Farm and Dairy wins national, regional awards

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Farm and Dairy staff
Farm and Dairy newsroom staff earned national and regional honors for writing and design. (From left: Rebecca Miller, Sarah Donaldson, Rachel Wagoner, David Hartong and Aimee Tenzek.)

SALEM, Ohio — Farm and Dairy newsroom staff earned top national and regional accolades for writing and design in the 2020 National Newspaper Association and Ohio Society of Professional Journalists contests.

The honors add to the newspaper’s track record of award-winning work, with Farm and Dairy taking top spots in graphic design, agricultural reporting, feature and column writing.

Rain check

Rain check: Weather has farmers scrambling, wondering what future holds,” the front page feature design and story, published July 11, 2019, visualizing the historic annual rainfall in 2019, won first place for best feature design from the Ohio SPJ contest. It tallied an honorable mention for best informational graphic in the NNA contest. The feature was designed by Art Director David Hartong and Managing Editor Aimee Tenzek.

Sarah Donaldson

Donaldson notched high honors in both contests, in her first year working as a professional journalist. Nationally, she was named the third best non-daily rookie reporter of the year, by NNA.

She earned top national and regional awards for her stories on rural broadband struggles and on farmers’ difficulty marketing livestock after Facebook cracked down on animal sales.

Disconnected: Rural students, teachers face limited broadband access,” the first in a three-part series on rural broadband issues, published in October 2019, earned first place from NNA for the best agricultural story of publications with circulations of 6,000 or more.

“She boils down a complicated tech issue to something that people who are busy raising crops and livestock can easily understand,” the NNA judge writes. The judge complimented the importance and timeliness of the issue, and also lauded the graphic design that went along with the story.

“Disconnected” also notched first place trade report in the Ohio SPJ contest. “Really lays it all out there for the reader to grasp the situation, locally and more broadly,” writes the SPJ judge.

‘Do not pass go’: Farmers struggle with bans and ‘Facebook jail’ following a policy update on livestock sales,” published Aug. 8, 2019, earned second place nods from NNA for best agricultural story and from SPJ in the trade report category.

“Excellent reporting,” writes the NNA judge. “This is an example of a business related story that helps people improve their business.”

Donaldson also earned top honors for “Waiting for the applause: Ohio singer works to balance farming, country music careers,” a feature on Ashley Best, published Aug. 29, 2019. The story earned first place from NNA for best feature profile, for non-dailies with circulations of 15,000 or more.

“This is a fascinating, well written story about a man with dual passions,” writes the NNA judge. The feature also earned second place in the trade publication personality profile division for SPJ.

Rebecca Miller

Miller, editor-in-chief, earned top national honors from NNA, in serious column writing, for all publications with circulations of 12,000 or more. SPJ also named Miller top trade columnist.

“Miller is a talented wordsmith whose insights inspire and encourage her readers of the agricultural publication she edits,” writes the NNA judge.

Rachel Wagoner

In her first year at Farm and Dairy, Wagoner notched her first journalism award. “Doing it all: Farm accident survivor makes it work 20 years after losing arm,” a feature on Julie Prentice, published Aug. 29, 2019, was named the best trade publication personality profile by SPJ.

“Loved the lede. Gripping story. Really felt the suspense looking back at the accident,” writes the SPJ judge.

There were a total of 1,469 editorial and advertising entries in the NNA contest, with a total of 523 awards given to 92 member newspapers, in 34 states. In the SPJ contest, there were 239 awards, out of 472 entries. The contest is sponsored by the Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus chapters of the organization.

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