MADISON — The Daily Jefferson County Union has won 15 journalism awards at the Wisconsin Newspaper Association’s 2020 Better Newspapers Contest awards ceremony, which took place virtually Friday night.
The honors included five first-place writing and coverage awards for the paper in the Class C newspapers division and a first place in overall page design that included all newspapers in the state.
“The Daily Union was the top performing newspaper in our group and that is a tremendous honor. That performance is only possible due to the great work of our staff,” said Scott Peterson, APG Southern Wisconsin Group Editor. “To not only win 15 total awards, but to have six of those be first-place honors is a testament to the hard work and talent of our staff.
“Feature Editor Craig Spychalla led the charge by winning eight awards, which is amazing all by itself and a surprise to no one, but reporter Pam Chickering Wilson and Sports Editor Jack Miller also had multiple honors to their credit, too,” he added. “We all do our jobs for the benefit of our readers, but getting recognized by the judges is a bonus we all appreciate.
Spychalla won first place in page design with ‘Over the Barrel,’ marking the 100th anniversary of Prohibition that looked at the businesses that still are around Fort Atkinson and Jefferson from that era.
He and Pam Chickering Wilson also won a first place award for coronavirus coverage that included a salute to the nurses who work at Fort HealthCare called ‘The Moment That Changed My World.’
The newspaper staff won honors for Best Special Section (Editorial) for the recently revamped “Discover” tourism magazine.
Christine Spangler, Chickering Wilson and Spychalla won a first place for breaking news reporting with the coverage of the Sumner shooting last June.
Chickering Wilson also won a first place in Enterprising/interpretive reporting for a series she did on the swift transition to virtual learning in the Jefferson and Fort Atkinson school districts.
Spychalla also won a first place for Localized National Story for his piece recalling a visit by candidate John Kennedy to Fort Atkinson and asking, “Sixty years after Kennedy was in Fort, why haven’t other presidential candidates come to small cities in Wisconsin?”
Other awards presented to the Daily Union news staff this year include the following:
Pam Chickering Wilson won a third place for local column, competing in Division B.
Jalen Knuteson and Jack Miller won an honorable mention for “Best Sports Pages.”
Jack Miller won a second place in Division C for sports news story.
Craig Spychalla won a second place for feature story — non-profile about the nurses at Fort HealthCare and a third place in Reporting on Local Education for the Palmyra-Eagle dissolution issue. He also won an honorable mention for a feature story — profile.
Christine Spangler won an honorable mention in overall page design, daily division. She also won an honorable mention for a non-profile feature story, Division C.
In addition, Spangler won an honorable mention for her editorials, in Division B.