- Associated Press - Friday, February 3, 2017

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Des Moines Register was named Friday as the Iowa Newspaper Association’s 2017 “Newspaper of the Year.”

The Newspaper of the Year award celebrates overall excellence in dozens of categories encompassing news coverage, technical presentation and advertising display. The award was announced at the awards banquet during the association’s 2017 Convention and Trade Show, held Feb. 1-3 in Des Moines.

Presentations were also made to winners of the Iowa 2017 Better Newspaper Contests, which were judged by the Colorado Press Association. Approximately 4,650 entries in dozens of categories were judged by class, based on circulation. The annual contests are sponsored by the Iowa Newspaper Foundation.

During the convention, three Iowa journalists were named 2017 Master Editor-Publishers. Recipients of the esteemed awards were Ron Slechta, publisher of The Kalona News; LeAnn Larson, publisher of The Fayette County Union; and Stuart Clark, publisher of The Tipton Conservative. The awards are presented annually to Iowa publishers and editors selected from nominations made by Iowa Newspaper Association members; the selections are made by previous Master Editor-Publisher winners. The honorees are chosen based on the following criteria: The nominee has worked hard, thought soundly, influenced unselfishly and lived honorably.

Also recognized during the convention were four Distinguished Service Award winners, long-time journalists and professionals honored for their contributions to the newspaper profession and to their communities. Recipients of this honor included Doug Melvold, of the Maquoketa Sentinel-Press; Deb Geisler, advertising manager for the Jefferson Herald; Michael Buqeja, director and professor of Iowa State University Greenlee School of Journalism and Mass Communication; and Scott Sundstrom, vice president of government relations at Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield.



Named “Outstanding Young Iowa Journalists” for their achievements in the newspaper industry were: Rebecca McKinsey, Carroll Daily Herald; Joel Aschbrenner, Des Moines Register; and Christina Sorenson, Spirit Lake Dickinson County News. The award is presented jointly by the Iowa Newspaper Foundation and the journalism schools at the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and Drake University.

The Harrison “Skip” Weber Investigative Reporting Award recognizes journalists who went above-and-beyond in covering an issue important to their communities. Winners were Scott Levine, Clinton Herald; Lee Rood, Rekha Basu and Jason Clayworth, Des Moines Register; Russ Mitchell, Spirit Lake Dickinson County News; and the Storm Lake Pilot-Tribune staff.

The Bill Monroe INA Innovation Award was presented to the Des Moines Register. The Innovation Award recognizes INA member newspapers for developing new and cutting-edge products.

The Jay P. Wagner Prize for Young Journalists was awarded to Alicia Yager, Dubuque Telegraph Herald; Dan Mika, Ames Tribune; and John Schreier, Council Bluffs Daily Nonpareil. The award was created by the family of the late Jay P. Wagner to honor his life as a devoted community newsman.

For a list of winners in all Better Newspaper Contest categories, visit www.INAnews.com.

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