AS I SEE IT
By Neal Shipman
Every industry does its best to acknowledge the accomplishments of its members. And the newspaper industry is no exception as each state annually recognizes the very best writers, photographers, advertising and design teams working to produce quality newspapers.
While this year’s North Dakota Newspaper Convention was cancelled due to COVID-19, last week we were notified that the McKenzie County Farmer had been awarded 40 awards in news reporting, advertising, design and photography categories in the North Dakota Better Newspaper Contest.
Included in the awards was second place in the General Excellence category, first place for Front Page Design, first place for Best Sports Page, and first place for Best Website, along with 36 other awards. Overall, the McKenzie County Farmer staff received 17 awards in the news category, 18 in the advertising category, four in the photography category, and one in the Special Awards category. Competing in the largest weekly category, Farmer staff members won eight firsts, 15 seconds, 12 thirds and five Honorable Mentions.
It goes without saying that we are extremely proud to be recognized as one of the best weekly newspapers in North Dakota. To be honored by our peers in the newspaper industry makes all of the hard work that we put into bringing our readers a quality product each and every week worth the effort.
Our entire staff is committed to writing hard-breaking news or feature stories, covering what is happening in our schools and local government, and chasing around the county capturing photographs of people going about their lives. And it is our commitment to publish the very best newspaper that we can each and every week. We strive to have news stories that inform and educate our readers on the issues that matter the most to them. Those stories may be about city and county government, what’s happening in our schools, business and industry news, what’s happening in high school sports or feature stories on people who are making a difference in our communities.
And we try hard each and every week to load the pages of our newspaper with high quality photos that not only catch the reader’s eyes, but help record the events of the county. Plus, we try to make sure that all of the advertisers’ ads are accurate and eye-catching.
It is no easy task trying to bring our subscribers and readers the very best newspaper. It’s a 24-hour/seven-day-a-week job that can be both frustrating and demanding. But the rewards of being in the newspaper business in an area such as McKenzie County and Watford City are beyond description. The opportunity to be able to record for posterity all of the challenges and changes that this part of North Dakota has seen, and will continue to see in the future, is something that most people in the news business never get a chance to experience.
Like I said, we try hard to produce the best newspaper that we can. But it is truly a team effort.
But somewhere in the back of our minds, especially mine as the editor, there is always that nagging question as to whether or not we are producing the quality product that we think that we are. This year, the judges once again reaffirmed that we are an award-winning newspaper.
As we all know, awards come and go. Maybe next year, we will win more awards. But then again maybe we won’t stack up as well against the competition in the judge’s eyes. But for one moment in time, it was nice to be recognized by our newspaper peers as doing a great job of putting out a quality newspaper each week.
But then again, that is our goal. If we win awards, that’s fine. And if we don’t, it won’t be for the lack of effort from our entire staff. After all, our subscribers, readers and advertisers should expect the very best from us. And, every week that is what we plan to deliver.