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N.D. newspaper group honors Forum staffers

The Forum captured all the major awards in this year's North Dakota Newspaper Association Better Newspaper Contest. As it did a year ago, The Forum won the top awards for General Excellence, First Amendment reporting and Community Service reporting.

The Forum captured all the major awards in this year's North Dakota Newspaper Association Better Newspaper Contest.

As it did a year ago, The Forum won the top awards for General Excellence, First Amendment reporting and Community Service reporting.

It again captured Sweepstakes honors for combined news and advertising content.

Forum reporter Mary Jo Almquist was named Rookie Reporter of the Year.

The newspaper's awards, which were announced Saturday in Grand Forks, followed Minnesota Associated Press Association awards presented Friday night in St. Paul.

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In that competition, The Forum won the top award for work done in 2002, besting all daily newspapers circulating in Minnesota in the Public Service category. The award recognized the "Saving North Dakota" series.

Reporter Steven P. Wagner and Graphics Editor Wayne Elfman won multiple top awards in the Minnesota competition.

"This is a remarkable weekend, with our successes in both St. Paul and Grand Forks.

"News professionals from outside those states judged the two contests and thought very highly about the work we're doing," Forum Editor Lou Ziegler said.

"It takes a major effort from all departments at The Forum to achieve what we achieved this weekend, and we're committed to improving on it."

Awards presented to The Forum in Grand Forks included:

First Amendment -- Judges' commented: "To say that the work of The Forum was a significant contribution for First Amendment and Freedom of Information issues" is an understatement. The Forum's contributions are far more than significant.

"Consider: Secret meetings of the (Fargo) Park Board came to an end when discovered by the newspaper; meetings held by law enforcement agencies in Minnesota to avoid North Dakota open meetings laws didn't pass muster by your attorney general; winning a battle with the police department on making information available on a criminal suspect will be an issue with ramifications for all newspapers in your state for years to come; and the same is true for The Forum's battle with the mayor over the question of whether his "task forces" are not official city committees and thereby not regulated by open records laws. This is good solid reporting, the kind that makes the newspaper a true friend of the public it serves. The Feb. 10-11 outline of North Dakota's open meetings laws made it easy for the public to understand what they're entitled to know. The dates on these stories indicate that The Forum takes its responsibility seriously throughout the year. Good work."

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The judges also recognized the work of the Hillsboro Banner. While not of the magnitude of the Fargo newspaper's work, the Hillsboro newspaper also stepped to the plate when faced with a serious breach of conduct by its school board in holding a public meeting 300 miles away from the people who were asked to pay for the cost over-runs on its new school. The conciliatory attitude of the newspaper in offering to publish the school board's agenda each month as a partial result of the confrontation shows mature dealings to settle a potentially damaging affair.

Community service -- Here's what the judges said about The Forum's winning entry, the Saving North Dakota series: Interesting series which provides both problems and proposed solutions. Bringing the difficulties and problems to light in this fashion pulls the reader into the issue at hand.

Rookie Reporter of the Year -- Mary Jo Almquist Comments: Almquist left a magazine job in New York City after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, to take a night reporting job at The Forum. In a short, but riveting recalling of that infamous date, Almquist concluded by writing, "Now, whenever I start to complain about being bored or uninspired, I think about the road that led me here."

General excellence -- This award is based on the total product, including news and feature coverage, photography, headlines, design and advertising.

Sweepstakes -- A traveling award presented to the newspaper that accumulates the most points in contest judging. The Forum took home 21 first place awards for its editorial, photography and advertising work.

In the Newspapers in Education category there were co-winners, Sharon Lipp, NIE Coordinator for The Forum, and Sue Lindlauf, NIE Coordinator for the Grand Forks Herald.

Said the judges: There's no shortage of commitment to using newspapers in the classroom by the Grand Forks Herald and the Fargo Forum. The entries prove the obvious -- the NIE program is working in these communities and it's working well.

Here is a list of Forum place-winners:

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Reporting series

First Place, The Forum, Derailed lives, Steven P. Wagner

Second Place, The Forum, A family matter, Matthew Von Pinnon and Erin Hemme Froslie

