Subscriber Login

Forgot Your Username?
Forgot Your Password?
News-Review wins award for ‘best weekly’ PDF Print E-mail

Eight firsts, 17 awards

topped largest division

By News-Review Staff

MADISON — For the second time in three years, the Vilas County News-Review was named the best large weekly newspaper in the state after receiving a company-best 17 Better Newspaper Contest awards last week for writing, photography and ad design.

Contest winners were honored last Friday night at the 160th annual convention of the Wisconsin Newspaper Association (WNA), staged at the Milwaukee Marriott West in Waukesha.

The WNA Foundation received

2,806 entries from 125 newspapers, awarding the News-Review eight firsts, five seconds and four thirds. The News-Review also publishes The Three Lakes News.


The biggest award came at the end of the awards ceremony when, based on total awards points for the 60 largest weekly newspapers in the state, News-Review Publisher Kurt Krueger was presented the trophy for the best weekly in Division D.

It was the third year that the WNA recognized the best daily and weekly newspapers in six classes, with three daily divisions and three weekly divisions. The Vilas County News-Review also won the award in 2012.

Joining Krueger at the awards ceremony were Editor Gary Ridderbusch, Assistant Editor Anthony Drew, Production Manager Jean Drew, Assistant Production Manager Betsy Bleicher and Photo Technician Sharina Adams.

Krueger said the awards place the News-Review as one of the top large weekly newspapers in the state, proven by the Best Weekly Division D award.

“Though we’ve been consistently near the top in many categories for years, it’s an honor to win a second Best Weekly award in the three years that it has been presented for each of the three weekly divisions,” said Krueger. “It means we are inarguably one of the best weekly newspapers in the state.”

Krueger said the paper’s unprecedented 17 awards reflect the excellent work being done by the entire staff, including the printing staff at Wisconsin-Michigan Publishers in Eagle River.

“It is the staff’s commitment to excellence that maintains the quality and consistency needed week after week,” said Krueger. “I truly believe we’ve got one of the best newspaper staffs in the state. Most of the papers we compete with in the large weekly category have more than twice the editorial staff.”

The top awards included first-place plaques for All-Around Newspaper Photography, Editorial Pages, Open Records/Freedom of Information, Special Section-Editorial and Photo Essay in news categories; and the Bill Payne Award, Best Use of Local Photography and Best Newspaper Promotion in the advertising category.

The News-Review has won first place in the All-Around Newspaper Photography category five out of the last eight years.

Of the newspaper’s photography, the judges wrote: “This paper rocks its images. Big and bold and outdoors. Images jump off the pages at the reader. Really nice job Vilas County folks.”

The News-Review also won a first-place award for its editorial pages. The judges wrote: “Great work! Each issue has three pages of opinion columns, readers’ views and the newspaper’s view. I’ll bet these are the first pages Vilas County readers turn to.”

Krueger and Ridderbusch teamed up to win the Open Records/Freedom of Information Award on a story and editorial about the Three Lakes Town Board trying to secure town-related emails from former Chairman Don Sidlowski. The judges wrote: “Good coverage of a rather unique situation involving a former elected official. Informative and well written.”

The News-Review staff also teamed up to win a Special Section-Editorial Award for a section titled “Military Salute 2013.” The special section honoring the military and veterans was inserted in the newspaper prior to Memorial Day weekend. The judges wrote: “An excellent tribute to the many women and men of Vilas County who keep our country free. Great work!”

Krueger also won a first-place award for his front-page photo essay titled, “Spring Show.” It’s the second straight year Krueger won a first-place photo essay award.

Ridderbusch won second place in the Environmental Reporting category on stories related to the battle against aquatic invasive species. The judges wrote: “Fantastic coverage of the problem with introduced species.”

Krueger, Ridderbusch and Anthony Drew won second place for the newspaper’s Outdoors section in the Special Pages category. On this entry, the judges wrote: “Good photos and overall nice work.”

Drew won a pair of second-place awards in the General News Photo and Feature Photo categories for a front-page photo at the Polar Bear Plunge in St. Germain.

The feature photo judge wrote: “There is a clear emotion on the women’s faces, and it was well done to catch the splash without having motion blur on the water or the women’s faces.” The general news photo judge wrote: “Nice moment and anticipation of a wicked cold splashdown. Fun image to view.”

Ridderbusch and Drew teamed up for third place in the Sports News Story category for coverage of the 50th anniversary of the AMSOIL World Championship Snowmobile Derby. The judges wrote: “Engaging read all the way.” The News-Review has won an award for Derby coverage in 12 of the last 13 years, either in the Sports Story or Special Project categories.

The final third-place award in the newspaper category went to Production Manager Jean Drew and Ridderbusch for Overall Page Design.


Advertising awards

On the advertising side of the annual contest, the News-Review was awarded three first-place plaques along with one second- and two third-place certificates.

Bleicher, Krueger and Ridderbusch teamed up to win the Bill Payne Award for the best locally-prepared advertisement of the year. The award recognized the volunteers and supporters of the 50th anniversary of the World Championship Snowmobile Derby. About the ad, the judges wrote: “Really clean and to the point. Love the use of the photos.”

The News-Review also received  first- and third-place awards in the Best Use of Local Photography category.

Bleicher, Krueger, Ridderbusch and Anthony

Drew teamed up for a first-place ad called Best in Nation, highlighting the newspaper’s photography. The judge’s wrote: “What better way to show winners of a photo contest than with photos. Really liked the balance of this ad.”

The group also won third place in the category for the Derby ad called 50 Years. The judges said: “This ad brings the Derby to life. Great photos. Loved the crowd shot that really makes it look like the community is involved.”

Krueger and Bleicher also received first- and second- place awards in the Best Newspaper Promotion category, with first place for April Special and the second place for Best in Nation.

The final advertising award was a third place for Best Use of Art Service. It was presented to Bleicher for the newspaper’s Home Improvement Guide.

Other staff at the News-Review office in Eagle River include Lifestyle Editor Ryan Burgy, Production Technician Carly Ratliff, Circulation Manager Elizabeth Schmidt, Accounting Manager Terry Posto, proofreaders Jacki Risjord and Kelli Bartmann, classifieds consultant Karen Crochiere, and advertising consultants Mary Jo Adamovich, Sandy Roelle, Steve Waier and Marcia Heyer.

Ridderbusch said producing a quality newspaper  wouldn’t be possible without the assistance of freelance writers, including news correspondent Ken Anderson who provides coverage of the Vilas County Board, Eagle River City Council and Northland Pines School Board, and community  correspondents Jan Hintz in Three Lakes, Wally Geist in St. Germain, Sharon Gifford in Phelps, Janet Garling in Conover and Jill James in Land O’ Lakes.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014 3:30 PM
Last Updated on Tuesday, March 04, 2014 3:35 PM

Add comment

Comments exceeding 1,000 characters will not be accepted. Please refrain from using texting language and spell out all words. All comments are reviewed and must be approved before they are posted.

Security code