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Interior Journal wins 12 state awards for newspaper excellence

LEXINGTON — The Interior Journal and its staff won 12 awards at  the Kentucky Press Association’s annual awards banquet, held Friday at the Hilton in downtown Lexington.

The Interior Journal placed second to Falmouth Outlook in the overall General Excellence category for small weeklies. The Springfield Sun placed third in the category. The contest was judged by the Maine Press Association.

Editor Nancy Leedy garnered nine of the paper’s state awards, bringing home first place awards for Best Feature Story, Best General News Picture, Best Sports Front Page/Section, Best Picture Essay (General, Breaking or Feature) and Best Headline Writer in the newspaper’s Weekly 1 Division.

Leedy’s first place feature story was titled, “The Equestrian Life: Adalee Ladwig is riding love of horses to national championship,” and originally published on Sept. 12, 2019. 

“Great photos to go with a really good story,” the judges wrote of the story. “Nice job all around. Not surprised horses would make such a big story in Kentucky.” 

In the Best General News Picture category, Leedy won first place for a shot taken during a community forum. The photo, which was published in the Feb. 14, 2019 edition of The Interior Journal, shows former Governor Matt Bevin taking a selfie with Stacey Harrison and Marcia Carson during the forum.

“Interesting take on an ‘elected official makes appearance at a place’ assignment,” wrote the judges. “Well framed, good approach to incorporating it into the page design.”

Leedy’s win for Best Sports Front Page/Section came after judges evaluated multiple issues of The Interior Journal.

“Nancy Leedy’s photography and writing are impressive,” said a judge. “I chose this package for its variety and the 1969 football team retrospective which gave me a feel for the history of the area. Excellent work!”

Rounding out Leedy’s list of first-place awards were the top award for Best Picture Essay and Best Headline Writer. In the picture essay category, judges deemed her photo collage of the “Newsies” musical at Lincoln County High School, published on April 4, 2019, the top entry. Multiple headlines were submitted for judging in the Best Headline Writer category. Among those included in Leedy’s package was “Stanford resident raises stink over sewer issue,” published on May 30, 2019, which one judge praised for being, “short, fun and clever.”

The Interior Journal merited a total of six first-place awards, with page designer Akasha Goins spotlighted as the Best Front Page winner for her layout of the Aug. 8, 2019 edition of The Interior Journal which featured the pipeline explosion.

“This paper is not afraid of a bold front page layout,” said the judges. “Particularly like the use of the aerial photo of the pipeline explosion and the headline treatment.”

Goins won two awards in the Best Front Page category, with her design of the Sept. 12, 2019 edition, which featured local equestrian Adalee Ladwig, receiving second place.

Leedy came away from the awards banquet with a total of 10 awards overall, adding two second-place awards and three third-place awards. She placed second in Best Breaking News for her story titled, “Sheriff’s Deputy rescues woman moments before car is swept away.” The story was published in the Feb. 28, 2019 IJ. Her second second-place award came in the Best On-Going/Extended Coverage category in the Daily 1 Division, as she, along with Bobbie Curd and Robin Hart of the Advocate Messenger were recognized for their reports in the Danville newspaper on the fallout from the pipeline explosion in the months following the Aug. 1 blast. 

Leedy’s third-place awards were for Best General News Picture, for “Daddy Dance Off” from annual Father-Daughter Dance (Feb. 21, 2019), Best Special Sports Page/Section (multiple papers package) and Best Sports Feature Story for her article titled, “Maddy Boyle named Female Athlete of the Year.” The Boyle story prompted one judge to comment, “You can feel Maddy’s intensity jumping off the page and her quote – ‘I just went into every game with that killer mindset – I want us to absolutely kill someone.’ – may be one for the ages.”

Abigail Whitehouse, contributing writer and former IJ editor, won third place in the contest’s Best On-Going/Extended Coverage Story category for her reporting on the Stanford City Council violating the Open Meetings Act.

“Bravo for taking on this issue and for holding elected officials accountable,” commented the judges on Whitehouse’s coverage.