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Tidings staff earns 12 ONPA awards

by: vern uyetake

The West Linn Tidings won 12 awards last week in the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association's 2011 Better Newspaper Contest.

The contest, which covered reporting, photography and design from 2010, was held at the ONPA Summer Publishers Convention, July 14 and 15 at Salishan in Gleneden Beach.

The Tidings took five first-place honors, two second places, four third-place awards and the sweepstakes award.

The newspaper competes in circulation group F, which represents once-a-week newspapers in Oregon with circulations of 3,500 or less.

'I'm just thrilled at all these awards. I tried to pick them all up but they were too heavy. What a great surprise. West Linn residents, our staff works hard each week to produce the best community newspaper for you. It's great to be recognized for our long hours,' said Nicole DeCosta, Tidings editor.

Tidings publisher J. Brian Monihan agreed, and said, 'I'm very proud of the Tidings staff for the exceptional job they've done in covering the community. Being named the best weekly newspaper in Oregon and winning the sweepstakes award is a tremendous accomplishment.'

He continued, 'Every week our staff works very hard to put out the best newspaper possible. This kind of recognition validates all that hard work.'

For his part, Monihan, publisher of both the Lake Oswego Review and the West Linn Tidings, was named president of ONPA for 2011-2012 year. Monihan will lead the ONPA board for the coming year in its 'efforts to help newspapers throughout Oregon maintain their strength as the most dominant media in the state.'

Here's a breakdown of the Tidings' honors, which include: first place General Excellence, the sweepstakes award among all weeklies and the best writing award for feature writer Cliff Newell. Specific honors include:

FIRST PLACE

* General Excellence

The highest award presented to Oregon newspapers, the Tidings was judged on general and departmental news, reproduction excellence, advertising enterprise, editorial comment, general appearance, style, photos, graphics and thoroughness of local coverage.

* Best Writing

Cliff Newell's story 'Policing the parrot' from Aug. 5, 2010, introduced the West Linn Police Department's foul-mouthed new pet, a parrot named Connie.

* Best Page One Design

Tidings editor Nicole DeCosta and photographer Vern Uyetake design the front page of the newspaper each week and were judged on their use of headlines, photography, content, makeup and typography for the May 13, June 3 and Sept. 16 editions.

* Best Feature Photo

Uyetake's July 22, 2010, photo of Mark Pizzauti and his son, Braeden, enjoying a warm, sunny evening strolling through the Old Time Fair grounds at Willamette Park was judged on its value or human interest quality, originality and imagination and photo technical quality.

* Best Photo Essay

Uyetake's Dec. 16, 2010, photo spread of residents soaked from a rain storm during the first-ever Ugly Holiday Sweater Dash was judged on its news value and human interest quality, originality and imagination in addition to its technical quality.

SECOND PLACE

* Best Educational Coverage

Linda Hundhammer's Sept. 30, 2010, story 'WLHS principal: Help us with teen drug-use problem' about rallying the community to stand up and take action was judged on its importance to readers, originality, clarity of writing and throughness of reporting.

* Best Overall Website

The website www.west

linntidings.com was judged on its design, content, interactivity, ease of use and connection with the local community.

THIRD PLACE

* Best Special Section or Issue

The publication 'Perspective: Extraordinary People,' highlighting unique community members, was honored for its quality and depth, skill in handling tie-in advertising, makeup and topography.

* Best Writing

Kara Hansen Murphy's April 1, 2010, story 'All-you-can-eat fish buffet is closed' shared why wildlife officials were hazing sea lions to shoo them from Willamette Falls.

* Best Graphics

Uyetake's graphic of a piggy bank attached to a sprinkler from the Oct. 14, 2010, newspaper depicted its water-use story 'Who's hogging the water?'

* Best Photo Essay

Uyetake's photo spread for the graduation section from the June 17, 2010, paper was judged based on news value, human interest quality, originality, imagination and photo technical quality.

* The Sweepstakes Award was given because the Tidings received the most recognition among weekly newspapers in the Better Newspaper Contest.

In addition, the Tidings' sister newspaper, the Lake Oswego Review, earned:

* First place: Best Special Section or Issue; Best Editorial Page, Best Spot News Coverage, Best Feature Photo, Best Photo Essay, Best Overall Website.

* Second place: Best Coverage of Business and Economic Issues, Best Educational Coverage, Best Lifestyle Coverage, Best Photo Essay, Best Sports Photo.

* Third place: Best Enterprise Reporting, Best Writing, Best Page One Design, Best Graphics.