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Daily News receives six awards from Iowa Newspaper Association

Mendenhall photo wins Best News Photo

The Newton Daily News received six awards Friday night during the annual Iowa Newspaper Association Better Newspaper Contest awards banquet held at the Des Moines Marriott Hotel.

In the Better Newspaper Contest, the Daily News competes in the circulation class for daily newspapers with less than 10,000 circulation. There are 21 newspapers across Iowa in that circulation class.

Former Daily News staff writer Mike Mendenhall received first and second place in the Best News Photo category.

His winning entry was a photo of Korean War veteran David Gooch searching for names of the fallen with Vietnam veteran Greg “Rocky” Illingworth taken during the 2011 Jasper County Freedom Flight. His second-place entry was a photo of Newton resident Archie Hackney taken as he was rising up to shake hands with President Obama during a May 24, 2012, presidential campaign stop at TPI Composites.

The Daily News also won second place for Best Newspaper Website. It received third-place awards for a video of the Firefighter Memorial Statue dedication last September and for a slide show of photos taken by former Staff Writer John Jennings at last fall’s Bowlful of Blues event.

It was a big night for two other Jasper County newspapers – the Prairie City News and Hometown Press of Sully – as well. The Hometown Press received five awards, while the Prairie City News received two, in the circulation class for weekly newspapers with less than 1,300 circulation.

The Hometown Press received first-place awards for Best-of-Class Advertising, Best Feature Page, Best Use of Graphics and Best Ad Featuring Groceries, Food or Entertainment. LeAnn Hjelmeland received a third-place award for Best Sports Story.

Criste and Peter Scarnati, owners of the Prairie City News, won the Harrison “Skip” Weber Award for Investigative Journalism for their circulation class. This was the first year the award is presented in each circulation class as opposed to one award for weekly newspapers and one award for daily newspapers.

Peter Scarnati also received a first-place award for Best Sports Photo.

At the end of the evening, the Carroll Daily Times Herald was named the Iowa Newspaper of the Year. It was the first time the newspaper ever won the coveted award, and it ended a three-year string of victories for the Des Moines Register.

Until Friday night, since 1998, only two newspapers had won Iowa Newspaper of the Year: The Register and the N’West Iowa REVIEW of Sheldon.

For a complete list of winners, visit A video of the awards presentation is also available at that website.

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