Now in its sixth year in business, the Boyne City Gazette newspaper has received a Michigan Press Association top honor with a first place General Excellence Award win in the MPA’s 2014 Better Newspaper Contest.
The Boyne City Gazette garnered five awards in all in the weekly newspaper class.
“Great paper! Layout, reproduction, color, ads all add up to a great package,” stated the judges in the General Excellence category. “Enjoyed reading stories and photo captions.”
The Boyne City Gazette also took honors for best spot news story, newspaper design, its editorial page and local columnist.
“This year’s set of awards makes me especially proud,” said Boyne City Gazette Publisher Chris Faulknor. “The positive changes News Editor Benjamin Gohs has continued to make to our layout were reflected in the award we received for design.”
The Boyne City Gazette received an honorable mention in the Design Category with judges saying, “Love the modern look and use of graphics.”
Contest results were released to the MPA’s more than 320 member newspapers on Sunday Oct. 5.
“The General Excellence Award is especially significant to me,” said Faulknor. “It is not a recognition of one specific story, section, or layout element; rather, it is the culmination of an overall product that shows top quality. The judges examined three issues of the Gazette, two of which were from dates selected by the contest committee, and decided that we are the top newspaper in our category.”
He added, “The General Excellence Award very clearly shows that our newspaper is on par and exceeding expectations on a state level.
Boyne City Gazette columnist Anne Thurston earned a second-place honor for her “Beautiful Boyne” column.
“Your memories leap off the page and I can see what you are describing,” the judges said. “Your thoughts of the past cross generations with your treatment of them.”
The constant effort to cover the local news and stay on top of the many local happenings was further reflected in the first prize for one of the Boyne City Gazette’s most significant ongoing stories: the Walloon Lake Water System.
Judges in the Spot News Story Category said, “Readers in Michigan are well-served by the newspapers in this category. Reporters used persistence, hustle, snowmobiles, public records, police scanners, and deep relationships with community members to inform the public about a wide range of stories.”
Gohs took a first-place award in spot news for writing the story “$1.3M H2O” but this series has been a team effort with integral efforts made by Faulknor as well.
“The reporter (Faulknor) was barred from a community meeting, but persisted,” said the judges. “Readers were provided with insights into a controversial decision to drop a criminal investigation of the owner of a private water system—and a proposal to purchase the system with $1.3 million in public funds.”
The Boyne City Gazette also picked up a third-place honor for its editorial page.
“I hope our community realizes the Boyne City Gazette couldn’t continue to thrive without its support and help,” said Faulknor. “The fact that they not only subscribe but continue to use our newspaper for their advertising needs shows a level of trust that makes me personally very proud—I’m proud to be a part of this community, and appreciative of their support.”
Faulknor credited this year’s unprecedented honor to the efforts of the Boyne City Gazette’s staff, freelancers, columnists, community partners, loyal advertisers and sponsors, supportive area leaders and governmental officials who continue to recognize the necessity of quality community news.
“What can I say that the judges have not already?” said Gohs. “Out of many quality weekly newspapers across the state, our journalistic peers felt the Gazette was superior.”
He added, “Ribbons and certificates do not drive me or my staff but it’s nice to know someone notices the incredible amount of care we put into gathering local news. Once again I have to thank my mentor up at the Petoskey News-Review—Jeremy McBain—for preparing me for this most noble profession.”