For the second consecutive year, the Bowling Green Times has been ranked as one of the state’s top weekly newspapers, finishing third in the Better Newspaper Contest standings.
The Times competed in the division of newspapers with a circulation from 2,000 to 5,000 print subscribers and won awards for written stories, ongoing coverage of rural life, investigative reporting, special publications, and editorials.
The awards were announced Saturday during the 151st Annual Missouri Press Association Convention, which was held in Springfield.
“These awards hopefully remind all of us of what we already knew — the Bowling Green Times is a quality community newspaper,” Linda Luebrecht said. Luebrecht serves as the publisher of the Bowling Green Times. “I am proud to see us receiving this kind of recognition, but I am also grateful to the community. If it was not for the community letting us into their homes each week by having their subscription and for buying copies of the newspaper on the newsstands, then we couldn’t do what we do. I would also like to congratulate and thank Ethan for all of his hard work, it is very appreciated.”
The following is a summary of the newspaper’s awards from this year’s
Best Investigative Reporting: Bowling Green Times reporter Ethan Colbert received first-place for his May 2016 article entitled, “What Happened To Clinton Collins.” The judges commended Colbert for taking “initative and planning to hold this public institution responsible for its duty in this case. The writer turns what could be a simple anniversary story into a revealing look inside the operations of the Pike County Sheriff’s office.”
Best Business Story: Reporter Ethan Colbert received first-place for his article entitled “Healthcare In The Heartland: America’s Doctor Shortage Is Real And It Is Going To Get Worse.”
Judges described the article as being “a thorough localization of an impending national problem.”
Best Story About Religion: Times reporter Ethan Colbert received first-place for his article entitled, “A Special Kind of Harvest,” which tells the story of a group of Jewish Rabbis from New York who travel looking for the ideal wheat crop. Their search brought them to Frankford, Mo., and the farm of Troy Blackwell. Judges praised Colbert’s entry saying that it “stood out from the crowd for its subject matter, photos, and wealth of background information about these rare visitors, their faith and customs.”
Best Story About the Outdoors: Times editor Ethan Colbert also received first-place for his article on Solar Eclipse, which included interviews from the a University of Missouri Professor who discussed the implications of what was going to be happening on August 21, 2017.
Best Special Section: The Times won second-place for its annual People of Pike publication, which focused on an influx of Pike County natives who after graduating from colleges and universities returned home to work as professionals in a variety of fields and industries. In their comments, the out-of-state judges praised the paper’s ability to connect the people of the community with one another. “Small communities love these kinds of publications, great job featuring the people of the community,” the judges wrote.
Best Editorial: The Times received received second-place for its editorial from May 2016 entitled,” Our Advice To The Class Of 2016: Remember the Roads That Lead You Home.” In this category, the judges applauded the newspaper’s strong editorial voice writing “A strong style helps to underline the advice given to the class of 2016. Using the institution’s voice to reach out to the youth of the community is an admirable mission.”
Best Military Story: The Times also received second-place in this category, with the newspaper’s entry of “Searching For Private Harper,” which detailed one local man’s search for a deceased military veteran’s surviving family members in hopes of being able to return the veteran’s military medals to them.
Best Investigative Reporting: The Times also received third-place in this category, with the newspaper’s entry of “Political Group Questions Military Record of Candidate.” Judges said the entry “set the record straight” and that reporter Ethan Colbert conducted a “diligent investigation of the pertinent records with ample opportunity provided for sources on all sides of this issue to present their perspective.”
Best Breaking News Story: Times reporter Ethan Colbert received third-place for his article regarding the identification of Cynthia Day as “Jane Doe,” or the woman’s remains that were identified 26 years after their initial discovery in rural Pike County. Judges praised the article saying, “This is both a timely and compelling look at a decades-old case and how it was solved.”
Best Editorial: The Times also received third-place in this category for its editorial, “ Why the Sunshine Law Exists And Why You Should Care About It.” The judges said this editorial helped address an important issue in the community and “helps explain to the average reader exactly how these laws help the press hold public leaders accountable.”
Best Local Business Coverage: Times reporter Ethan Colbert received third-place for his 2016 articles regarding the looming shortage of doctors in rural America, the fire at a local restaurant, and how local florists were preparing for Valentine’s Day.
Best Coverage of Rural Life or Agriculture: The Times also received third-place out of all of the weekly newspapers in Missouri for its superior coverage of rural life and agriculture.
Community Service: The Times staff received honorable mention for the newspaper’s voter guide regarding an upcoming school board and municipal election in Bowling Green.
Best Investigative Reporting: The Times also received honorable mention for its article investigating the claims made by the Humane Society of the United States regarding a local dog breeder.
In the judge’s comments, they praised the newspaper’s entry saying that it “goes the distance to tell all sides of the story, rather than taking one group’s report at face value.”