Sixteen national awards are on their way to Antelope County — including four categories where the paper was named the best in the nation.
Fresh off of being named the best weekly newspaper in Nebraska for the sixth time, the National Newspaper Association recognized the Antelope County News in 16 categories — advertising, editorial content, page design and photography.
Beginning with the national championships, publisher Carrie Pitzer and managing editor Jenny Higgins collaborated on two first-place awards. Their coverage of the Amish buggy accident west of Orchard won for best breaking news.
“Great reporting! No doubt many readers were eagerly awaiting a thorough report of the tragic accident and likely snatched up the Antelope County News the second it hit the newsstands and their mailboxes! Great photos that show the damage also accompanied the story. Great team effort. Keep up the good work!” the NNA wrote.
The pair also worked together to win best double truck, which is a two-page spread showcasing design, photography and writing. Their work on state track from 2021 was honored.
Pitzer won best sports photo in the nation for the second time in three years. Her mud volleyball photo from Tilden Prairie Days featuring Prestin Vondra was recognized. “Photo has crucial photo elements — facial expression, off the ground action, hair in motion and mud. Splashing mud. Great work, Carrie Pitzer!” the NNA wrote.
Graphic designer Angelique Boyer won a national championship for best single ad idea with Stealth Broadband as the company highlighted its 1 gig service in the “Size Matters” advertisement.
“This is so creative! Love the entire thing. The boldness of the two colors. It’s simple and straight to the point. The size difference between the people and the cord really goes hand in hand with the ‘Size Matters’ message. Good job!” the NNA said.
The ACN also received four runner-up awards in the national contest. Higgins’ coverage of the Bailey Boswell trial and the signs recognized by Sydney Loofe’s family was honored.
“Had this stood alone, it would be a family’s loving tribute to their daughter. But the companion piece of the sentencing of the girl’s killer made it outstanding and the two pieces gave depth to this beautifully written story,” the NNA wrote.
The team of Pitzer and Higgins were recognized for their innovative use of TikTok for news coverage, including breaking news.
“The use of TikTok for breaking news is fairly new to me, but I admire the way you have embraced it to tell immediate stories. The more methods we use, the more we can grow our audience,” the NNA said.
Another second-place finish was Pitzer’s story on Colby Roland after he dedicated his derby car to his mother, Barb, who had died two weeks earlier. “The lead grabs the reader right from the start, and great writing carries the narrative on through the final graph. Very solid work,” the NNA said.
Boyer was recognized for her ad on tree cutting, using the line “going out on a limb” for customers. “Using a pun as a headline and artwork makes this ad stand out from the others,” the NNA wrote.
There were also five third-place awards and three honorable mention, which is fourth place.
Intern Brian Beach joined Pitzer for video journalism piece with the Tilden Fire Department as they held an extrication training. “A solid news package with an enthusiastic reporter on the job,” the NNA wrote.
The breaking news piece with the Amish buggy was also recognized for it’s online presence. “Well handled, good use of media that the public used most often,” the NNA wrote.
Pitzer earned a third-place award in headline writing for the Elkhorn Valley School’s living ice cream sundae, which was a student reward for reading. The headline was “Get the SCOOP on reading” with ice cream scoops as the letter “o.” “Great design on the ‘Scoop’ story. Very colorful and creative! Drew me in immediately!,” the NNNA wrote.
The ACN staff was honored for its Beef section, which combined advertising with editorial content. “A strong editorial and advertising section that focused on local producers and their families, plus the local business they rely on,” the NNA said.
Boyer was honored for her ad with River Mill’s Christmas coffee. “Love the graphic used for the coffee steam turning into a tree,” the NNA wrote.
In honorable mention, the ACN staff was recognized for “Hogs & Kisses” during the pig kissing contest at Neligh-Oakdale as well as for the special section commemorating the 150th anniversary of Antelope County.
Another newspaper owned by Pitzer Digital was also honored by the NNA. The Stanton Register received 10 awards, including four national championships. Pitzer earned first place in a serious column about a woman in the Stanton nursing home who was about to see her family for the first time in a year, as well as first place for localizing the national COVID pandemic with that facility.
The other national championships were for ad design. Boyer won for best small ad with The Greenhorn’s “Let’s Get Basted” advertisement for stopping at the bar during Thanksgiving weekend. Pitzer won for best ad series with Stanton State Bank, featuring a “Don’t Worry” campaign and all the things people should be doing instead of thinking about banking.