COLUMBIA — The Columbia Missourian won 64 awards in the 2013 Missouri Press Association's Better Newspaper Contest, including 23 first-place awards and the Gold Medal Newspaper award.
One of the first-place awards was in general excellence, the overall prize.
The Gold Medal, which the Missourian also won last year, is awarded to the newspaper earning the most awards in its circulation class. The Missourian's class includes daily newspapers with circulations of 5,001 to 15,000.
The achievement "recognized the considerable talent we have across the newsroom," said Jeanne Abbott, managing editor of the Missourian. "News, features, sports, design and just general excellence."
VOX magazine's work was an important contribution to the Gold Medal win, as well, she said.
All contest entries were published in 2012. There were 37 categories. Within each category were six circulation classes — three each for weekly and daily publications. In the 2011 contest, announced in fall 2012, the Missourian won 64 awards, including the Gold Medal.
Here are a few of the first-place highlights:
- VOX magazine's "Against the Odds" won the top prize for best news or feature series. "Against the Odds" profiled Columbia individuals who proved that "the improbable is still possible," from a World War II prison-camp survivor to a man who lost a quarter of his 222-pound body weight.
- The prize for best investigative reporting went to Caroline Michler and Ben Nadler for their article on Ameren Missouri's replacement of 4,200 out-of-date natural-gas regulators in Columbia.
- Anna Boiko-Weyrauch won best feature story with "Douglass classmates' lives are intertwined with Columbia's history," which follows a group of black women who have worked hard to preserve their friendship after Brown v. Board of Education desegregated Columbia's high schools in 1960.
- The first-place award for a sports feature story went to Sarah Bricker for her story about Olympic historian John Lucas, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in February 2012 and "can no longer recall his life's mission."
- The photo department at the Missourian was also recognized, with Nick Agro winning best photo package and Grant Hindsley winning best news photo.
The awards were presented at the 147th Missouri Press Association's annual convention at the Marriott Downtown in Kansas City. The convention started Thursday and continued Saturday.
See the complete list of the winners.