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The Lakeland Times | Minocqua, Wisc.

Jim Tait 02/01-02/28/17

home : news : news March 23, 2017

3/3/2017 7:29:00 AM
The Lakeland Times wins weekly 'Best in State' at WNA Awards
37 awards in all including "Best in State," "Best in Division," "General Excellence"
The staff of the Lakeland Times and Northwoods River News show off their combined 54 awards at the 2017 WNA Convention on Feb. 25 at the Marriott West in Madison. Top row, from left is RN news director Heather Schaefer, RN sports director Jeremy Mayo, LT/RN production manager Sasha Case, publisher Gregg Walker, LT sports reporter Ben Gauger, LT features reporter Evan Verploegh, and LT photographer Dean Hall. Bottom row, from left is LT advertising rep Laura Larson, LT news director Brian Jopek, RN/LT reporter Nick Sabato, RN features reporter Kayla Breese, RN/LT reporter Jamie Taylor, and general manager Heather Holmes.
The staff of the Lakeland Times and Northwoods River News show off their combined 54 awards at the 2017 WNA Convention on Feb. 25 at the Marriott West in Madison. Top row, from left is RN news director Heather Schaefer, RN sports director Jeremy Mayo, LT/RN production manager Sasha Case, publisher Gregg Walker, LT sports reporter Ben Gauger, LT features reporter Evan Verploegh, and LT photographer Dean Hall. Bottom row, from left is LT advertising rep Laura Larson, LT news director Brian Jopek, RN/LT reporter Nick Sabato, RN features reporter Kayla Breese, RN/LT reporter Jamie Taylor, and general manager Heather Holmes.
Staff members of The Lakeland Times and Northwoods River News attended the Wisconsin Newspaper Associations annual conference and awards banquet Friday, Feb. 24.
Staff members of The Lakeland Times and Northwoods River News attended the Wisconsin Newspaper Associations annual conference and awards banquet Friday, Feb. 24.
The Awards
First Place: Lakeland Times

• General Excellence, Nov. 20, 2015; May 27, 2016; July 1, 2016, Staff

• Open Records/FOI Award, Lee Lech accused of violent sexual assault, Richard Moore

• Feature (Profile), "The incredible journey," Kayla Breese

• Sports Feature, "Counting on you," Jeremy Mayo

• Feature Photo, "Phoenix rising," Dean Hall

• Photo Essay, Northwoods Wildlife Sightings, Dean Hall

• Overall Page Design, Overall Page Design, Sasha Case

• Page Design - Feature, Feature Page Design, Sasha Case

• Graphics, "The real sunshine week story," Sasha Case

• Best Ad Idea (Series), Featherstone Cabinetry and Design, Tony Loomis, Sasha Case

• Best Special Section, Summer Times June-July, Staff

• Best Advertising Sales Tool, Winter Special Promo, Advertising Department

• Best Newspaper Promotion, #1 News Source, Sasha Case, Dean Hall

• Best Niche Publication - In Paper, 60th Annual Musky Jamboree, Staff

• Best Niche Publication - Out of Paper, Northern Highland American Legion State Forest guide 2016, Staff

Second Place: Lakeland Times

• Second Place, Front Page, October 30, 2015; November 20, 2015; May 6, 2016, Staff

• Environmental Reporting Award, "Clean roads vs. clean water: Can we have both?", Beckie Gaskill

• Ongoing/Extended Coverage, Eliason Trial Series, Jamie Taylor

• Page Design - Sports, Sports Page Design, Sasha Case

• Bill Payne Award, Murphy's Furniture, Sasha Case, Laura Larson

• Best Real Estate Ad, Redman Realty, Sasha Case, Buzzy Mode, Yvonne Immel, Tony Loomis

• Best Use of Local Photography, #1 News Source, Sasha Case, Dean Hall

• Best Newspaper Promotion, Integrity, Lakeland Times Advertising Department

• Best Niche Publication - In Paper, Waterfront, Staff



Third Place: Lakeland Times

• Lifestyle Page or Section, Lakeland Times Outdoors Section, Staff

• "Rookie" Reporter of the Year, Beckie Gaskill - Rookie Reporter of the Year Beckie Gaskill

• Lakeland Furniture, Sasha Case, Tony Loomis

• Best Use of Art Service, Ahlborn Equipment "Sasha Case, Gregg Walker"

