Plain Talk receives awards in SDNA Better Newspaper Contest

This photo of Ryan Larsen, assistant women’s basketball coach at the University of South Dakota that appeared in a March 2012 issue of the Vermillion Plain Talk received third place in the Best Feature Category of the SDNA’s Better Newspaper Contest. Larsen is attempting to convince his two hunting dogs, Tess and Zoe, to take a chilly dip during the 2012 Polar Plunge held in Vermillion. (Photo by David Lias)

This photo of Ryan Larsen, assistant women’s basketball coach at the University of South Dakota that appeared in a March 2012 issue of the Vermillion Plain Talk received third place in the Best Feature Category of the SDNA’s Better Newspaper Contest. Larsen is attempting to convince his two hunting dogs, Tess and Zoe, to take a chilly dip during the 2012 Polar Plunge held in Vermillion. (Photo by David Lias)

The Vermillion Plain Talk has garnered six awards in the annual South Dakota Newspaper Association’s Better Newspaper Contest, including first place in “Best Typography & Design.” In this single category, the Plain Talk was judged among weekly newspapers in state with over 2,000 circulation.

The Vermillion paper was rated among South Dakota weeklies with circulations of 1,115 to 2,000 in other contest categories.

The awards were presented at the SDNA’s annual convention, held April 25-27 in Rapid City.

The Plain Talk received 350 of a total of 400 points from judges for typography and design, giving the newspaper excellent ratings for its front page design, use of illustrations and photographs, general appearance, and use of headlines.

The Plain Talk’s website (plaintalk.net) received a perfect score and a second place rating among all weekly newspapers in South Dakota. The web page, managed by New Media Director Beth Rye and Editor David Lias, collected 200 out of a possible 200 points for its news and information content, overall design and composition, originality and interactivity with other sites. “Very well made,” the judges commented. “A lot of effort was put into it. I like the You Tube links.”

Lias’ work in four categories – Best News Story, Best Local General Interest Column, Best Feature Photo and Best Photo Series, also received awards among South Dakota newspapers with circulations of 1,115 to 2,000.

“Great story and photo,” wrote judges about Lias’ September 2012 coverage of an ultralight plane crash near the Vermillion airport, which received third place in the Best News Story category.

His March 2012 photo of the Polar Plunge in Vermillion was selected as third place winner in the Best Feature Photo category. “Fun picture, great interaction. Photographer planned ahead to be in right place at right time,” said the judges.

Lias’ weekly column, “Between the Lines,” received third place in the Best Local General Interest Column category. His commentary was judged on composition, originality, thoroughness, and reader appeal. Judges wrote, “You seem to know what you’re talking about and do your research.”
The Plain Talk received third place in the Best Photo Series category with its June 2012 presentation of photos from the South Dakota Shakespeare Festival held in Vermillion’s Prentis Park. “Very well presented – good layout and processing,” said the judges.

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