2022-23 Better Newspaper Contest Awards

I’m a little belated in acknowledging this, but thank you to the Minnesota Newspaper Association for honoring my Duluth News Tribune reporting with three awards in this year’s Better Newspaper Contest! All three stories were meaningful to me, and I’m glad they resonated with readers as well as judges.

I received a first place Arts & Entertainment Story award for my profile of Max Morath, the ragtime legend and public television pioneer who retired to Duluth. Through the generosity of both Max and his wife Diane Skomars, I was able to conduct the last media interview Max gave before his death last summer at age 96. After the story was published, Diane sent a video of Max telling me that after his wife read the story to him, he thought, “I would sure like to meet this guy!”

I also received a first place Human Interest: News Feature award, recognizing my story about the long (and still ongoing) campaign to transform the Duluth Armory into a multi-use community space. “You had me at Buddy Holly,” wrote one of the judges, referring to my description of being greeted by that artist’s music when I stepped into the hall where Holly once performed to local admirers including a young Bob Dylan.

Finally, I can now say — never saw this coming — that I’m an award-winning sportswriter. I received a third place (I’ll take it!) award in the Sports Feature Story category for my story about the eclectic, dedicated group of volunteers who make the Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon happen. Thanks to my editors for taking a chance on their A&E reporter with this one, and I’m glad it turned out even if I didn’t pull an all-nighter like I originally hoped. Next year?

Although my name is on the plaques, credit is also due to my managing editor, Katie Rohman, and the rest of the News Tribune editorial staff. Also thanks to Wyatt Buckner for photography and videography on the Armory story, and to Clint Austin for his evocative Beargrease photos.