Commitment to quality pays off for newspaper

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By Melissa Blankenship

Moving from third place to first place in one year’s time is a thrilling accomplishment in any arena. To do so in the field of journalism is particularly satisfying.

After sealing a third place finish in last year’s Excellence in Kentucky Newspapers contest through the Kentucky Press Association, your Henry County Local claimed First Place in General Excellence among like-sized weekly newspapers across the state.

The cumulative award is based on the individual efforts of our staff. In full recognition that we are tooting our own proverbial horn, please allow me to share this honor with you, our readers.

For his efforts in the sports department, sports editor Greg Woods earned a first place win in the category of Best Sports Picture Essay for his photos of the draft horse pull at the Henry County Fair. “Great action shots!” the judge said of his entry. 

Greg also brought home a second place in the category of Best Sports Column, with the judge commenting, “Mundane subjects given interesting twists and the personal approach is appealing.” 

Greg also earned a second place in Best Sports Feature Story, for his article on a young man from Eminence who doesn’t allow his physical limitations to keep him off the basketball court. “Greg Woods writes a good article, keeping the reader’s attention,” the judge commented. 

Editor Chris Brooke’s article on local advancements in the hemp industry earned him a first place finish in Best Business/Agribusiness Story.

Our resident freelance photographer, Kristen Lowry was awarded a first place in the category of Best Picture Essay for her compelling photos of last year’s Harvest Showcase.  The judge was enthusiastic in providing a comment on her work. “My pick for first never changed after seeing this entry. The page perfectly captures the story of the day with outstanding photography. A great layout, too.” Kristen’s picture of an Eminence Elementary School music program depicting a little boy emphatically telling his parents to “cut it out” on their picture taking earned a second-place award.

For my part in the production of the Local, I was honored to receive a second place in Best Column. “Melissa Blankenship introduces her topics with a hook and a breezy style holds the reader’s interest,” the judge commented. 

I was also happy to receive, along with our summer intern Jesse Harp, another second place in the category of Best On-Going/Extended Coverage Story for our efforts to follow the arson case that resulted from a 2014 fire that destroyed a section of historic downtown Main Street in Eminence.

Another fire, the one at Woody’s Grocery outside of Lockport, resulted in a first place win in the category of Best Breaking News Picture for me, and a photo of the opening day of Eminence’s splash park earned another first for me in Best Feature Picture.

Lastly, and I have to share this particular honor with all those who contribute to it, our editorial page (A5 every week in the newspaper) was named second place in the category of Best Editorial Page. “The design of these pages was the best of all the entries. The local columns, use of art and the multiple letters showing community engagement with the newspaper were all welcome things to see on an editorial page,” the judge said of the entries.

We would do the work without the accolades, but it is particularly rewarding to be recognized for our efforts.

We are incredibly proud of the work we do here at the Local each week, and we take great pride in serving our community in a way that exemplifies high standards of journalism. We hope we’ve made you proud as well. After all, it’s you we write about. We photograph you at events. And it is you we deliver the news to each week. 

We share this honor with you, our readers, and ask you to continue to support the Henry County Local and the work we do for the county.

If you know of someone who doesn’t regularly read the newspaper, encourage them to pick it up, give it a read and decide for themselves if it’s worth the paper it’s printed on.


The Kentucky Press Association certainly believes that it is and we pledge to continue to work hard on your behalf as we claim the title, “Best Newspaper,” not only for Henry County, but in the state.