The Mirror staffers awarded top honors in state contest
Earlier this year, The Mirror was named best newspaper in the nation by Inland Press Association of Chicago.
And last weekend, the newspaper took home top honors in the Kansas Press Association's annual Awards of Excellence competition.
On Saturday, Mirror staffers were presented with the sweepstakes award. The press association awards the honor in seven circulation categories. A sister newspaper of The Mirror -- the De Soto Explorer -- won sweepstakes in its circulation category.
In addition, the Mirror's editor and publisher, Caroline Trowbridge, was elected president of the statewide newspaper association. Trowbridge has been associated with The Mirror since September 1999, when it was purchased by the Lawrence-based World Company.
"During the past six years, I have had the privilege of working with an exemplary group of people in one terrific town," Trowbridge said. "It's been my honor to irect The Mirror's news coverage of Tonganoxie and Southern Leavenworth County. I've never had so much fun in a job.
"I work for a great company and with great people. Who could ask for more?"
Trowbridge underscored the importance of The Mirror's news editor, Lisa Scheller, and sports and news reporter, Shawn Linenberger, to the newspaper's continued success. This is the third time in the past four years that The Mirror has won KPA's top prize. And four times in the past six years, The Mirror has been named the Nation's Best Non-Daily Newspaper in a competition sponsored by Inland Press Association of Chicago. The Mirror took first in its circulation category of 5,000 and fewer in that nationwide contest.
"Shawn and Lisa are such caring journalists," Trowbridge said. "They care about this community, and they care about the quality of The Mirror. I'm so pleased that our work has been noted. We're extremely proud of what we do and the community we're able to work in."
In the statewide contest, The Mirror earned five first-place honors.
Scheller took first for an investigative story about a Tonganoxie native who was involved in solving Wichita's BTK case. The judges said, "Nice behind-the-scenes look with a local angle about a story that shocked the nation."
Scheller also was awarded first-place honors for her story on so-called energy drinks. This is what the judge had to say about her work: "Great information here! The author covered every single base and answered every single question on energy drinks. It's almost as if she did a survey on what people wanted to know about energy drinks first -- then set out to write a story answering those questions! Well-organized, well-written and lots of sources to back up assertions, facts and opinions. As a reader, I definitely walked away armed with more information and knowledge about the value, the popularity and the dangers of energy drinks."
In the news photography division, Scheller also was named the winner for a photograph she made during a funeral for Cpl. Lucas Franz, who was killed last October in action in Iraq. The judges said this about Scheller's work: "Great composition and exposure. Emotionally telling."
Trowbridge took first in the series category for her reporting on a former student's lawsuit against the Tonganoxie school district, alleging he was bullied. The judges said this about Trowbridge's work: "Very well-written and documented. The author did a good job at recapping past stories in each subsequent story. Excellent organization; nice use of multiple sources in each story."
Trowbridge also earned first-place honors in the headline-writing category. The judges said, "Headlines are very clear and concise and presented nicely. All make great use of active verbs and clearly reflect the message of the story."
The Mirror also earned second-place honors for: Web site; government/political story; series of stories; local business story; sports pages; and best use of photos.
The third-place awards were given for: news story; best front page; editorial pages; feature story; agricultural story; youth story; sports story; headline writing; and feature package.
The Mirror earned honorable mentions in the news story and editorial writing categories.