I’m proud to share that our team at the Fillmore County Journal won three awards at the 151st annual Minnesota Newspaper Association Convention held at The DoubleTree by Hilton in Bloominton, Minn., on Thursday, January 25, and Friday, January 26.
Historically, our newspaper staff has never found enough time to submit entries for the MNA Better Newspaper Contest, but this year we made time. We realize that it’s like many things in life, if you don’t participate you won’t have a chance of winning anything. So, this year we threw our name in the ring for a number of categories.
There are 244 newspapers in all 87 counties throughout this great state of Minnesota. So, the MNA Convention brings out the best in all of our publications. In total, there were over 700 attendees from around the state.
The judging process for the selection of winners per category is always conducted by a newspaper association from another part of the United States, so bias is not a factor.
This year, we finished with three third place winners in the categories of Website, General Reporting, and Advertising Excellence for weeklies over 5,000 circulation.
And, I’m proud of our team for this accomplishment. We covered the gamut with news reporting, advertising, and our online representation. Did I mention we have an amazing team? And, who knows, we may never achieve this trifecta of awards again in the future. It certainly wasn’t expected with all of the competition throughout the state of Minnesota.
But, while I am proud of this accomplishment for our team, I always have to take a step back from these award ceremonies and reflect on what is most important.
Whether we win awards or not, what the Better Newspaper Contest judges will never know is how our readers and advertisers feel about our publication. And that is more important to me than winning awards.
When we have a customer call our office to say that we can cancel their classified ad because they quickly sold their car or found a renter for their apartment right away, we have done our job.
When we speak with a business owner who ran an ad to promote an event at their establishment, and it brought a larger crowd than they anticipated, we have done our job.
When a car dealer tells us they sold vehicles from an ad that appeared in our newspaper, we have done our job.
When our local grocery store sells out of an item they advertised in our newspaper, we have done our job.
When a reader calls our office to get extra copies of a particular issue of the Fillmore County Journal because they had a family member in that issue, we have done our job.
Our job is to engage our audience, connecting with readers and advertisers. There is a tremendous amount of satisfaction we feel at the newspaper when we know that we have engaged our audience.
Awards make us feel wonderful for the moment, but steadily serving our readers and advertisers to the best of our ability makes us feel relevant.