derek Sawvell at the annual National Newspaper Association’s (NNA) convention and trade show. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the 2020 convention (originally scheduled to take place in Jacksonville, Florida) was postponed to 2021.

Therefore, the 2020 convention was held virtually. The Advocate News was given five awards in this year’s NNA Better Newspaper Contest.

Sawvell also serves as the state of Iowa’s Ambassador to NNA. The Advocate News has won a total of 26 national awards in the past four 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—Photo, Best Feature Photo—An action shot from Wilton High School’s first ever color run held during homecoming week in 2019. Judge’s comments: “This image provides viewers with a good sense of what makes an event like a color run so popular. Good juxtaposition of clouds of color and people having fun. This would have benefitted from being run larger on the page. If it’s good, run with it.”

Third place—Story-Series, Best Non-Profile Feature Story—AN editor Derek Sawvell’s story on the Cedar County Freedom Rock dedication event in Tipton. Judge’s comments: “The artist is amazing, what a gem of a story. Detailing in the article was nice and the layout was good and clear.”

Honorable Mention—Best Sports Column—AN editor Derek Sawvell’s look at determining Durant’s placing at the state bowling tournament. Judge’s comments: “The subject matter of a sports column sometimes transcends sports itself, which is why Derek Sawvell’s commentary about the events surrounding a scoring glitch at a high school state bowling tournament appears in the paper’s main editorial section. A parenthetic reference directs readers to the news coverage of the event in a separate section. Here, however, Sawvell takes news readers on the emotional journey of watching as members of the local team were stripped of their third-place medals because of a tabulating error in a computer scoring program, only to have them reinstated a short time later when, at the insistence of parents reacting to an off-hand remark by a coach, hand-scored sheets were reviewed. Indignation and incredulity vie in Sawvell’s carefully-crafted column, cautioning readers against placing blind trust in technology.”

Advertising awards

Third place—Best Multiple Advertiser Section—Newspaper in Education section featuring ads created by local sixth grade students. Judge’s comments: “Enjoyable section. It’s fun to see these businesses through the eyes of the students.”

Honorable Mention— Best Multiple Advertiser Section—The AN’s annual cosmetology section, featuring ads and bios of local salons. Judge’s comments: “Clean, concise section. Use of a common font throughout makes for easy reading.