The Record Newspapers won seven awards, including three first place plaques, in the Illinois Press Association's 2017 Excellence in News contest.
The awards were announced during the IPA's annual convention held in Bloomington-Normal Friday, June 8.
More than 100 daily and non-daily newspapers competed for awards in the contest's 36 editorial categories. The Record Newspaper group, which includes the Oswego Ledger, Kendall County Record, Plano Record and Sandwich Record, competed for awards with weekly newspapers from across the state.
Tony Scott, the Record Newspapers' news editor captured a first place award in the News Reporting-Single Story contest category for his article marking the 10 year anniversary of an auto crash in Oswego that took the lives of five area teens. The driver in the crash was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and sentenced to jail.
IPA judges commented on Scott's article: "A properly sensitive telling of a terrible tragedy. The tone of the piece perfectly captured the emotional nature of the subject matter and drew the reader in, making them empathize with the family. Also, the program tie in was a nice informational piece that encapsulates the current news surrounding the event."
The Countywide feature section, inserted in each weekly edition of the Oswego Ledger, Kendall County Record and Plano Record, won top honors in the Lifestyle Section contest category. Candy Johnson, editorial assistant, and Julie Beaulieu, production editor, oversee the production of the section each week, assisted by Editor John Etheredge.
Steven Buyansky, a long-time freelance photographer for the Record Newspapers, received a first place award in the Photo Series Category for his photo coverage of the events held last July when the Vietnam Traveling Wall was on display in Prairie Point Park in Oswego.
In the contest's Business and Economic Reporting category, Scott, Etheredge and Erika Wurst, a freelancer, won second place honors for articles published in the Ledger concerning the pending end of production at Caterpillar's Oswego Township plant near Montgomery. Judges commented on the articles: "Good set of stories explains the situation of Cat's closing ... and tells the personal stories of displaced workers."
Beaulieu also won three additional awards for her page design work. She captured second place honors for a page headlined "Property tax bill time is here again." Using artwork and a question and answer format, the page explained the property tax system in Kendall County. The page was published in the Plano Record, Kendall County Record and Oswego Ledger. The judges commented: "Clear, concise and on target! Great way to put taxes into context. Clean layout (easy to follow). Nice graphics. This is a solid contest entry!"
Beaulieu also captured an additional second place and a third place award in the Page Design Category for pages in published in the Kendall County Record.
The IPA, located in Springfield, represents approximately 450 daily and weekly newspapers throughout the state.