The Quad Cities Regional Business Journal captured 10 awards – including a first place for business/financial/consumer reporting and awards for public affairs reporting, best design, localized news story and best historical feature – in the 2023 NINA contest. The Northern Illinois News Association awards were announced Thursday night, Oct. 26, during NINA’s annual awards presentation. […]
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The Quad Cities Regional Business Journal captured 10 awards – including a first place for business/financial/consumer reporting and awards for public affairs reporting, best design, localized news story and best historical feature – in the 2023 NINA contest. The Northern Illinois News Association awards were announced Thursday night, Oct. 26, during NINA’s annual awards presentation. More than 15 nameplates and freelancers submitted 289 entries into the competition, NINA announced. The contest period was from May 1, 2022, to April 30, 2023. The QCBJ, owned by John and Aspen Lohman’s Corridor Media Group, also took second place overall in the General Excellence category. “Avid readers of the QCBJ are familiar with the exceptional content that our veteran newsroom produces every day and in every issue. These awards are a well-deserved acknowledgement to our news team, and something that I’m very appreciative of,” said John Lohman, CEO and founder of the Corridor Media Group, based in North Liberty, Iowa. The annual NINA conference and awards banquet is traditionally held at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. But the NINA board shifted the event to a virtual program this year to increase accessibility to journalists and journalism faculty and students across northern Illinois. About 50 people participated in the digital program. The QCBJ competed in the nondaily category but also won two awards in a combined category of dailies and nondailies, competing against other northern Illinois news agencies including those in the Chicagoland area. The QCBJ award winners were: General Excellence, QCBJ Staff, Second Place: This category, formerly known as the Sweepstakes Award, is a combined category of both daily and nondailies. This marked the second year that the QCBJ, founded in late 2021 by the Lohmans, won second place. The first place winner was the (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald and third place went to The Observer, the Catholic Diocese of Rockford. Business/Financial/Consumer Story: Steve Tappa, First Place: His “Fiber for farms” story, which appeared in the Jan. 9 edition of the QCBJ, won in the nondaily category. Judges said this about the work: “A wonderful job explaining not only where the region is with broadband connectivity, but also how it’s funded, timelines and the intersection between broadband and agriculture.” Best Design, Becky Lyons and Julia Druckmiller, Second Place: The QCBJ’s print editions are designed by Ms. Lyons, vice president of operations & design, and Ms. Druckmiller, graphic designer. The award is for excellence in design, typography, photos/graphics use, and general appearance. Best Public Affairs Reporting, nondaily, Kenda Burrows, Second Place. The QCBJ senior reporter won for her “Businesses, union leaders battle over Workers Rights Amendment,” story. Best Localized News Story, nondaily, Kenda Burrows, Second Place for “Businesses, policymakers key to attacking costly child care crisis.” Best Localized News Story, nondaily, Dave Thompson, Third Place. The QCBJ content editor won for his “‘Pandemic pups’ help drive business boom in QC.” Best Historical Feature, Kenda Burrows, Second Place for “WWI trailblazers an undertold Women Ordnance Workers story.” Best Historical Feature, Kenda Burrows, Third Place for “Deere-Wiman ‘special house’ worth preserving.” Best Sports Story, nondaily, Steve Tappa, Second Place for “MLB tabs area’s TBK Sports Complex as training partner.” Best General Feature, nondaily, Kenda Burrows, Third Place, for “QC, That’s Where more magic will be made,” a story on the opening of a QC Film Office in Rock Island. NINA’s virtual celebration featured keynote speaker “Facts Matter” Columnist Bob Oswald, of the Daily Herald, who discussed his reporting on misinformation during a question and answer discussion with NINA Board President John Lampinen. Mr. Oswald, a longtime Chicago-area journalist, also offered his perspective on media literacy – an emphasis of NINA’s work. Throughout the evening, speakers discussed the future of journalism and news literacy as well as advocated for journalists, educators and others to collaborate to recruit and train future journalists. Mr. Lampinen told the crowd gathered on Zoom that NINA’s mission today “is to promote information in an age where reporting grows more scarce and to promote news literacy in an age where misinformation and polarization threaten our understanding of what is real and true. “On both measures, we look to the young as those with the greatest stake in this and those who will provide the greatest solutions,” Mr. Lampinen said. Sarah Lin, of Glenview, Illinois, the winner of NINA’s 2023 John Etheredge Award for Northern Illinois High School Journalist of the Year, also spoke briefly during the event. She is a freshman journalism student at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. “I feel there’s a way to make local news trendy,” she said, acknowledging that her generation isn’t likely to pick up a newspaper for its news. But social media, she said, is a way to make news more accessible to young people. “I think this is the way local news will survive.” Now in its 61st year, the association was founded Dec. 1, 1962, as the Northern Illinois Editorial Association. Its latest name change came in 2022 when it adopted the Northern Illinois News Association name to reflect its commitment to Northern Illinois journalism and the changing industry. The association serves journalists and journalism educators across Northern Illinois in conjunction with NIU’s Department of Communication.