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Observer Awarded 1st Place In Excellence

Kimball Paper Wins Seven Nebraska Press Awards

The Western Nebraska Observer, an award-winning powerhouse decades ago, has rejoined the state’s elite weekly newspapers.

The Observer won seven awards – including first place statewide for General Excellence in its class – in the Nebraska Press Association’s 2021 Better Newspaper Contest. Results were announced June 17 during an online video presentation.

General Excellence is a top contest award – an overall evaluation of the newspaper. Judges considered news, content, writing quality, headlines, page design, photos and captions, graphics and art, editorial page, front page, lifestyle and sports pages, reproduction, ad design and content, and treatment of public notices.

The Observer’s strong showing in Class B for weekly papers with a circulation of 860 to 1,499 also included second place to reporter Daria Anderson-Faden and publisher Jim Orr for their commitment to inform readers about the Coronavirus Pandemic. This was a significant, one-time category for the 2020 calendar year.

In individual awards, Anderson-Faden placed first in two categories just two years after joining the Observer as a journalism newcomer.

The former educator and Kimball County commissioner placed first in News Writing for her Jan. 9 article under the headline “In the Dark about the Drones.” Anderson-Faden interviewed authorities across the Panhandle and in Colorado to help make sense of wild speculation at the time about mysterious drones buzzing over the region.

Anderson-Faden also placed first in Youth Coverage for her series of stories about Kimball High School foreign exchange students and their hosts.

Orr, meanwhile, won three individual awards.

He earned second place in the Classified Section category for his work selling, designing and placing Observer classifieds. Judges considered overall attractiveness of pages, ease in reading, clarity of classified headlines, organization, promotion, and ease for readers to place and use classifieds.

Orr also placed second in the Building Circulation competition. This was for his promotions to attract new subscribers during the pandemic, “A September to Remember” and the holiday season.

In addition, Orr took third in the Advertising Campaign category. His winning entry included ads with COVID-19 messages from Kimball County and the city of Kimball to residents early in the pandemic.

Kentucky Press Association members were the contest judges. They critiqued more than 3,100 entries from their Nebraska counterparts.