For the first time in its 11 years of publication, three staff members of The Rock River Times received state recognition for their efforts.
Staff writers Molly Fleming and Jeff Havens and cartoonist Charles Story were all recognized by the Illinois Press Association (IPA) at its 139th Annual Convention Oct. 8 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Springfield.
The IPAs Better Newspaper Contest awards are handed out annually and recognize the top achievements by newspapers and their staff members. The Rock River Times competed against other IPA non-dailies with a circulation of more than 10,000 newspapers. Members of the Virginia Press Association judged this years contest.
Fleming placed second in the Reviews class for her reviews of local music. Judges wrote of her work: She knows her music, does her research, has a great memory. Readers benefit from her embracement of music outside the traditional mainstream, regardless of the genre.
Havens placed second in the News Reporting Series class for his series Stewardship in Question: A series examining RVC leadership. Judges wrote of his series: Great reporting job here, leading to change in leadership at RVC. Very thorough. However, the over-the-top unity style makes story appear one-sided, although facts eventually proved it to be true.
Story, in his first year as a cartoonist for The Rock River Times, received an honorable mention in the Editorial Cartoon class. Judges wrote of his cartoons: Good clean drawer who mixes national pieces with local issues.
Overall, The Rock River Times placed in three out of the six categories in which it submitted. The Rock River Times is in its first year of membership to the IPA, which with more than 600 daily and weekly newspapers from throughout the state, is the largest statewide press association in the country. More info: www.il-press.com.