Pioneer wins 12 awards at Minnesota Newspaper Association convention

The Bemidji Pioneer received 12 awards during the Minnesota Newspaper Association's 155th annual convention held Thursday in Brooklyn Park.

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BROOKLYN PARK -- The Bemidji Pioneer received 12 awards during the Minnesota Newspaper Association's 155th annual convention held Thursday in Brooklyn Park.

Judges in the MNA's Better Newspaper Contest chose the Pioneer as first-place winner in sports reporting and in advertising excellence among multi-day papers up to 5,000 circulation. The Pioneer also won second place for general reporting and third place for typography and design.

The Pioneer’s quarterly inBemidji magazine placed first among all multi-day newspapers. The judges said: “This magazine felt so inviting. I loved all the do-it-yourself things to do. The photos were great and the page design made you want to read each and every article.”

Several Pioneer reporters walked away in the top spots for their social issues stories, with Jillian Gandsey receiving first place for her story “ I’m glad to be here: Bemidji teen escapes scene of Boulder shooting, returns the following day with his cello .”

Micah Friez got second place for his story “ It’s more than basketball: Mohamed Kone, Benly Olizia kneeling as call for justice, unity .”


Pioneer editor Annalise Braught and former Pioneer reporter Hannah Olson received first place on a joint hard news story, “ Protesters block entrances to Bemidji Enbridge office in opposition to Line 3 ,” with the judges commenting: “Fantastic writing, fantastic coverage. The reporters offered a balanced, unbiased article on an issue that can be extremely polarizing. I commend the reporters for a job well done.”

Olson also received the second place spot in the hard news category for her story “ Resilience of nation displayed during Red Lake State of the Band Address .”

In the sports feature category among papers under 10,000 circulation, Pioneer reporter Bria Barton placed first for her story “ Darkhouse spearfishing is 'God's television set' for the winter outdoors enthusiast .” The judges commented that it was an “extremely riveting feature on the sport of spearfishing. It covered a lot of ground, including the controversy of the sport. But it also gave good insight into the passion the spearfisherman has for the sport.”

Former sports editor Austin Montieth placed third among all multi-day newspapers for his sports story “ Beavers stun Badgers: BSU knocks off Wisconsin in 6-3 win .” The judges commented that the story was “super easy to read and informative, it answered every question I had about the game and kept my attention.”

Though the Pioneer is designed by many graphic designers throughout Forum Communications Co., Meghan Dowhaniuk submitted her work on the Pioneer for a design portfolio and won third place among all daily newspapers

"It is very rewarding to have our entire team recognized by our peers in the industry,” Pioneer publisher Todd Keute said of the awards. “It is especially significant as our quality local news delivery to our readers continues to be our focus in both our print and digital formats. It is also important to have a community which supports, engages and challenges us to be our best."

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