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Newspaper honored for Web site

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DETROIT LAKES - Detroit Lakes Newspapers won three first-place and two second-place awards Thursday in the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Better Newspaper Contest in Bloomington.

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The newspaper won first place in the Best Web Site category (www.dl-online.com) for weeklies over 5,000 circulation.

Judges from the Colorado Newspaper Association had this to say:

"Only a few clicks gets readers to a story that has been localized, torn from national headlines, brought home through quotes from members of the local community.

"It is clear that this Web site is updated frequently and offers readers a hyper-local sense of community. As with all community newspapers, a healthy sports section, replete with preps coverage, makes all the difference."

Judges said the site offers "great functionality in that the left-hand navigational rail contains many different subjects. Multimedia components, like the photo galleries, are at the top of the page, front and center, exactly where they should be ... Also, having a weather module available as one of the first items the eye tracks towards is essential in providing a valuable community resource."

Advertising on DL-Online "subscribes to the theory that a large banner placement at the top of the page can be sold at a premium, while other ads (below the fold) can be more plentiful and therefore sold for less."

Photographer Brian Basham won first-place awards in the Photo Story and News Photography categories.

The photo story was of last year's Polar Fest. "Great imagery," the judge wrote. "I could feel the coldness of the event. Awesome focus!"

The news photo was taken at the return of local National Guard troops after their tour in Iraq. The photo shows a couple walking away, coming together by holding hands, yet with a distance between them.

"This one breaks all the rules," the judge wrote. "No faces, not a tight crop, not close, but it sends a unique message of the isolation couples face at this time. Makes the viewer think!"

Editor Nathan Bowe won second place in the Best Local News Story category for weeklies with a circulation of 10,000 to 17,000 for a series of stories on an assault incident involving former Detroit Lakes Superintendent Mark Adams.

"Great writing and reporting style makes this an intriguing story to follow," the judge wrote. "Good job keeping the story facts organized and in front of readers at all times."

Connie Klopka won a second-place award in the Best Institutional Advertising category for her "knowledge is prevention" piece. "Great concept and message," the judge wrote. "It really makes a strong point and is effective, positive advertising, Nice clean layout."

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