Vermillion Plain Talk earns top honors at convention The Vermillion Plain Talk came away from the 2001 Better Newspapers Contest with a general excellence honor in its circulation division of weekly newspapers from 1,401 to 2,400.
The award was announced during the annual South Dakota Newspaper Association convention in Spearfish June 8 and 9. The Freeman Courier and Timber Lake Topic placed second and third, respectively, with honorable mention going to the Elk Point Leader Courier.
General excellence is the highest honor bestowed upon papers and is awarded according to their circulation categories. The honor is based on the overall quality of the newspaper. This year's SDNA newspaper contest was judged by members of the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association.
The judges praised the Plain Talk staff for producing, "from top to bottom an outstanding newspaper for its circulation category."
The Plain Talk also earned second place awards for typography and design and website design.
Judges commented that the Plain Talk's web site placed "a close second. Like the link to daily news briefs � leverages the power of web publishing. Site is well-planned and designed."
M. Jill Karolevitz won first place in the best news story category. Her story covered the June 2000 sentencing of Daren Olson for the 1999 death of his 5-month-old daughter, Jordyn.
"This was a great article!" stated the judges. "It covered all the bases, had the facts, but also the personal connection."
David Lias won first place for best headline writing.
Lias also won second place for editorial writing and column writing. "Good, consistent display. Excellent, forceful writing," stated the judges, describing Lias' editorials. "Good use of news to enhance significant discussion on the topic. Specific actions suggested."
"The emotion drips off the page," is how judges described Lias' column about the Father's Day blues. "No adult could read the column without having a tinge of sadness."
In the public service category, Lias entered stories and editorials about the controversy surrounding the city's new fire station.
"The forthright editorials by David Lias of the Plain Talk are to be commended," the judges stated. "Lias was diligent in bringing this issue to the forefront, which obviously created spirited debate."
The judges also stated they respected Lias for having the courage to question city leadership.