• Best Advertising Sales Tool, Small Business Saturday promo, Adv. Department



Honorable Mention: Lakeland Times

• Honorable Mention, Community Service Award, Northwoods Youth Deer Hunt Challenge, Staff

• Environmental Reporting Award, "What are CWD studies telling us?" Beckie Gaskill

• All-Around Newspaper Photography, All Around Newspaper Photography - Lakeland Times, Staff

• Feature Photo, "Happy trails," Jessica Leighty

• Portrait or Artistic Photo, "Family day at the lake," Jessica Leighty

• Photo Essay, Veterans Day in the Northwoods, Dean Hall, Heather Holmes, Jamie Taylor

• Best Grocery Ad, Save More Foods, Sasha Case, Yvonne Immel, Cindy Olson

• Best Restaurant Ad, Dominic's Italian Beef, Sasha Case, Cindy Olson



First Place: Northwoods River News

• First Place, General News Photo, "Rainy bugler," Jamie Taylor

• Portrait or Artistic Photo, "Fair weather," Jamie Taylor

• Page Design - Sports, Feb. 16 1B; Feb. 18 1B; March 3 1B Sasha Case

• Best Real Estate Ad, Redman Realty, Staff

• Overall Page Design, Jan. 23 1B; Feb. 27 1A; March 3 1A, Sasha Case

Second Place: Northwoods River News

• Second Place, Headlines, "Bored to tears," "Coupes and coops," "Bridal wave" Jeremy Mayo, Jamie Taylor, Kayla Breese, Heather Schaefer

• Page Design - Feature, Sept. 5 5B; March 5 4B; March 19 4B, Sasha Case

• Best Niche Publication - Out of Paper, Winter & Snowmobile Times, Staff



Third Place: Northwoods River News

• Third Place, General Excellence, Nov. 7, March 3, May 14, Staff

• Reporting on Local Government, "Coupes and Coops"; "Nuisance violation notices draw complaints"; "After backlash, city to change permit process for tent structures," Jamie Taylor

• Best Niche Publication - In Paper, Hodag Country Festival Preview, Staff

• Local Sports Column, Shoutouts & Callouts, Jeremy Mayo



Honorable Mention: Northwoods River News

• Honorable Mention, Ongoing/Extended Coverage, Ashley Martinson murder trial, Jamie Taylor

• General News Photo, "Orlando victim prayer," Kayla Breese

• Portrait or Artistic Photo, "Coyote Crossing," Dean Hall

• Graphics, Bell Game Infograph, Jeremy Mayo

• Best Niche Publication - In Paper, Holiday Songbook, Staff


Evan Verploegh
Features Reporter


The Times won 37 awards in all, most notably the Best in State category for Wisconsin weekly newspapers at the Wisconsin Newspaper Association awards in Middleton last weekend, competing against 122 newspapers and 3,042 entries. After receiving an award for General Excellence and a second straight Best in Division title, staff anxiously awaited to hear the earner of the largest crystal cup on stage. The rest is a blur of hugs, shouts and photos.

More than 120 Wisconsin publications entered this year's contest, which was judged by the Illinois Newspaper Association. Each year the WNA swaps judging duties with another press association.

The Times' sister paper to the south, the Northwoods River News came home with 17 awards, with five of them being first place honors. Reporter Jamie Taylor was also presented with two Golden Gavel Awards at the WNA ceremony from the Wisconsin BAR, designating outstanding coverage of the justice system by newspaper, television, radio, photography, and websites. Taylor also earned first place honors in General News Photo and Portrait or Artistic Photo.

"I've earned numerous awards for my writing over the years, but this is the first time in my 20-year civilian journalism career that I've had my photography recognized," Taylor said. "To win two first place awards my first time was even more exciting."

Taylor added he won several awards for photography while in the Army, and both he and his editor thought it was ironic that one of the WNA awards was for a photo of a Marine playing taps on a bugle.

"We both knew as soon as we saw it on the computer screen that it was a very strong image," he said. "I'm just glad the judges from Illinois also thought so."

"This is a great accomplishment and I am very proud of our staffs," Lakeland Times and River News publisher Gregg Walker said. "There are very good newspapers in our division and in the state, and competing against 122 newspapers and 3,042 entries to win it all is a fantastic achievement."

