May 6, 2014


By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

It goes without saying that everyone on the staff at the McKenzie County Farmer is committed to publishing 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.
Plus we try our hardest each and every week to load the pages of our newspaper with high quality photos that no only catch the reader’s eyes, but help record the events of the county. And we try to make sure that all of the advertisers’ ads are accurate and eye-catching.
It is no easy job. And trying to bring the very best newspaper to our subscribers and readers is no easy job. It’s a 24 hour/seven-day-a-week job that is 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 chance to record for posterity the rebirth of an area 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 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 past weekend, while attending the annual North Dakota Newspaper Association’s Convention in Bismarck, I found out that indeed we are producing a quality newspaper as staff members of the McKenzie County Farmer were awarded 30 awards in the Better Newspaper Contest, including 10 first place awards, by the judges from the Oklahoma Newspaper Association.
Two of the first place awards the McKenzie County Farmer received this year were not only a complete surprise, but hold a very special place for all of us at the newspaper. The first was winning the General Excellence category, and the second was winning the Overall Design Excellence award. While the Farmer has placed in both of these categories in the past, in all of the years that we have been entering the contest, we have never won either category.
So for at least a year we, at the McKenzie County Farmer, can say that we are “best of the best” in the largest weekly newspaper category in North Dakota. And it was very nice to see that the hard work by all of our employees, whether they are writers, ad designers or proof readers, was recognized.
But, 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 trying. After all, our subscribers, readers and advertisers should expect the very best from us. And that is what we plan to deliver.