The Journal Gazette on Friday received the Hoosier State Press Association's Blue Ribbon Award given to newspapers judged to be the best in Indiana.
The award, presented each year to one daily and one non-daily newspaper, is the highest accolade of the HSPA Foundation's Better Newspaper Contest. It is based on an overall evaluation of editorial quality.
Judges from Kansas determined this year's Better Newspaper Contest winners, including the Blue Ribbon Award winner. The judges reviewed newspapers published from May 1, 2019, through Dec. 31, 2020.
The Hoosier State Press Association received 1,635 entries from 61 newspapers across Indiana.
This is the second time The Journal Gazette has won the Blue Ribbon Award. The newspaper won the award in 1990. It placed second in the Blue Ribbon contest in 2014.
“To be recognized as the best daily newspaper in the state is obviously an honor any year and I couldn't be more proud of our staff,” Journal Gazette Publisher Sherry Skufca said. “That we accomplished this while working remotely for almost 16 months is a testament to the staff's commitment to our mission, to individual initiative, and to the hard work necessary to communicate and collaborate under those circumstances.
“We worked hard to make sure our readers had the information they needed to protect themselves and their families during the pandemic, but also to deliver on our traditional role as watchdogs and to find local stories and photos not pandemic-related so we weren't just all COVID all of the time.”
The Journal Gazette also won two first-place awards.
Editorial Page Editor Karen Francisco won first place for best general commentary – “Taking the lead,” “Wired for learning” and “Keeping you informed.”
The newspaper staff won first place for best website.
Other awards given to Journal Gazette staffers:
• Jamie Duffy and Matthew LeBlanc, second place, best news coverage under deadline pressure, “Police deploy tear gas on downtown protest.”
• Jamie Duffy, third place, best news coverage with no deadline pressure, “Sex trafficking raising red flags.”
• Mike Moore, second place, best general news photo, “A second chance at freedom,” and third place, best sports action photo, “TinCaps versus Lansing.”
• Michelle Davies, third place, best portrait, “718 pairs of socks – and counting.”
• Staff, third place, best newspaper design.
The Herald Journal in Monticello received the non-daily Blue Ribbon Award.