For the second straight year, Wednesday Journal was named the state's best large weekly newspaper, winning the Will Loomis Memorial Trophy on Friday at the Illinois Press Association annual convention in Springfield.
In addition, for the first time, the four weeklies under Wednesday Journal's banner also earned the top prize for advertising and marketing, bringing home the Sam Zito Award of Excellence.
Besides the Journal, the other papers published by Oak Park-based Wednesday Journal Inc. are the Austin Weekly News, the Forest Park Review and the Riverside-Brookfield Landmark.
All four publications placed at or near the top for best websites in their circulation categories.
The Journal's OakPark.com took first place among large weeklies. The IPA judge wrote, "An excellent website. … Very strong local content, including hard stories that generated conversation and comment — very thoughtful commenting."
In the sales and marketing competition, Journal publications won 44 honors for ad design, marketing, special sections, digital advertising, house ads, and general excellence.
For the second year, the Journal's classified section was tops in the state. Maureen O'Boyle heads classified sales.
And Dawn Ferencak, associate publisher of the Austin Weekly News and a Journal salesperson, was named Illinois Weekly Salesperson of the Year. It is the second time Ferencak has been recognized for this award, a first in the award's history.
In the editorial contest, the Journal's four newspapers earned 70 honors. Wednesday Journal was cited for best editorial section (Ken Trainor), best sports section (Marty Farmer), best features section (Trainor). Our photographer David Pierini was honored for best photo series, best feature photo (right) and best sports photo. The Journal also won best special section for our annual Community of Caring section, which focuses on social service agencies.
Actually, the Journal took all four honors in that category with our annual Pride section, My Holiday Home and the Austin Weekly's West Side Community Guide being cited. The Journal took first, second and honorable mention for local editorials.
Among columnists, Farmer won best sports column honors. Trainor, Jack Crowe and Dan Haley took second, third and honorable mention, respectively, for local news columns. Editorial cartoonist Marc Stopeck placed second in a category where all the state newspapers compete together.