South Whidbey Record flourishes at state-wide newspaper contest


The South Whidbey Record has once again won “general excellence” in the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association’s annual Better Newspaper Contest.

This year, the newspaper came in first in its circulation category under the leadership of editor Jim Larsen, who was simultaneously editor of the Whidbey News-Times. He took over the Record in March, just in time to submit his pages to the contest.

A total of 73 newspapers from across the state participated in the contest. News stories, photographs and ads are judged in four circulation categories. The awards were announced Sept. 28 at the association’s annual conference in Yakima.

Record staff members received a series of individual awards.

Former editor Brian Kelly took both first and second place for Best Crime and Court Story in the group II circulation category. His story, “Thomas goes from devoted mom to accused murderer” won first place and “Marked for death” won second place.

Kelly won first place in the combined group I and II category for Best Front Page Design for the May 21 issue.

Kelly also won second place in Best Breaking News Story for “Neighbor recounts terrible night of fatal accident” and second place in the Best Color Portrait for his photo entitled “Seasoned lawn mower racer Lloyd Crouse.”

Staff reporter Ben Watanabe won first and third place in Best Black and White Sports Photo. His photo “Parks program hits the mark” took first and “Falcon boys and girls take third at Westling Invite” took third. Also, his photo “Bomb scare shuts down Clinton-Mukilteo ferry” won third for Best Spot News Photo.

Watanabe also won three awards in the news division. He won third place in the Best News Story — Short category for “Three killed in Clinton crash.” He took third in News of the Weird for “Freeland man’s invention has Whidbey Island buzzing” and third place in Best Sports Personality Profile for “Despite injuries, Buechner voted to all-conference football teams.”

Former staff reporter Patricia Duff won four awards for writing. She won both first and third place in the Best Education Story category for “Calyx: A school to nurture the petals of flowering childhood” and “Spanish teacher uses technology to inspire pursuit of language.”

Duff was awarded first and second place in Best Story on the Arts. Her story, “Island Shakespeare Fest’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ opens today,” came in first and “Swimming into love and other transformations” won second place.

Whidbey News-Times assistant editor Jessie Stensland, who also contributes to the Record, was named “News Writer of the Year.” Justin Burnett, who writes for both the Record and News-Times, won several awards for the News-Times, including first place in Comprehensive Coverage in the group III for “Human bones stall project.”

In the ad division, creative artist Rebecca Collins was awarded second place in the category Best Use of Process Color (Smaller than half page) for “Discover Retirement at Maple Ridge” and third place in Best Use of Process Color (Half Page or Larger) for “Lind’s Brighton Trunk Sale.”


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