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Winners announced in SDNA Better Newspapers Contest

Here is a link to the winners list for the SDNA Better Newspapers Advertising Contest. Both news/editorial and advertising awards are listed in the file.

Chet Brokaw to receive Distinguished Service Award

Chet Brokaw, who for more than three decades covered state government and most every major news event in South Dakota as a reporter and correspondent for The Associated Press, will receive South Dakota Newspaper Association’s Distinguished Service Award during the group’s upcoming convention.

Brokaw will be honored April 11 during SDNA’s 132nd annual convention in Pierre.

Brokaw retired last month at the end of main portion of the 2014 legislative session. He was recognized in both legislative chambers during his last day. Gov. Dennis Daugaard declared March 14 Chet Brokaw Day. During his career, Brokaw reported on 33 legislative sessions in South Dakota for the AP.

Brokaw graduated from Iowa State University in 1974 with a bachelor’s degree in economics. He was an economist focusing on urban renewal and expansion projects in Botswana for four years, two of those as a Peace Corps volunteer. After his time in Africa, he earned a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri. He joined the AP in 1981, working in Jefferson City, Mo., for six months before moving to Pierre in June 1981.

During his tenure with the AP in South Dakota, he covered major statewide elections, Black Hills forest fires and the 1993 death of Gov. George Mickelson in a plane crash.

“Chet Brokaw’s work as an Associated Press reporter and correspondent in South Dakota since 1981 cut a wide swath,” said SDNA President Steve Baker, publisher of the Pierre Capital Journal. “He has filed thousands of stories from here in Pierre that have been published and broadcast by news media across South Dakota and beyond. It is an honor to recognize him for his work and contributions to journalism in South Dakota.”

The SDNA Distinguished Service Award is given to someone who has demonstrated outstanding service to the newspaper profession in South Dakota.

South Dakota Newspaper Association, founded in 1882 and based in Brookings, represents the state’s 130 weekly and daily newspapers with total readership of more than 600,000.

The Daily Republic wins national award

The Daily Republic at Mitchell has been named the first recipient of the Public Notice Resource Center’s national Public Notice Journalism Award for 2014.

The newspaper is recognized for a series inaugurated by an alert reader who spotted a payment by a local school board in a public notice. The reader’s tip to the newspaper led to a protracted open records lawsuit by the newspaper against the school district. The conclusion: the revelation of a $175,000 severance agreement with a former school superintendent that otherwise would not have reached the readers’ attention.

The award was presented March 13 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Daily Republic editor Seth Tupper accepted the award on behalf of the newspaper.

PNRC President Bradley L. Thompson II, chairman and CEO of the Detroit Legal News, said the revelation of a secret, sealed agreement between the public body and its former employee was the type of public business that might have been swept aside if not for the public notice.

“(The series) all started with the reader who saw the payment in the legals and called us with the tip. Without those legals, I don’t believe anyone outside of the school district board and administration would ever have known about the amount or nature of the $175,000 agreement between the school district and the ex-superintendent,” Tupper said.

Thompson said The Daily Republic’s reporting demonstrated why Americans need robust and viable public notice.

“This series is a terrific illustration of why it is important for governments to keep these notices where the public is likely to find them. The reader in this case helped to point to the story.  The reporting staff and their Freedom of Information lawsuit did the rest. We are honored to recognize this excellent series,” he said.

The entry was selected from a pool of stories involving public notice that ran in U.S. newspapers in 2013.

The Public Notice Journalism award was established in 2013 by American Court and Commercial Newspapers in partnership with state newspaper associations. It is intended to encourage reporters and editors to incorporate public notices into their reporting and writing.

In 2014, participating state press associations will begin to make Public Notice Journalism Contest awards within their own existing newspaper awards programs. A national winner will be selected in 2015 from top state candidates.