Banner staff honored with 67 awards in NDNA contest

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Posted: Friday, May 9, 2014 6:40 am


The Hillsboro Banner won 67 advertising and news awards in the 2013 North Dakota Newspaper Association’s Better Newspaper Contest.

The awards, which included 25 first-place finishes, were handed out at the organization’s annual convention last Friday in Bismarck.

Competing in the midsize weeklies division, the Banner won its second consecutive sweepstakes award, given to the newspaper with the most news, photo and ad awards.

Banner photographer and sports editor Cory Erickson captured 37 individual and shared awards, which included 16 first-place finishes.

The 28-year-old Hillsboro native took top honors for the Banner’s sports pages.

He also won first in sports reporting, sports reporting series, sports column and humor column.

Erickson locked up the top three places in sports photography for a second straight year and swept this year’s ag photo division as well.

His photograph of Buxton dancer Gina Troftgruben placed first in portrait photo while his image of Hillsboro toddler Zachary Tapson mowing in the snow took top honors in news photo.

Erickson’s eight-page insert on Hillsboro-Central Valley’s title-winning cross country team was judged best in special news section.

An Erickson photo of H-CV runners finished first in pictorial photo while his image of in-line skaters won in outdoor recreational photo.

Erickson’s one-page photo illustration showcasing the 2013 H-CV fast-pitch girls softball team beat out the competition in informational graphics.

Banner editor Neil Nelson earned eight awards – including three first-place finishes – in the NDNA contest.

Nelson seized first in government reporting for his story on the departure of Traill County Veteran’s Service Officer Les Ashe, who resigned late last fall.

Nelson took first place in business reporting for his story “Downtown Turnaround,” which covered the renovation of Hillsboro’s Union Block.

He also received first-place honors for his April 5, 2013 editorial focusing on BNSF’s apparent increase in train traffic in Hillboro.

Reporter Cole Short won or was a co-recipient of 15 awards in the Better Newspaper Contest.

Short took first in reporting for the second straight year for his coverage of the American Crystal Sugar lockout.

He also won first in agricultural reporting for a story on Allison and Jon Bertsch, a brother-sister tandem taking over their family farm southeast and west of Hillsboro.

Short finished second behind Erickson in sports reporting series and behind Nelson in editorial writing and government reporting.

Banner columnist Alyssa Short won first place in serious column for her piece on former Banner intern Joshua Berggren, who died last May at age 23.

The Hillsboro Banner staff won first in three advertising categories last Friday: political ad, financial ad and agricultural ad.

The Banner won 50 awards and the “Best of the Dakotas” general excellence trophy at last year’s NDNA banquet, held in conjunction with South Dakota’s convention in Rapid City, S.D.

In this year’s contest, the Banner finished second in general excellence. The Hazen Star, which won 16 awards last Friday, placed first.

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