Magnet earns state news honors

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By PHILLIS MCLAUGHLIN, Special to The Magnet

The Spencer Magnet won eight awards Friday night, Jan. 24, during the 2013 Editorial Contest sponsored by the Kentucky Press Association.
The awards – which included two for first place, five for third place and one honorable mention – were presented during the annual KPA banquet at the Hyatt Regency in Lexington, Ky.
Former Magnet editor Shannon Brock took both first-place awards. The first was for Best Front Page. “The Spencer Magnet provides a lot of well-written news and great photos and graphics, which are well-played on the front page. A great read,” the judges said.
Brock’s second first-place award was for Best Business/Agricultural Page. The judges were most impressed with the monthly “Homegrown” business feature.
“The Spencer Magnet’s Homegrown section on its business pages makes for a really great read and features great photos, writing and layout. A very nice twist on business features.”
Brock, who served as Magnet editor for more than two years, recently left the Magnet to work at the State Journal in Frankfort.
Staff writer Mallory Bilger took third-place honors for Best Investigative Story or Series for her article, “Chinese restaurant reopens following health department shutdown,” which appeared in the Sept. 4 issue.
“Mallory has worked with the Spencer Magnet on and off for close to 10 years,” said Magnet Publisher Lynette Mason. “Mallory will delve straight into any issue before she begins her writing in order to clearly see the issues in the story from various viewpoints. This is evident in this story. Mallory is a gifted and talented member of our team.”
Sports writer John Shindlebower took third place for Best Sports Feature for his April 10 story on McKenna Pfeiffer’s athletic comeback following an injury.
“John’s passion for sports is a valuable asset to the Magnet, and we are pleased to see him recognized for his hard work and dedication,” Mason said.
Mason, herself, won third place for Best Spot News Photo for photos of a motorcycle accident and a three-car accident that ran on the front page of the Aug. 28 issue. One scene pictured an accident between a vehicle and a motorcycle and the photo captured the seriousness of the accident and the emotions of those standing nearby. The second photo showed a three-car accident with several onlookers and first responders gathered in the area.
Brock and Shindlebower took third place for Best Sports Page, based on submissions from Nov. 28, 2012, and Feb. 27 and April 10, 2013.
Brock and Phyllis McLaughlin, contributing writer, earned an honorable mention for Best Ongoing/Extended Coverage for a series of stories regarding the county’s emergency radio system and radio tower.
“Phyllis McLaughlin worked several weeks with the Magnet last year to help fill in as needed. She is a highly talented writer and seasoned journalist who brings with her much knowledge and experience. We were indeed fortunate to have someone at Phyllis’ level to pitch in just when we needed help the most, and we are pleased to see her win this award from KPA,” Mason said.
McLaughlin is a roving reporter with the Magnet’s parent company, Landmark Community Newspapers Inc., based in Shelbyville.
Finally, the Magnet staff took third-place honors for Best Editorial Page. Judges commented: “This paper took on several important topics to the community it serves and is encouraged to continue tackling local topics.”