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Pioneer earns 9 MNA awards

BLOOMINGTON — The Bemidji Pioneer earned nine Better Newspaper Contest awards Thursday night at the Minnesota Newspaper Association’s annual convention.

The Pioneer won second place in general excellence in the category of dailies under 10,000 circulation. It also won second place for sports reporting and third place for editorial page as a whole.

In Category X, which this year honored coverage of military veterans, the Pioneer won second place. Judges lauded the newspaper for its “tragic yet riveting tale of a veteran’s suicide, one of the most memorable stories of all work submitted in this class.” Judges also cited the Pioneer’s follow-up July 4 editorial linking veterans’ sacrifices to the freedoms Americans celebrate. Also included in the Pioneer’s entry were stories on Iraq war veterans gathering in Bemidji to honor a fallen comrade and a report about France presenting an award to local veteran John O’Boyle.

Pioneer sports reporter Jack Hittinger won two awards in the sports story category. His feature on prolific long-range basketball shooter Dick Ames was judged as the top sports story of the year.

“If you’re going to do a feature like this, go big,” the judges said. “Nobody who picked up the paper this day failed to see this story, and it was well done.”

Hittinger also took third place for his story on Blackduck High School senior Shane Fenske.

Former Pioneer reporter Justin Glawe was honored with three awards. Glawe took first and second place for social issues story. His report on the suicide of a veteran won first and his story on a Bemidji non-profit that works with child victims of sexual abuse took second.

Glawe also finished second in the New Journalist of the Year category.