55th annual HSPA contest open for entries, deadline April 27

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Blue Ribbon Newspaper editors share insights on awards

Journalists do their work as a public service to keep a community informed, to examine and shed light on important issues. Each year, HSPA provides an opportunity to recognize and celebrate that important work.

Entries are being accepted for HSPA’s 55th annual contest honoring the best work produced at newspapers across Indiana.

In 2022, HSPA received more than 1,300 entries and presented nearly 300 awards.
There are 23 categories covering writing, photography, design and multimedia. The last category, the Blue Ribbon Award, honors overall newspaper excellence. One daily and one nondaily are selected each year for HSPA’s highest accolade.

“Each year I start out thinking we don’t have much to enter, but when looking back over a year’s worth of work, I’m always amazed at all of the things we accomplished and the really good work my team has done,” said Kathy Linton, editor of the Lebanon Reporter.

“Our reporters and photographers get excited when I pull out something they did, point out how good it is and suggest they enter it in the HSPA contest.”

The Reporter received top honors as the Nondaily Blue Ribbon Newspaper in 2022.
“Winning the Blue Ribbon Newspaper Award was a big confidence booster for our staff,” Linton said.

“The community that we serve was also very excited, sharing in the glory and taking pride in their local paper again. Readers and advertisers spread the news on their own social media sites and the mayor of Lebanon even made an announcement about it.”

Linton said the paper’s sales rep shares the award-winning status with new clients and that has also helped sell ads.

The Daily Journal in Franklin was recognized as the Daily Blue Ribbon Newspaper in 2022.

“Winning a Blue Ribbon means a lot because the contest is judged by journalists in another state who don’t know the issues facing our community, but can recognize good journalism.” said Leeann Doerflein, editor of the Daily Journal.

“You always hope you’re serving your community well with the topics covered and the quality of your work, but it is such an honor to get that external validation from other journalists,” Doerflein said.

Recognition is a bonus but it can be an important way to help an audience understand the value of their local media outlet.

“In our case, entering the contest is a great way to show readers the value of a subscription; not only are they getting news about Johnson County they won’t find anywhere else, but they are also getting news from one of the best newspapers in the state,” Doerflein said.

While the contest serves to remind the public and advertisers of the good work local media does every day, it’s also a welcome pat on the back for the journalists themselves.

“I would encourage everyone to enter in as many categories as possible in the annual HSPA contest,” Linton said. “Everyone has something worthy to enter and these days we all work too hard not to be recognized.”

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