By Staff and wire report
ANACONDA - The Havre Daily News won the Community Service Award this weekend at the Montana Newspaper Association's 2002 Better Newspaper Contest for its series of articles on underage drinking in Hill County.
Also, Havre Daily News sports editor Ryan Divish took first place, as well as third place, in best sports event coverage.
In the advertising categories, prepress manager Stacy Fanning and advertising director Laurie Harvey took first and second place in best small space advertising.
The Daily News placed first in four contest categories. The newspaper competes in a category that includes Montana's smaller daily newspapers and larger weekly newspapers, with circulation between 3,001 and 7,499.
Montana's top newspapers and newspaper people were honored during the awards banquet, which concluded the MNA's 187th annual convention Saturday night at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort. The contest was judged by the South Dakota Newspaper Association.
The Missoulian won the Sam Gilluly Sweepstakes Award as the best daily newspaper in Montana for the second time in three years.
For the second consecutive year, the Bigfork Eagle won the Thomas Dimsdale Sweepstakes Award, given to the state's best nondaily newspaper. The 2002 contest win is the fourth time in the past six years - following trophies in the 1997, 1999 and 2001 contests.
The sweepstakes awards in the weekly and daily divisions are for issues printed during 2002 and are based on total points accumulated for placing in the various categories of the contest, which include feature and editorial writing, reporting, sports, photography, advertising, typography, and layout and design.
The Community Service Award is one of several major awards given in each circulation category. The Havre Daily News series, which was published in August, documented the high incidence of underage drinking in Hill County and the attempts, both successful and unsuccessful, of local residents to deal with it. After the series ran, the editorial board of the Daily News asked local officials to write guest columns about how the community should address the problem.
"You hit this problem head-on and invited input," a contest judge wrote. "This is a serious problem in many communities."
Jared Ritz, a University of Montana journalism student from Havre who worked in the Daily News' newsroom last summer, won first place in government reporting with a story he wrote about the few recourses landlords have when their properties have been used as methamphetamine labs. A judge wrote: "A well-told, important story about how government can let down its citizens."
Ritz was a recipient recently of a scholarship from the Montana Newspaper Association.
Former Havre Daily News photographer Adam Houseman won first place in best photo essay for a Hi-Line Living page about an anti-drunken driving program held at a Hi-Line school.
Sports editor Divish also placed second in best sports pages, and second in best sports column writing. George Ferguson of the Havre Daily News placed third in best sports column writing.
Other awards won by the Daily News news staff are: third place for best column writing (Patrick Winderl); honorable mention for best spot news coverage; honorable mention for best deadline news graphic; third place in best in-depth reporting; third place in best business/financial reporting; and second place in best sports feature story.
Other awards won by the advertising staff are second place in best newspaper promotion advertising and third place in best single ad (spot color)
There were 2,321 individual and newspaper entries representing 48 of the 81 MNA newspapers in the contest.