The Chronicle, Creswell, Ore.

The Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association’s annual “Better Newspaper Contest” recognized The Chronicle with eight total awards this past week, including two first-place finishes. The Chronicle finished second overall in General Excellence. 

Like just about everything else in our lives, the contest judging and results were delayed this year by the pandemic. ONPA officials had to cancel their summer convention, and they noted there were fewer contest entries as well. The state newspaper organization combined several divisions, so The Chronicle competed against larger papers in each category. 

Erin Tierney, the paper’s executive editor the past four years, won first place for Best Writing, competing against all other weekly newspaper divisions in Oregon, for her reporting on suicide awareness and prevention, for news coverage of a 13-year-old charged with murdering a 92-year-old woman and for a thinkpiece column on memories.

Tierney earned second place in the Best Headline category – which included all newspapers in the state, including the large dailies such as The Oregonian. 

Tierney took second place in Best Local Column, competing against the largest-circulation weekly papers in the state, for her pieces No 'lion' about this wildlife encounter, Reflecting on 'Breaking the Silence' and Creswell at heart of coverage.

Tierney’s reporting on a high-profile horse seizure earned the paper third place in Best Spot News Coverage. 

Aliya Hall, who has covered education, local government and the arts for nearly three years with The Chronicle, won second place in Best Educational Coverage for her series "Fighting Failure" a look at how school districts were implementing new programs.

“This is a testament to their talent and hard work,” said Noel Nash, who purchased the paper with his wife Denise in February 2019. “We inherited terrific journalists, and even better people. Overall, it’s nice to be recognized by our peers; it’s consistent with the same kind of feedback we hear from our readers.” 

The Chronicle won first- and third-place honors for Best Photo Essay. The first-place winner featured the mushroom festival on Mt. Pisgah, and the second was from the Oregon Country Fair. Former Chronicle contributor Jen Blue photographed and designed the pages. 

In the General Excellence category, The Chronicle’s coverage of the historic snowstorm, Creswell Fourth of July celebration and the horse seizure made up its entry. The Wallowa County Chieftain in Enterprise, Ore., was first, and the Keizertimes, located north of Salem, was third.

A complete list of the Top 3 in each category where The Chronicle placed: 

* GENERAL EXCELLENCE (Divisions E-H) *

First Place: Wallowa County Chieftain

Second Place: The Chronicle: "Snow Day" (2/28), "A Sky-High Fourth" (7/11), "Worse Than You Could Imagine" (11/7) (Chronicle staff) 

Third Place: Keizertimes 

* BEST EDUCATIONAL COVERAGE (G-H) *

First Place: Malheur Enterprise

Second Place: The Chronicle: Fighting Failure: Parts 1, 3, 4 (Aliya Hall)

Third Place: The New Era

* BEST HEADLINE WRITING (A-H) *

First Place: Blue Mountain Eagle

Second Place: The Chronicle: A ‘gourd day’ at the patch  (Oct. 24); Gourd big… or go home (Oct. 24); Faux-real (Aug. 8); Trash talk: Sanipac gets rate increase, but council puts up fight (Aug. 15); Nutritionally speaking, Yaakov’s retirement is going to be grape (Aug. 29) (Erin Tierney, Noel Nash for Faux-real) 

Third Place: Grants Pass Daily 

* BEST LOCAL COLUMN (D-H) *

First Place: Lake Oswego Review

Second Place: The Chronicle: No 'lion' about this wildlife encounter; Reflecting on 'breaking the silence'; Creswell at heart of coverage (Erin Tierney)

Third Place: The New Era 

* BEST WRITING (D-H) *

First Place: The Chronicle: Breaking the Silence: For those left behind, for those who have tried; Boy, 13, guilty of murder; Boomerang memories (Erin Tierney)

Second Place: Wilsonville Spokesman; Third Place: Blue Mountain Eagle

* BEST SPOT NEWS COVERAGE (G-H) *

First Place: Malheur Enterprise; Second Place: The New Era

Third Place: The Chronicle: 'Worse than you could imagine': Biggest horse seizure in decades fueled by neighbor's complaints (Erin Tierney)

* BEST PHOTO ESSAY (F-H) *

First Place: The Chronicle: The Fungus Among Us (Jen Blue)

Second Place: Blue Mountain Eagle

Third Place: The Chronicle: Oregon Country Fair (Jen Blue)

Source: ONPA 

ONPA newspaper divisions 

Group A: Dailies ~ 25,001 or more circulation

Group B: Dailies ~10,001 - 25,000 circulation

Group C: Dailies ~ 10,000 or less circulation

Group D Multi-issue weeklies ~ any circulation

Group E: Weeklies ~ 3,001 or more circulation

Group F: Weeklies ~ 2,001 - 3,000 circulation

Group G: Weeklies ~ 1,001 - 2,000 circulation

Group H: Weeklies ~ 1,000 or less circulation