Honorable Mention (tie), The Forum, Saving North Dakota, Patrick Springer

Reporting: 12,001 or more

Third Place, The Forum, Gamboa meth trial, Jeff Zent

Feature Reporting: 12,001 or more

Second Place, The Forum, Pastor builds own coffin, Erin Hemme Froslie

Third Place, The Forum, Got Bob?, Helmut Schmidt

Feature Reporting Series: 12,001 or more

First Place, The Forum, Autism, Erin Hemme Froslie

Second Place, The Forum, Prairie voices, Staff

Third Place, The Forum, Worldly eats, Deneen Gilmour

Gov't. Reporting: 12,001 or more

First Place, The Forum, Campaign laws, Janell Cole

Second Place, The Forum, Migration costs, Patrick Springer

Third Place, The Forum, Nursing home bail-out, Lisa Schneider

Gov't. Series: 12,001 or more

First Place, The Forum, Saving North Dakota, News Staff,

Third Place, The Forum, Barnesville School Board, Cole Short

Honorable Mention, The Forum, Hunting flap, Mike McFeely

Spot News: 12,001 or more

Second Place, The Forum, Ada flood, Dave Olson

Honorable Mention, The Forum, Ralph Engelstad death, Gerry Gilmour

Sports Page: 12,001 or more

Second Place, The Forum, Staff

Sports Reporting: 12,001 or more

Second Place, The Forum, Fate of NCC, Jeff Kolpack

Third Place, The Forum, Lasting legacy, Heath Hotzler

Honorable Mention,The Forum, UND to investigate, Mike McFeely

Sports Series: 12,001 or more

Second Place, The Forum, Hunting, Mike McFeely

Third Place, The Forum, Ted Radcliffe series, Jeff Kolpack

Sports Feature: 12,001 or more

Second Place, The Forum, Lamar's long road, Jeff Kolpack

Third Place, The Forum, Two-back pack attack, Eric Peterson

Editorial: 12,001 or more

First Place, The Forum, The values component is missing, Jack Zaleski

Editorial Page: 12,001 or more

First Place, The Forum, Staff

Standing News Fronts: 12,001 or more

First Place, The Forum, D'oh!, Wayne Elfman

Ag Coverage: 12,001 or more

First place, The Forum, Ethanol, Jeff Zent

Second Place, The Forum, Cuba connection, Patrick Springer

Personal Column: 12,001 or more

First Place, The Forum, Father didn't know best, Bob Lind

Second Place, The Forum, Reflection, Mary Jo Almquist

Third Place, The Forum, Country walk requires SWAT team, Tammy Swift

Honorable Mention, The Forum, Minnesota, nation lose a good man, Jack Zaleski

Special News Section: 12,001 or more

First Place, The Forum, Progress 2002, Editorial Staff

Third Place, The Forum, Kickoff 2002, Staff

Section/Feature Fronts: 12,001 or more

First Place, The Forum, Erin Crommett

Headline: 12,001 or more

First Place, The Forum, Glaze of glory, Dean Witter

Overall Design Excellence: 12,001 or more

First Place, The Forum

Photo/graphics awards

News Photo: 12,001 or more

Third Place, The Forum, Boys emotional scars, Dave Arntson

Honorable Mention (tie), The Forum, APA Fights, Colburn Hvidston III and The Forum, SWAT watch, Bruce Crummy

Feature Photo: 12,001 or more

Second Place, The Forum, Day of caring, Darren Gibbins

Third Place, The Forum, Chipmunk, Darren Gibbins

Sports Photo: 12,001 or more

First Place, The Forum, Sitting tag, Darren Gibbins

Third Place, The Forum, Angie Welle, Darren Gibbins

Honorable Mention, The Forum, Baseball tag, Ann Williamson

Picture Story: 12,001 or more

First Place, The Forum, Bogged down in MN, Bruce Crummy

Second Place, The Forum, Bound by alcohol, Darren Gibbins

Pictorial Photo: 12,001 or more

Third Place, The Forum, Luminaries, Dave Wallis

Agricultural Photo: 12,001 or more

First Place, The Forum, Combines, Bruce Crummy

Third Place, The Forum, Stranded cow, Bruce Crummy

Outdoor Recreation Photo: 12,001 or more

First Place, The Forum, Top 4 Wheeler, Dave Wallis

Second Place, The Forum, Basketball shadows, Darren Gibbins

Honorable Mention, The Forum, Egg hunt, Darren Gibbins

Informational Graphics: 12,001 or more

First Place, The Forum, Deck of a time, Kyle Alcott

Second Place, The Forum, Patriotism in air, Wayne Elfman

Third Place, The Forum, Grand Cities, Wayne Elfman

Honorable Mention, The Forum, Gamboa's inner circle, Kyle Alcott

Web Site: 12,001 or more

Third Place, The Forum, www.in-forum.com , Forum Staff

NIE Newspaper of the Year

Co-Winners: The Forum, Sharon Lipp, NIE coordinator; Grand Forks Herald, Sue Lindlauf, NIE coordinator.

First Amendment

Co-Winners: The Forum and Hillsboro Banner

Community Service

The Forum -- Saving North Dakota series

Rookie Reporter of the Year

The Forum, Mary Jo Almquist

General excellence

First Place, The Forum

Sweepstakes

12,001 or more, The Forum

Advertising awards

Entertainment/Liquor Ad: 12,001 or More

Second Place, The Forum, FM Red Hawks- Meet Your Red Hawks, Advertising Staff

Third Place, The Forum, Mexican Village, Advertising Staff

Vehicle Ad: 12,001 or More

Second Place, The Forum, Three Reasons to Buy, Advertising Staff

Apparel Ad: 12,001 or More

Third Place, The Forum, R & G, Staff

Home/Gardening Ad: 12,001 or More

Honorable Mention, The Forum, Valley Lights, Staff

Outdoors/Sports Ad: 12,001 or More

First Place, The Forum, Crystal-Pierz, Advertising Staff

Second Place, The Forum, Oxbow, Advertising Staff

Small Space Ad: 12,001 or More

Second Place, The Forum, Great Harvest, Advertising Staff

Financial Ad: 12,001 or More

Third Place, The Forum, Union State, Advertising Staff

Honorable Mention, The Forum, Ramsey National, Advertising Staff

Political Ad: 12,001 or more

First Place, The Forum, Vote Republican, Advertising

Special Ad Section: 12,001 or More

The Forum, Women in Business, Staff

NorthSCAN Top Seller

Daily - The Forum

Signature Page: 12,001 or More

First Place, The Forum, Coming Up Taller, Staff

Second Place, The Forum, Don't Drink & Drive, Staff

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