"The Lakeland Times pushed the boundaries of traditional layout design creating an interesting publication. Overall, the reporting was balanced and well written with a variety of coverage for the community," read the WNA Better Newspaper Contest publication.

Of the many stars well deserving of recognition, production manager Sasha Case stands out as she received a total of eight first place awards.

Investigative reporter Richard Moore earned himself a first place award in Open Records/FOI from his coverage on former deputy at the Oneida County Sheriff's Office, Lee Lech.

River News sports reporter Jeremy Mayo was awarded first place in the Sports Feature category for his story on new rules surrounding WIAA baseball pitch counts.

"The thing about how that story turned out was that it was a true team effort. We had reporters on both the Rhinelander and Lakeland beats getting a feedback from their coaches. Lakeland coach Mike Wilhelm and Rhinelander coach Joe Waksmonski were both candid and forthcoming with their pitching data as well as their take on how pitch counts could change the game," Mayo said. "Sasha Case, our production manager, condensed the information into an easy-to-understand graphics package and we had excellent photography to accompany the writing."

Mayo also combined with Case to earn a first place award for Sports Page Design/Overall Page Design for the River News. Again, Mayo pointed to the team-nature that both offices rely upon to produce quality content.

"It was such an awesome and rewarding experience to see our team honored the way we were. We have a bunch of people who pour their heart and soul into what we do, and I think that translates into what people read in The Times and the River News. I think part of good journalism - especially small-town community journalism - goes beyond understanding what you are reporting about, it's about truly caring and being passionate about your beat," he said. "Whether it's winning the state's highest honor or someone coming up and saying, 'Hey, I enjoyed your column this week,' it's gratifying to know that our work resonates with so many people. That's the biggest reward of all."

Lakeland Times staff photographer Dean Hall was another earner of first place honors in the both the categories of feature photo and photo essay. Hall said he was humbled by the awards.

"I'm very pleased that many individual staff members were recognized for the quality of the photography in both the Northwoods River News and The Lakeland Times newspapers. I'm also pleased that some of my wildlife photography received first place awards as that is the type of photography I most enjoy taking, and the Northwoods is such a target rich environment." Hall said. "I took special gratification that my shot of an eagle rising out of the water took first place in the feature photo category, for that is the image that my family chose for the prayer and thank you cards used for the services for my father that passed away in January."

Rounding out first place honors in The Lakeland Times/River News family included Kayla Breese for Feature (Profile), whose story on Russian labor camp survivor Lottie Andruscavage. The Times' advertising department earned a first place plaque for best Advertising Sales Tool. The staff also received first place awards for Best Niche Publication both in and out of paper, and Best Newspaper Promotion.

"Of everything that I had submitted, I had hoped 'The incredible journey' series would do well. I had enjoyed talking to Lottie Andruscavage, hearing her story and I wanted to do well by her, so I was ecstatic to see that it had taken first place at WNA," Breese said. "I am proud of everyone's accomplishments at WNA this year. We've worked hard for it."

Walker shared his final thoughts on the event.

"During the convention and after the awards ceremony, I had several editors, publishers and staffers come up to me and say we have a great paper, and they all read it from all parts of the state," Walker said. "I believe recognition from your peers is the highest compliment you can get."

Receiving Best in State honors capped off what was an educational, rewarding and ultimately spirited at the WNA Convention. Congratulations to all of my fellow staff members for continuing work to provide the best news coverage in not only the Northwoods, but the State of Wisconsin.

Evan Verploegh may be reached via email at everploegh@lakelandtimes.com.



Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, March 5, 2017
Article comment by: Vern Moore

My heartiest congratulations to management and staff of The Lakeland Times. I have been a huge fan of this newspaper since I started reading it in 2000.
Not only is it the best weekly around, I think it's the best newspaper in the state. I am envious that we can't get such coverage in Price County.


Posted: Saturday, March 4, 2017
Article comment by: Art DeMartini

Congratulations to The Lakeland Times. Having watched you operate for the past 14 years, and even doing a bit of copy editing for a very brief period there, I recognize the unusual effort to dig deeper into stories and follow them to conclusion. While a lot of national news organizations have devolved into leftist propaganda outlets, The Lakeland Times is still about actual investigation and reporting. Greg deserves a lot of credit. And I have to single out the quality of work done by Richard Moore. Regardless of your politics, you know he outstanding. We are lucky to have him here in the northwoods.



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