Northern Illinois Newspaper

By Michael McVey

And the winners are …

Scattered from the Mississippi River to the South Suburbs. The Northern Illinois Newspaper Association (NINA) award presentation was held Friday at the Holmes Student Center.

Daniel Riffe, executive secretary of NINA and NIU journalism chairman, said about 70 newspapers throughout northern Illinois are involved in NINA.

The Donald R. Grubb Trophy for best small weekly paper went to The Regional News in Palos Heights. The C.V. Amenoff Memorial Trophy for best large weekly paper went to The Batavia Republican. The cutoff between the two categories is a circulation of 5000.

The James Copley Memorial Trophy for best daily paper was split between The Kane County Chronicle in Geneva and The Dispatch in Moline. Russell Scott, managing editor for The Dispatch, said The Kane County Chronicle would keep the trophy for six months then turn it over to The Dispatch for the remaining six months.

No local newspapers received first place awards in any category, but Riffe said The Daily Chronicle, The Midweek and The Sycamore Republican News received several second and third-place awards and honorable mentions.

The winners all were quite pleased with their awards. “We were very pleased to receive the (group I) award for a fourth straight year,” said Richard Parmater, editor of The Regional News (Palos Heights). “We think that’s a recognition of the newspaper’s enduring quality.”

Parmater said his paper strives to make stories compelling as well as informative and cited strong feature writing and sound reporting as strong points of The Regional News.

Managing Editor Rick Nagel of The Batavia Republican said, “We are pleased to be recognized by NIU faculty and judges. It’s something our reporters and editors can take pride in.”

Nagel said the awards are nice because it is difficult for a small local newspaper to reward its staff with the perks often given out by large publications.

Dave Heun, editor of The Kane County Chronicle said, “We’ve only been a daily for three years and we tied for first in two of those years.” Heun said his staff has worked hard to improve the writing and appearance of the paper and that it was nice of the judges to give credit for the difficulties faced by a small local paper. “But it would be nice to break the tie,” Heun added.

Scott said it was nice for The Dispatch (Moline) to be named among several very good publications who have won the Copley Trophy over the last 10 years. Scott added the point total for The Dispatch came entirely from editorial entries.

“This has been a newsy year with the floods, gangs and crime. We have good people in the right positions to cover these stories,” Scott said.

Riffe said the awards come from the NIU Journalism Department, not from NINA. The award presentation simply is part of the annual NINA conference. About 50 first-place awards were given for individual entries and newspaper departments.

“We are pleased to be recognized by NIU faculty and judges. It’s something our reporters and editors can take pride in.”