Every year, newspapers across the country submit their best work in the National Newspaper Association’s Better Newspaper Contest. This week, winners were announced for the 2022 competition: West Milford Messenger took home 13 awards.
Nine wins were for West Milford Messenger’s articles and reporting, and four recognized the paper’s advertising and design.
Senior Reporter Becca Tucker’s business coverage, including “Help wanted badly,” and “The business of COVID brings medicine closer to home,” earned first place for Best Business Story, and Best Business Feature Story, respectively.
Her work following the legalization of marijuana, and how it affects our community, also earned national recognition. “Do we want a bud shop in our town,?” an article examining local municipalities’ views on recreational marijuana, was awarded first place for Best Reporting on Local Government. Tucker’s piece about how to talk to children about marijuana, titled “Mom, what is Jedi Kush?” took third place for Best Education Story.
Tucker’s “Orange County Oath Keepers had roots in sheriff’s office” also earned first place for Best Breaking News Story and Best Localized National Story.
West Milford Messenger Writer Beth Quinn’s “Losing my marbles in the time of pandemic” took first place for Best Humorous Column.
West Milford Messenger’s COVID-19 vaccine coverage took second place for Communication in Crisis Series, including Reporter Molly Colgan’s “Tristate area feels like the ‘Wild West’ trying to get a COVID-19 vaccine,” the paper’s guide to finding a vaccine during shortages, and Colgan’s piece examining Sussex County’s flawed vaccine rollout.
Tucker’s “Backyard poultry boom enters post-honeymoon phase,” a story about locals who started raising chickens during the pandemic, took second place for Best Agricultural Story.
Ads and graphic designs by West Milford Messenger’s Christina Scotti also earned top awards in the national contest. Her ad for Mohawk House took third place for Best Restaurant Advertisement, and her infographic depicting the increased cost of living got an honorable mention for Best Infographic.