Burt County Plaindealer earned seven awards at the 2019 Nebraska Press Association’s 145th annual convention in Kearney April 5-6.

The paper earned first place in computer generated graphic, signature page, small ad; second place for breaking news coverage; and third for single black-and-white ad idea, front page youth coverage among Class B weekly newspapers. Class B is comprised of weeklies with circulations between 860 and 1,499.

More than 3,500 separate entries, representing nine dailies and 69 weeklies, were judged by members of the Louisiana Press Association.

First, second and third place winners were announced Saturday night at an awards banquet at the Kearney Convention Center, attended by more than 150 journalists.

The computer graphic category required an original news graphic, created in-house. Judging criteria included design, impact, clarity and relevance. The class winner was the graphic from the Sept. 18 edition showing the tax levies sought by area taxing bodies with the financial information overlayed onto the blueprint of a house. The graphic was developed by Plaindealer editor Mark Jackson and graphic designer Meg Beachler.

The sig page winner was the Plaindealer’s Veterans Day section. Judges called it “a wonderful way to salute veterans,” and cited the paper on a “outstanding job of getting the community involved.

“You could see it was a team effort between all departments. Great job on the articles, photographs, graphics and number of ads sold.”

For the contest, a small ad is considered anything smaller than a quarter of a page. The class winner, titled, “Farmers’ day Off,” fit well below the limit. Checking in at just two columns wide by three inches deep, the ad created by designer Janet Tiedtke highlighted an Aug. 24 golf outing at Northridge Country club targeted at people involved in the ag industry.

“There is a lot going on in this ad, but it works,” the judges wrote. “The graphic tells the story, the text is legible, the meaning of the ad is engaging. You pulled it off.”

The Plaindealer’s breaking news story was Jackson’s account of former Craig village clerk Krisite Jensen pleading guilty to a felony theft charge after embezzling over $185,000 in village funds.

Judges called the story “very well written, interesting content.”

The third place winning ad, designed by Tiedtke, announced the opening of a new salon in Tekamah, Hair on 32, and its owner, Brenda Craig.

Judges called it a good local ad with a local face.”

The Plaindealer’s youth coverage entry included the annual academic section, its coverage of the Burt County Fair and the Tekamah-Herman student newspaper, “The Prowler.”

Judges saluted the paper for it’s comprehensive coverage of the fair and called the academic section “impressive ... a keepsake for those kids and their families.”

The front page entry was from the Dec. 25 edition which featured a large photo of a child whispering into Santa’s ear.

“Fantastic dominant element with the Santa photo,” the judges wrote. “(It’s) Something a lot of papers have lost on their busy front pages.”

Judges also liked the mix of local and area stories and cited its neat layout.

Elsewhere in the county, the Lyons Mirror-Sun won second place in the breaking news category among Class A papers. The class includes papers whose circulation is below 860.

Founded in 1873, the Nebraska Press Association membership includes 169 weekly and daily newspapers with a total paid circulation of over 480,000.