Leader Publications earns nine statewide awards

Published 9:07 am Tuesday, February 2, 2016

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The four newspapers produced by Leader Publications were recently honored by the Michigan Press Association with nine awards highlighting outstanding journalism.

The Leader Publications staff received awards for news coverage, news presentation, special sections, editorial and column writing.

“I couldn’t be more proud of our entire news team for all the hard work they put into serving our communities and our readers. None of us became journalists to receive awards, but we are truly honored and humbled to be recognized by the MPA and our peers,” said Michael Caldwell, publisher/president of the newspaper group. “Although these awards recognize some amazingly talented individuals in our newsroom, I consider each one to be team honors that are shared by every person on our staff, our advertisers and the entire community.”

Awards came from work produced in 2014 and 2015, and included first- and second-place wins in the best special section category.

“Our editorial team continues to work to improve its reporting skills while enhancing the aesthetic value that is unique to a printed product,” said Ambrosia Neldon, managing editor. “These awards are evident that the work is paying off, and we’re excited to continue to grow and improve in the coming year.”

Caldwell emphasized the importance of newspapers, which has been made evident by recent regional and world events.

“With current events like the unfolding crisis in Flint and the amazing reception of the ‘Spotlight’ movie that showcased the world-changing reporting the Boston Globe did, it is clear that quality journalism is more important than ever and that newspapers are alive and well,” he said. “Those are the pinnacles to which we aspire and I know that these honors only scratch the surface of what we can accomplish.”


Awards included:

• Best special section: First place — Horizons; Second place — Explore Michiana.

• Best page design: First place — Ambrosia Neldon and Ted Yoakum, “A Zest for Life,” Dowagiac Daily News; Second place — Ambrosia Neldon and Craig Haupert, “Summer Brandywine’s Way,” Niles Daily Star.

• Best spot news story in a weekly newspaper: Second place — Scott Novak, “A difficult Choice,” Cassopolis Vigilant.

• Best feature: Second place — Craig Haupert, “Lost and found,” all newspapers.

• Best editorial: Second place — newsroom staff, “Guns have no place in school,” Niles Daily Star, Dowagiac Daily News.

• Best column: Second place — Craig Haupert, “Protecting our white gold,” Niles Daily Star.

• Best government/education coverage: Honorable mention, Craig Haupert, Niles school bond, Niles Daily Star.