Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

Observer Wins More State Press Awards

LINCOLN – The vital role of community newspapers in open government and keeping citizens informed was a central theme of last week's Nebraska Newspaper Annual Convention – and the Observer was rewarded for its commitment to the cause with several awards for excellent work in 2022.

The event at the Lincoln Marriott Cornhusker Hotel celebrated NPA's 150th anniversary year in grand fashion with three days of festivities, meetings and professional sessions, including the annual Better Newspaper Contest banquet Saturday that 140 people attended.

At Friday's Gala Banquet, Gov. Jim Pillen extended a gift to his state's newspaper industry. He issued a proclamation to designate June 26-30 as an official week to salute community newspapers throughout Nebraska.

NPA executive director Dennis DeRossett told the awards banquet audience that the special week is a big deal. It will promote newspapers fighting the good fight to benefit the communities that they serve.

DeRossett looked ahead as he looked back on NPA's 150 years.

He told the audience that he hoped those attending the NPA's 175th convention in 25 years will honor their devotion to the industry in this era just as those at this year's convention appreciate those who carried the torch before them.

Another development that excited DeRossett was that National Newspaper Association leaders in attendance announced that they will bring the national NNA convention to Omaha in 2024. More details are in the works.

The Observer's own tradition of success in the newspaper awards contest continued with publisher Jim Orr and reporter/photographer Daria Anderson-Faden winning two awards apiece in newspaper Class B. Each has won multiple awards for three years running.

Orr won first place in headline writing, an honor he previously earned in Kansas and Montana newspaper association contests. This award was for a selection of headlines he wrote for the Observer's Feb. 10, 2022, front page – including the headline "A Perfect Landing" for the story about Kimball airport pilot Ed Nelson joining the Nebraska Aviation Hall of Fame.

Orr also won first place for his work on Observer Classifieds for the second straight year, and he was recognized at the awards banquet for winning the contest to design the NPA's 150th anniversary logo. NPA is using the logo all this year, and it was displayed prominently during the convention.

Anderson-Faden, meanwhile, won third place in news writing for her June 30 article about suicide victim Nick Gehrig and his story drawing attention to a new suicide prevention hotline.

Anderson's other award, third place in breaking news photography, was for her Jan. 13 picture of traffic stuck on Chestnut Street near the Kimball underpass after 11 inches of snow fell on the area.

Members of the West Virginia Press Association judged this year's contest.

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