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Earl Johnson and his English setter, Lars, This photo won first place in the portrait and personality category.

DL Newspapers wins big at MNA

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It was a good year for Detroit Lakes Newspapers, which took home a bushel basket of Better Newspaper awards from the Minnesota Newspaper Association convention in Bloomington last week.

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The newspaper won seven first-place awards, nine second-place awards and an honorable mention.

The Detroit Lakes Tribune won first place for general excellence in its circulation category (weeklies 2,501-5,000).

The contest was judged by journalists from the Michigan Newspaper Association.

"The layout is outstanding," the judge wrote. "Community newspapering is no accident with the Tribune -- you can tell they care about their readers. I really liked this newspaper, from opinion pages to solid advertising, it's easy to read, organized and has strong classified pages.

"The use of photography was wonderful. The Tribune deserves top billing. You should be proud of your publication, I'm sure your readers are."

The Tribune also took first place in sports reporting.

"From the front page to the last, this newspaper really cares about sports coverage," the judge wrote. "The layout, photography and writing pulled me through the pages. The newspaper also covered all the sports, and it is clear the Tribune is the place to go if you want sports information. Nice work, sports department!"

And the Tribune also placed first in Advertising Excellence.

"This paper was chock-full of promotional features," the judge wrote. "Color was very well used for the most part, and it was obvious that people involved in advertising have a flair for it.

"I'm sure the staff is small, but leadership, salesmanship, graphic talent and teamwork were all evident from the volume, the quality of the ads and the nifty promotions they produced."

The classified section, the judge added, "came with attractive classification headings and type that's easily large enough to read."

The newspaper took second place in the categories of typography and design, general reporting and best website.

Individual first-place winners included Advertising Manager Mary Brenk for best advertising campaign.

Brenk and production staffer Luanna Lake also won first place for best use of color in advertising, and advertising rep Dave Aune and production staffer Pam Bauer won second place in that category.

Sports Editor Brian Wierima won first place in the very competitive category of human interest story for a piece on the Palmer House Hotel headlined "America's Most Haunted?"

Reporter Riham Feshir won second place for a story about a vigil for Mahnomen County Deputy Chris Dewey. There were 90 entries in that category.

Feshir also won second place in social issues feature story, for a story on "sexting." There were 62 entries in that category.

Eric Bergeson won honorable mention for best columnist.

Photographer Brian Basham won first place in the "portrait and personality" photo category for a shot of a hunter and his long-tongued dog, and second place in the news photo category.

The newspaper also won second place for its information graphics and graphic illustrations.

And it won second place in the circulation promotion category -- with credit going to Circulation Manager Viola Anderson, production staff Pam Bauer and Luanna Lake and advertising staffer Ashley Drewes.

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