KEARNEY — Lori Potter, the Kearney Hub’s agriculture reporter and personal columnist, won the top honor at the National Federation of Press Women 2018 Professional Communications Contest. Awards were presented during the weekend at the NFPW annual conference in Bethlehem, Pa.
Potter’s eight awards in the contest — four first place, three second place and one third place — gave her the Sweepstakes Award for an unprecedented fourth time. She previously won it in 2008, 2012 and 2014. The award is based on points given for a contestant’s number of winning entries and their categories. Categories with more entries score more points.
NFPW President Marianne Wolf-Astrauskas said, “Lori Potter’s work has had a positive impact on generations of her readers, most I’m sure she has never met. Time and again, her talents, whether behind a camera or typing at her keyboard, have challenged, inspired and made us pause to consider what it is like to walk in someone else’s shoes or appreciate the beauty and grace in our world.”
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Mary Jane Skala, who covers health and lifestyles and writes a personal column for the Hub, was the second runner-up in the sweepstakes competition. This is the first time in NFPW’s 81-year history that two of the contest’s top three winners are from the same newspaper.
Skala won five awards: three first place, one second place and one third place. She won the Sweepstakes Award in 1996 when she was a senior editor and columnist for the former Sun Newspapers in Cleveland.
Erika Pritchard, regional editor for the Hub, also received an honorable mention in the contest.
Contest judges evaluated 1,500 entries from newspapers, magazines, photography, television, radio, books and digital media. Only first-place entries at each state contest moved on to the national contest. All entries were published in calendar year 2017.
The winning entries (some categories required multiple entries) from the Kearney Hub were:
- First place, agriculture, agribusiness and aquaculture, for “Skyhawks; Chasing dreams” package and “Hueftle: New ‘feet’ a godsend.”
- First place, food: “Prayer planted seeds to better health” package and “Mroczek’s secret kolache ingredient: Tradition.”
- First place, science or technology: “Whitney: no ‘easy button’ for farmers fighting Palmer amaranth” package and “GPS may reveal unknown on UNK research project.”
- First place, photo essay, “Branding Day on the Prairie.”
- Second place, news: “Hailstorm leads to devastating loss for region’s farmers” and sidebar.
- Second place, education: “Working to build herd, life as a cattleman” package and “Wetland work well underway.”
- Second place, government/politics: “Ban on irrigating 1,100 acres is LRNRD penalty for flowmeter tampering” package; “No matter how imperfect, unpredictable, farming remains Mills’ calling.”
- Third place, photography (single photograph, general): “Crane - Showing off for the Camera.”
Mary Jane Skala
- First place, personal columns: “Sumner puts on a heck of a rodeo” and “Amazed by the Power of Ordinary People.”
- First place, home (interior design, food, architecture, landscaping): “Big School, Tiny Art” and “Penchant for Art.”
- First place, social issues: “More than Words” and “Sweet Memories of ‘I Do.’”
- Second place, religion: “Blessed in the Journey” and “Rev. Murdoch: It’s time to retire.”
- Third place, history: “Never to be Forgotten” and “Copes’ Connection.”
- Honorable mention, government articles: “Turning over a new leaf” and “The goal of sustainability.”