Farm and Dairy honored for rural opioid crisis series

Farm and Dairy staff wins eight awards in National Newspaper Association and Ohio SPJ contests

A red pill bottle silo stands next to a distressed barn.

SALEM, Ohio — “Addiction: A Rural Reality,” Farm and Dairy’s three-part look at the opioid crisis has been honored by both the National Newspaper Association and the Society of Professional Journalists in Ohio.

The series, published in November 2017, won first place in the National Newspaper Association 2018 Better Newspaper Contest as the Best Feature Series, daily and nondaily division, with circulation of 6,000 or more.

It also was named Best Trade Report in the Ohio’s Best Journalism Contest, sponsored by the Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus Society of Professional Journalists chapters statewide.

“Kudos for choosing this topic and giving details through well-chosen sources,” wrote one of the judges in the Ohio SPJ contest. “Impressive!”

“We wanted to bring this issue out of the shadows and emphasize the opioid epidemic hits people of every color, religion, age, location and income, including farmers, rural neighbors and your family,” said Farm and Dairy Editor Susan Crowell. “No one wants to talk about it, and that needs to change.”

In addition to reporters Chris Kick, Katy Mumaw and Catie Noyes, the project team included Crowell, Copy Editor Aimee Tenzek, Art Director David Hartong, Graphic and Web Designer Tammy Reese, and Online Editor Sara Welch.

“This was definitely a team effort,” said Crowell, “and I am extremely proud of the work everyone did in making this project a success. Our goal was to raise awareness, not win awards, but having our work validated by other journalists is rewarding, too.”

You can find the series, along with videos, online at

Noyes, Crowell honored

Reporter Catie Noyes also earned honors in both contests, placing second in the Ohio SPJ Best Feature Reporting division for newspapers under 75,000 circulation, with a body of work; second in the National Newspaper Association video journalism division (daily and nondaily, circulation 12,000 or more), for her video that documented the Ohio volunteers who traveled to Kansas following wildfires that hit many ranches there, “Facebook spurs army of Ohio farmers headed for Kansas,” and third place in the NNA Best Feature Story division (nondaily division, circulation 15,000 or more), with “Finding a New Normal,” her profile of Jeff Austin, an Ohio farmer who continues to farm even though he is paralyzed from the waist down.

Editor Susan Crowell was named Best Trade Columnist in the Ohio SPJ contest.

Other awards

Farm and Dairy also won second place in the Ohio SPJ contest for their front page designs, recognizing the work of Art Director David Hartong and Copy Editor Aimee Tenzek.

Farm and Dairy’s website received a second place in the Best Website division in the Ohio contest, the work of Sara Welch, Tammy Reese and Farm and Dairy COO Jordan Roberts.

There were 1,405 entries from 38 states in the NNA Better Newspaper Editorial Contest. In Ohio’s Best Journalism Contest, there were 308 awards announced out of 645 entries submitted.


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  1. I am so glad you received the recognition. The coverage was outstanding and up to par with any paper or magazine in the country. Regular readers already know that and it’s good others will learn.

  2. I believe with all my heart this opioid crisis is another ruse started by our dysfunctional government just because they can. There sadly is a victim and this is the sad part of this so called story.
    The folks that are caught in the middle are those with intractable pain and the trouble they are having getting pain medication they have been getting for years. Doctors that do not have enough confidence in their abilities are now backing away from pain patients solely because of big government looking at them.
    People that farm, mine, construction, and a host of other physical jobs become injured and who is anyone to say they cannot get relief. The government is getting in between what use to be a near theistic relationship between the doctor and patient and this is a sad time for medicine. The only solution is for physicians to man up and prescribe medications that will give patients their God given right for relief. This will eventually be decided in court with civil lawsuits as it comes down to a clash of classes. The worker against doctors who have spent a lifetime in academia and those in horrific pain.
    This is 21st century medicine not being able to stand up to the intrusion of government in their profession and the statistics they spout out on opioids are as skewed as barb wire. Eventually a groundswell of normal citizens will fix this injustice but think about the folks that are paying the price daily in chronic conditions that torture them so. The truth will surface eventually about this manufactured crisis and I suspect the DEA. I just retired from the Trades and not once did I see anyone overdose on anything and want you to think about the flipside of this coin.

  3. The series is about as one sided an article can get, but presently I could write a book on the opioid crisis and it would sell and not because I am anymore talented than you but it is in vogue to write anything on Opioids. I wonder if people who take their own lives because of lack of pain control are in the statistics. Would that be labeled an OD or the usual ” died suddenly. This is the first time in 200 years where Medicine tries to put ” Chronic Pain ” in the shadows, and the writer glazed right over that shadow, but there’s something about this shadow that’s different and what’s that? That shadow is from a child of God and being free from pain is an inalienable right in my mind.
    Folks in farming get injured seriously while young and unwise and also when old and believe that they are young.
    Farming and Mining are dangerous jobs and folks have been on opioids for years and no one would know. When that side of the story is told it is only then it becomes an informative series. There’s a gap as large as the Grand Canyon in the series. I give you praise for at least the first half of this tragic odyssey, but most odyssey’s really never have an end that’s pleasing.


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