The Sedalia Democrat received five first-place awards, including two for its coverage of the May 25, 2011, tornado, and 11 awards in total in the Missouri Press Association’s 2012 Better Newspaper Contest.
The awards, for work completed in 2011, were given out Saturday during MPA’s annual convention in Columbia.
Managing Editor Dennis Rich and Editor Bob Satnan took first place for best breaking news story for their reports on the tornado. The category judge wrote: “Nice coverage of a major storm. ... Package takes first on merit of the photos, column, local accounts, etc. Well-rounded coverage.”
Photographer Sydney Brink was awarded first for best news photograph for his image of resident Joe Horacek amid the destruction. The judge wrote: “Emotional, gut-wrenching, truly awesome photo.”
Satnan also won first in editorial writing for his piece criticizing the Sedalia City Council after it voted down erection of a cell tower on the city’s east side. “Nice job calling bone-headed local officials on to the carpet for bad decision-making. ... Excellent work,” the judge wrote.
The Democrat’s sports pages and editorial page also were named best among Category 2 daily newspapers, those with circulations between 5,000 and 14,000. Of the sports pages, the judge wrote: “Great design, like the rail with ‘Athlete of the Week’ and ‘Quick Hits.’ Good local writing. Great emphasis on local content over wire. Overall a nice, easy to read, well-designed, content-heavy sports section. Well done.”
The editorial pages judge wrote: “The clear winner in this category. Nice use of color, photos, cartoons and comics. Nice looking pages. Impactful editorials.”
The paper finished second in best local business coverage and third in best news content; Brink took third in sports photography. Satnan received honorable mention for both education reporting and stories about rural life or agriculture; news assistant Latisha Koetting also received honorable mention in best story about history.
The Columbia Missourian was named the Gold Medal winner in Category 2.