Sep. 24—The Lebanon Reporter was recognized as a Blue Ribbon Newspaper by the 2022 Hoosier State Press Association during a luncheon Friday at the Biltwell Event Center in Indianapolis.
It's the highest distinction a newspaper can earn from the trade association founded in 1933 that represents 142 daily and non-daily Hoosier newspapers. The Lebanon Reporter is in the contest's Division 2, non-dailies with a circulation of more than 1,500, but won the blue ribbon distinction among all non-daily newspapers in the state.
The Blue Ribbon selection is based on "depth of coverage, quality of reporting, copy editing, news judgment, content balance, general appearance, originality, reader interest and overall professionalism."
The award was given to the staff as part of the HSPA Better Newspaper Contest. This year's competition was judged by the Tennessee State Press Association.
"I am so proud of our staff and their continued commitment to serving our community," Publisher Amy Winters said. "It's always nice to be recognized by our peers for the work that we do."
Editor Kathy Linton added, "Winning the Blue Ribbon Award is such an honor. I know my staff does a great job, but it's nice to see others recognize it too."
Writer and photographer John Flora earned a first place in the Best Spot News Photo category for a photo of a Thorntown homeowner holding a kid goat. A heat lamp in the goat's pen was blamed for starting the fire that destroyed the man's home.
All first place photos in each category are entered into a secondary contest, and Flora's photo went on to win Photo of the Year, the top honor for photos in the contest. Flora also earned third place awards for Best General News Photo and Best Multiple Picture Group.
The Lebanon Reporter staff also won first place for Community Service for pre-coverage of the May primary election and partnering with a grassroots group to conduct a candidate forum for candidates in the hotly contested race for Boone County Sheriff.
Sports Editor Will Willems earned a first place for Best Sports Action Photo for his photo of Cord Barricklow of Lebanon wrestling a steer in a rodeo at the Boone County 4-H Fair. Willems also won third for Best Sports Feature Story.
Writer and photographer Jacob Musselman won a first place for Best Feature Photo with his shot taken through the legs of a Lebanon Leprechauns basketball player during practice.
In all, The Lebanon Reporter journalists won 16 awards, including a second place award for Best Website.
Linton took second place for Best Editorial Page.
Linton and reporter Maria Flora won second place for Best Headline Writing. Maria Flora and Musselman took a third place for Best In-Depth Feature.
Reporter Gus Pearcy earned a third place for Best Profile Feature; reporter Melissa Gibson won third for Best News Coverage With No Deadline Pressure; and designer Quintin Harlan took third for Best Newspaper Design.