REGIONAL — The Timberjay was among the top award winners at last week’s annual Minnesota Newspaper Association convention held in Brooklyn Park. The Timberjay won a total of 12 awards, …
REGIONAL — The Timberjay was among the top award winners at last week’s annual Minnesota Newspaper Association convention held in Brooklyn Park.
The Timberjay won a total of 12 awards, including first place for General Excellence in its size category and six other first-place awards. That included first-place honors in Typography and Design, Editorial Page as a Whole, Hard News, Sports Feature Story, and Advertising Excellence.
Timberjay Publisher Marshall Helmberger also won both first and second place in Investigative Reporting, winning the top award for the Timberjay’s examination of a questionable hiring decision at the Department of Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation. “This article did everything a good investigation should: identify a problem, explain what is wrong, elicit outrage and— most importantly— lead to a positive change,” wrote the judges in comments included with their decision. “And it was loaded with great details and facts, such as the midnight posting and the comparison of the two candidates’ resumés.”
Helmberger also won second place in the competition for the Herman Roe Award, a special award given to the top editorial in the state among all newspapers. Helmberger’s winning editorial cited the former Tower City Council’s failure to seriously address major errors in the August 2018 primary election, during which nearly 20 percent of the city’s voters had their ballots disqualified due to poor election oversight. The Timberjay also won in the category of Social Issues Story for its report on the fight by former Tower School cook Marilyn Turnbull to achieve fair pay. Other second-place awards included General Reporting and Editorial Portfolio.
“The consistent strength of the Timberjay’s editorial page came through in the MNA’s contest this year,” said Timberjay Publisher Marshall Helmberger, noting that the newspaper won either first or second place in every editorial category.
The contest’s judges consistently lauded the Timberjay’s work. “Readers get a lot for their dollar,” wrote the judges in their comments on general excellence. “Strong coverage of local government and the schools; many interesting features and best-in-class outdoors coverage. The Timberjay offered the most comprehensive coverage of any of the entries.”
Commenting on the Timberjay’s editorial page, the judge’s called it “well-designed,” and enticing. “Editorials wade into the weeds of a topic, such as rural broadband. Letters [from readers] are plentiful, too. Columns add edge and personality.”
Even in awarding second place for General Reporting, the judges heaped praise on the Timberjay. “This is another paper that appears to do a very good job for its community. Nice use of typography, decent photography, and excellent writing. If MNA allowed ties, this would have been tied for first.”
The Timberjay won two separate awards for its story on the falsification of official records at Tower City Hall by the former clerk-treasurer. While the exposé took second in investigative reporting, it won first place in the category of Hard News. “This thorough investigation is a game-changer,” wrote the judges. “The writing and graphics make it easy to understand the apparent scandal.” The former clerk-treasurer is facing prosecution for the falsification of official records, which is a violation of Minnesota criminal statutes.