MISSOULA – The Glasgow Courier won two statewide awards for first place and three for second during the Montana Newspaper Association’s 2013 convention last week in Missoula.
The Courier’s big winners in the MNA’s annual Better Newspaper Contest were Nashua correspondent Sandy Laumeyer for Best Column Writing and sports editor J. Levi Burnfin for Best Sports Column.
The Courier’s second place winners included editor Samar Fay for Best Long Feature Story, Virgil Vaupel for Best Column Writing, and office manager Terry Trang, publisher Jim Orr and production manager Stan Sonsteng for Best Multi-Sponsor Ad.
The victory deeply touched Laumeyer, the reflective writer who joined The Courier as a writer just last October after her time running River Run Press in Nashua. The excited journalist notified family members quickly after learning of the award. When she visited The Courier office Tuesday to pick up her first-place plaque, she held it in front of her on the front counter for 30, maybe 45 seconds, and gazed at it – absorbing a moment in life as she does in her columns.
Laumeyer’s contest entries included columns on family traditions, surviving breast cancer, and rain and drought.
“Sandy has a great voice and compassion in her writing,” a contest judge wrote. “Her description of the feeling of waking to rain was likely felt very similarly by her readers, but also speaks to the larger news issue of drought. Her personal story of surviving breast cancer was courageous and inspiring.”
Vaupel – Laumeyer’s folksy and blunt stablemate in The Courier Opinion Page winners’ circle – entered columns on the importance of supporting local business, a wild winter day in Northeast Montana, and the need for barf bags when watching political campaign commercials.
“Vaupel isn’t afraid to say exactly what he means,” a judge wrote. “He uses real language that speaks to real people.”
On the sports side, Burnfin took first with three column entries: “Top Ten Scotties Push Each Other to New Heights,” UM cornerback Trumaine Johnson’s NFL draft outlook, and “No Love Lost In Malta.” The latter piece, focusing on rude behavior of Malta fans during a football game against Glasgow, was much-appreciated in Scottie Nation.
Meanwhile, Fay’s perennial success in the MNA contest endured with her second-place entry for Best Long Feature Story, a stroll into the Fort Peck Dam’s 75th anniversary.
“Nice flow throughout,” a judge wrote.
Finally, Trang, Orr and Sonsteng were hardly the first winners in The Courier’s popular 45th annual Football Contest, but win they did with a second-place award for Best Multi-Sponsor Ad. Trang redesigned the contest for 2012, while Orr sold ads for it with a hand from Sonsteng.
One contest judge applauded the use of one advertising sponsor for each of the 20-plus games on the contest: “Nice way to involve readers. (The) minimal use of color (also) helps the contest name stand out.”
The MNA’s 128th annual convention was held Thursday through Saturday at the Holiday Inn/Missoula Downtown and the Daly Mansion in Hamilton. Orr participated in a number of meetings and events as The Courier publisher and an MNA board member.