Minnesota Daily earns 15 top honors in state newspaper contest

Minneapolis -- The Minnesota Daily, the independent newspaper of the University of Minnesota took home top honors in the state newspaper association's 2009-2010 awards, practically sweeping the association's college awards categories.

The Minnesota Newspaper Association's 2009-2010 Better Newspaper Contest awards were presented Friday at the association's statewide conference in Bloomington.

The Daily earned first-place recognition in the association's categories including: college general excellence; typography and design; use of photography as a whole; and website. Its news staff members also took first place in several reporting and photography categories. Daily staff members also won several second-place awards in reporting and photography categories.

Serving University of Minnesota readers by covering news in and around the university is the paper's first priority, said Devin Henry, co-publisher and editor-in-chief of The Minnesota Daily.

"When I heard how many awards we'd won, it affirmed that we're doing things right," Henry said.

The 111-year-old student newspaper is a perennial favorite in state and national awards competitions. The paper and its staff members earned a number of awards in the 2008-2009 MNA contest. In October, the newspaper earned the Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence competition's Best All-Around Daily Student Newspaper.

The awards "clearly recognize" the caliber of work The Daily's student journalists do, Chris Ison, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who taught many of the students as a professor at the university's School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Ison served as The Daily's editor-in-chief from 1982 to 1983.

"Working at The Daily is pretty close to working at most professional newspapers," Ison said. "They take (their work) seriously and it shows."

Though The Daily is independent of the school, students develop skills through class and then work at The Daily take their craft to the next level, Ison said. Students who start working at The Daily and then take classes tend to rise to the top of the class.

Getting experience at The Daily has been a critical step in preparing many students for working at professional newspapers, Ison said.

Attending the awards ceremony Thursday night that honored winners from daily and weekly papers throughout Minnesota and meeting some of the winners was an honor, said Henry, a Shakopee native.

First place awards
College General Excellence
Typography and Design
General Advertising Excellence
Use of Photography as a Whole
General Reporting -- Mike Mullen, (Bismarck, N.D.)
Sports Reporting -- Austin Cumblad (Waukesha, Wis.)
Investigative Reporting -- Andy Mannix
Feature Writing -- Robert Downs (Chaska)
Social Issues Reporting -- Kyle Potter (Duluth)
Column Writing -- Nora Leinan
Editorial Writing -- John Brown
Sports Action and Feature Photography -- Aleutian Calabay
Feature Photography -- Jules Ameel (Duluth)
Portrait and Personality photography -- Jules Ameel (Duluth)

Second place awards
Multimedia Special Project -- Ian Larson (Redwood Falls)
General Reporting -- Luke Feuerherm (Stillwater) and James Nord (Minnetonka)
Sports Reporting -- Mike Mullen (Bismarck, N.D.)
Investigative Reporting -- Tara Bannow
Arts/Entertainment Reporting -- Jay Boller
Social Issues Story -- James Anderson and Jessica Van Berkel (Roseville)
News Photography -- Jules Ameel (Duluth)

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