U.P. newspapers win major awards

What's happening: The Newberry News and The Marinette Menominee Eagle Herald have both been honored with two major journalism awards for their work in covering hyperlocal news in the Upper Peninsula. The Newberry News repeats as the Michigan Press Association’s Class D Weekly Newspaper of the Year, which is given to the best weekly newspaper in the state based on subscription size. The Eagle Herald won the Division B Newspaper of the Year through the Wisconsin Newspaper Association, but most of the award-winning stories and features were based on U.P. issues, including first place honors for stories covering U.P. residents competing in a world championship swimming event overseas and Menominee city and school board meetings. 

The awards continue a trend of increased recognition for local newspapers covering issues in the Upper Peninsula. With other finalist positions for the Iron Mountain Daily News and Houghton’s Mining Gazette, U.P. newspapers set a record amount of awards received from their respective state associations than ever before.

Statewide victories: Unlike television and radio broadcasting awards that are divided into regions across the state, the Michigan Press Association and Wisconsin Newspaper Association divides nominees into categories based on subscription size and publication frequency. This means that smaller newsrooms with lower budgets and less opportunity to show their work will be compared to each other, while the big newspapers downstate can also be directly compared. 

The Upper Peninsula as a region does not have a large enough newspaper to qualify for the largest two divisions in both the weekly and daily categories, meaning that most of the local publications are also competing against each other for recognition. However, that means that the awards won by each publication are the best that Michigan has to offer.

What they're saying: “This award is energizing,” Carol Stiffler, editor of The Newberry News, said in a statement. “We aim to get better and better, raising our own standards while serving this area. A community needs a newspaper for so many reasons – an archive of local history, a method of accountability for local leaders, and a common place to get to know each other. I love that this is our job.” 

“This might be the best showing we’ve had from our editorial staff in my 33 years at the Eagle Herald,” senior reporter Dan Kitkowski said. “They all are excellent and devoted in what they do. What a talented group.”

What's next: Local newspapers will continue to write stories, take photos and arrange the pages, with new content being eligible for next year’s awards. 
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