The Alert’s plaque for first place in best headlines, Division F in the Wisconsin Newspaper Association Foundation’s Better Newspaper Contest.

Bell Press newspapers, which include the Chetek Alert, Barron News-Shield and Ladysmith News, received a total of 12 awards in the 2020 Better Newspaper Contest from the Wisconsin Newspaper Association Foundation.

“I’m very proud the Bell Press newspapers continue to be recognized by their peers for excellent community journalism. The year 2020 was a challenging one for all businesses, newspapers included. Despite the economic headwinds, our newspapers continued to pursue their goal of informing and entertaining readers while responsibly reporting on the government they elected to serve them,” said publisher Jim Bell.

The Chetek Alert received three awards; first place for best headlines, second place for spot news photography and an honorable mention for a local outdoor column. The Alert was in Division F, for small, weekly newspapers.

The headlines, “Low-flying planes creates buzz at Winter Fest Bikini Run race,” “Smoke still clearing over 21+ age limit” and “Seedy mail scams send unwanted packages” earned reporter Carl Cooley first place.

“The bikini run headline is hard to beat. It definitely makes the reader want to continue on,” wrote a contest judge. “The smoke still clearing is also quite concise while using a pun, which is not easily done.”

The Alert’s Tyler Florczak was awarded second place for his spot news photo titled “I spy: bobcat cruises for easy lunch.”

“Beautiful photo!” a contest judge wrote.

Florczak earned the honorable mention for his sports columns, “A Tale of a Tail,” “Early catch and release trout season offers excitement” and “A rare find: stumbling upon my first luna moth.”

The Barron News-Shield earned seven awards; second place for ongoing/extended coverage, second place for best local column, second place for spot news photography, third place for ongoing/extended coverage, third place for business coverage, third place for sports action photo and an honorable mention for best sports pages. The News-Shield was in Division E, for medium, weekly newspapers.

Ladysmith News earned two awards; first place for spot news photography and a second place editorial award. Ladysmith was in Division D, for large, weekly newspapers.

Newspapers from across the state submit their best entries to be judged in the WNA’s contest. A total of 2,051 entries were submitted from 103 Wisconsin newspapers. Contest judges were members of the Texas Press Association.

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