It was announced this week that five of 22nd Century Media's publications received a total of seven awards in the National Newspaper Association's 2014 Better Newspaper Editorial Contest. Nearly 2,250 award nominations were received for the prestigious honors.

NNA Contests and Awards Committee Chair Jeff Farren, president and publisher of Kendall County Record Newspapers Inc. in Yorkville, Ill., announced and congratulated the contest winners in a notification e-mail. The “winners reflect the high quality of publications represented by the association,” Farren said.

Judging was performed primarily by active community newspaper editors and publishers and included retired university journalism professors and retired or former newspapermen and women.

“We deeply appreciate and value the time and talent volunteered by the judges for these contests,” Farren said.

The Homer Horizon
Second Place, Best Feature Series (Daily and non-daily Division, circ. 6,000 or more)
Entry Title: Getting past the preconceptions.
Credit(s): Bill Jones
Judges' Comments: "What a unique idea to write a feature on the different churches that make up your community. It was educational, descriptive and interesting to read about each of the churches. Of particular appeal was how you went behind the walls of the church, so to speak, to give the reader a flavor for the church and the leaders."

Malibu Surfside News
Third Place, Best Feature Story (Non-daily Division, circ. 6,000-9,999)
Entry Title: Malibu musical savant finds voice through music.
Credit(s): Ashleigh Fryer.
Judges' Comments: "Good job drawing us into the subject's world."

Honorable Mention, Best Feature Photo
(Non-daily Division, circ. 6,000-9,999)
Entry Title: Gifts of Song
Credit(s): Chris Bashaw. 

The Northbrook Tower
First Place, Best Humorous Column (Daily & Non-daily Division, circ. 8,000 or more)
Entry Title: Getting back in the saddle at spin class
Credit(s): Dayna Fields  
Judges' Comments: "Yes, this is humorous. Painful, but amusing. Humorous way of pulling reader into the column to share your agony and your self-admitted, not-so-bright decision to do the spinning. You have spun a tale the reader can enjoy and empathize with; plus, you also provided the reader some insight into the decisions that are part of your work week. Well done."

The Orland Park Prairie
Third Place, Best Feature Story (Non-daily Division, circ. 15,000 or more)
Entry Title: Whole lotta filmmakin' going on
Credit(s): Heather Warthen
Judges' Comments: "This story is a delight to read. The writer uses clear short paragraphs, right from the beginning, to bring a reader into the enthusiasm and passion the subject has for both Elvis and film making. The human side of an early Elvis Presley is something a reader feels will be revealed in the film being made and the enthusiasm for the project is contagious because of this writer's enthusiasm. Very good job."

The Wilmette Beacon
First Place, Best Feature Story (Non-daily Division, circ. 10,000-14,999)
Entry Title: Starry night
Credit(s): Joe Coughlin  
Judges' Comments: "Engaging feature from start to finish. Nice turns of phrase throughout and very solid scene setting make this the best feature story in the competition. Nicely done!"

Third Place, Best Photo Essay (Daily & Non-daily Division, circ. 6,000-12,000)
Entry Title: Skylights
Credit(s): Joe Coughlin
Judges' Comments: "Very creative, colorful work. Fireworks are tough to get--let alone with people in the same frame. Love the popcorn in mid-air, the smiles, and the moments frozen. A joy to admire."

Since 2005, 22nd Century Media has rapidly grown to become the Chicagoland area's third largest publisher based on homes delivered to. The company, which has received more than 120 awards in less than a decade, is the proud publisher of 13 hyper-local newspapers and websites, including a dozen throughout the Chicagoland area and the Malibu Surfside News in California.


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