The Platte County Citizen took home 14 awards in the 2017 Missouri Press Association Better Newspaper Contest, more than any other publication in Platte County.
Competing in Class 2 for weekly newspapers (circulation of 2,001 to 5,000), the publication earned five first place plaques. Citizen editor Ross Martin was an individual recipient of 11 of the awards overall.
Winners were announced this past weekend during the MPA’s 151st annual convention held in Springfield, Mo.
“These awards serve as a testament to the hard work of this staff to create a quality publication serving all citizens of Platte County,” Martin said. “We remain committed to high quality journalism with insightful news and opinions relevant to our readership. We would like to thank both our advertisers and readership for their support of this newspaper.”
One of the first-place awards came in the best news or feature obituary category. Martin’s story on the death of 4-year-old Landon Jaros due to complications with cancer detailed the response from Platte City residents and surrounding communities.
“The writer expresses the unity of this community in such a moving way,” the category’s judge wrote. “The photos are an excellent complement. It’s as if the reader is experiencing this loss also.”
In addition, the Citizen won seven awards for its high school sports coverage.
In Class 2, the sports section placed first with the work of Martin, current reporter/photographer Nick Ingram and former reporter Bryce Mereness recognized. Martin also won first place for best sports package for his coverage of the 2016 Missouri State Wrestling Championships.
A story on Ethan Karsten — a 2016 Platte County High School graduate — from state wrestling also placed first for best sports feature story. Martin wrote about his effort to win a third state championship in wake of his older brother’s death just days before the start of the tournament.
The Citizen’s other first place award came for Martin’s photograph of Papay Glaywulu — a 2017 Park Hill graduate — competing in the triple jump.
Martin also won second place for best sports package for coverage of Chris Nilsen’s record-setting season for Park Hill in the pole vault in 2016. Nilsen graduated in 2016 and currently competes for South Dakota University.
Other awards for the Citizen included:
Best news photo — third place for Martin’s picture of Weston resident Patrick Farnan sitting on a bench at his home with Kansas City Chiefs fullback Anthony Sherman
Best front page — third place for Martin
Best overall design — third place for Citizen staff
Best sports feature photograph — third place for Martin’s picture of Karsten kneeling on the mat in a spotlight prior to his state championship match in 2016
Best sports feature story — honorable mention for Martin’s story on North Platte graduate Blake Toliver balancing his rodeo career with high school baseball
Best columnist (serious) — honorable mention for Martin’s work on My Thoughts, Exactly
Best photo package — Martin and former Citizen intern Brent Rosenauer for their two-page spread of pictures from the 2016 Platte County Fair
Best feature story — honorable mention for Martin’s work on the annual whiffle ball tournament Platte County graduate Phil Scimeca helped organize in his neighborhood to benefit charities