Springfield Business Journal on Saturday took home 20 awards during the Missouri Press Association Better Newspaper Contest in Lake Ozark.
The awards comprise eight first-place honors, five second-place honors, four third-place honors and three honorable mentions. SBJ was recognized in the Class 2 Weeklies category for a print circulation of 2,001 to 5,000.
Below is the list of SBJ awards, with judges’ comments.
• Best Overall Design
"Creative, well organized and colorful design. Nice use of graphics."
• Best News or Feature Series: "In the Weed" – Reporter Mike Cullinan
"The series gives readers a nice behind-the-scenes look at the cannabis industry through the lens of one company. The reporting is thorough, exploring various aspects of the industry from licensing to production and more."
• Best Columnist-Serious: "Truth Be Told" – Executive Editor Christine Temple
"Attacking issues with sharp intellect, Temple rarely disappoints. She carefully chooses issues that deserve our attention – and then makes us look at them in a fresh light. Her finest quality may be her willingness to provide solutions – to not merely complain."
• Best Story About Rural Life or Agriculture: "Farmers' Rights" – Reporter Karen Craigo
"Great story highlighting the issue and how hurtful it can be to farmers. Fantastic use of quotes and insight from farmers."
• Best Story About Religion: "Mosque draws Muslim professionals" – Karen Craigo
"Well reported. Helped readers understand the impact of not having a cemetery dedicated to one's religion in the community."
• Best Page Design: "Made in the Ozarks" – Designers and Photographers Heather Mosley and McKenzie Robinson, and Executive Editor Christine Temple
• Best Information Graphic: "Women's Workforce Participation" – Designer and Photographer Heather Mosley and Reporter Karen Craigo
"This one flows well. I really like how there was use of visuals (i.e. people walking in a single direction in mass) to further illustrate the "Mass Exodus" portion of the information. For me, that is next level compared to all others submitted. I was actually shocked on how much more the story was told. Great design!"
• Multimedia Reporting: "No Ceiling" – Executive Editor Christine Temple
"The vast majority of locally produced podcasts that I run across aren't exactly engaging – this is quite the opposite. Very well done professional and interesting that I actually listened to from beginning until end."
• Best Local Business Coverage
"Great variety of business stories with solid writing."
• Best Business Story: "Moving Up" – Executive Editor Christine Temple
"Wonderful job of taking a national story and localizing it. The attention to detail is remarkable."
• Best Page Design: "3 New Menus on the Block" –Designers and Photographers Heather Mosley and McKenzie Robinson and Executive Editor Christine Temple
• Best Information Graphic: "Funding Dreams" – Designer and Photographer Heather Mosley
"I like how they devoted a spread to this. The man holding the balloon floating over to the infographic itself brings attention to the infographic. There's a great flow to this piece."
• Best Online Newspaper or Website
"Website is formatted nicely and I like the way content is sorted and displayed."
• Best Front Page
"Great design that adds additional visual dimension."
• Best Feature Story: "The Jobs Journey" – Reporter Karen Craigo
"This article captures such a pivotal moment for so many people during the COVID-19 pandemic as they reevaluate their career paths (either by choice or out of circumstance from losing their previous job). The three women's stories that are included in this piece perfectly capture that change. The writer does a good job of introducing the reader to each woman individually, then weaves their experiences together into the larger story. Well done!"
• Best Columnist-Serious: "Eyes and Ears" – Editorial Vice President Eric Olson
"If you need help understanding quantitative easing, it's hard to find yourself in better hands than in Olson's. He's not afraid to get nerdy and reward his rewards with the hidden knowledge he's uncovered in a Census report or the latest Federal Reserve report. His passion is unmistakable and catching."
• Best Story About Rural Life or Agriculture: "Business on the Vine" – Executive Editor Christine Temple
"Well done providing an in-depth look at the explosion of wineries. Getting the stats on where most winery visitors hail from was a great addition to the story."
• General Excellence
• Best Page Design: "Tech Training" – Designers and Photographers Cynthia Reeves and McKenzie Robinson
• Best Information Graphic: "COVID-19 Look Back" – Designer and Photographer Amanda Miller
"I like the design of the darker background to make the information within the graphic stand out. Good placement of each informational piece to put a lot of information in a space without looking or feeling congested."
Other winners in SBJ's coverage area at the MPA conference were:
• Monett Times, 27 awards;
• Laclede County Record in Lebanon, 21 awards;
• Springfield News-Leader, 14 awards;
• Branson Tri-Lakes News, 12 awards:
• Marshall Democrat-News, four awards; and
• Greenfield Vedette, three awards.
Atlanta-based Chicken Salad Chick made its Springfield debut; husband and wife Garrett and Rose Cochran opened Heirloom Candle Bar; and mobile eatery Girldad BBQ LLC was launched.