Johnson earns 9 awards from Missouri Press Association

Posted 9/21/22

UD Editor Neal A. Johnson on Saturday earned five first-place and four second-place Better Newspaper Contest awards for stories and photography published in 2021 from the Missouri Press …

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Johnson earns 9 awards from Missouri Press Association

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UD Editor Neal A. Johnson on Saturday earned five first-place and four second-place Better Newspaper Contest awards for stories and photography published in 2021 from the Missouri Press Association.

“This is an absolute honor,” said Johnson. “There are always a lot of quality entries from all over the state, and to have my work recognized this way is a great accomplishment.”

Managing Editor Connie Warden said, “The Unterrified Democrat has always striven to report the happenings of the county in a correct and comprehensive manner. It is an honor for Neal to receive recognition for the effort that he puts into recording those happenings.”

Johnson claimed first place for the following entries, with commentary from the judge.

— “Record black carp caught,” which in itself is a great topic. “Carp are a trendy fish these days. But we also get a tip: use chicken marinated in strawberry jello for bait as it mimics the native mollusks black carp feed on. Those mollusks are endangered, by the way. The opening of this story is packed with important detail.”

— “From log structure to ornate church,” with a note from the judge noting “In-depth research on the history of this place and space. Well done!”

— “Mock crash at Chamois R-1.” The judge wrote, “This story blew me away. It not only captured the logistics but embraced the emotional experience of students, staff and parents. Simply great.”

Johnson also took first place with a sports photograph and a sports column, which are covered on this week’s sports page.

Four second-place entries also earned praise from judges.

— “Taylor to be held without bond until at least Aug. 24,” which detailed the murder of Leonard and Pauline Gerloff. “In some places, a murder isn’t a major story,” the judge wrote. “In this town, though, a murder is significant news, and a double murder of a husband and wife and left lying in their yard is a major news story. Police went to work and in 10 hours had an arrest made and the judge said the accused man will remain in jail with no bond. The story is well written and contains valuable reporting. Facts are presented but the story is not overly done in a bad way. A small town with a big story.”

— “Evidence outlined in Taylor’s preliminary hearing, Judge Hoven takes it under advisement,” in the best news or feature series category. “The reporter did a thorough job reporting on the investigation and proceedings so far,” the judge wrote. “Overall, the writing quality is very strong and shows dedicated reporting.”

— Overall coverage published on Aug. 4, 2021, of the ongoing murder investigation. “Love all the photos. Easy to read layout,” the judge wrote.

— “Gabelsberger tops Denali.” The judge wrote, “Enjoyable feature recounting one of the toughest challenges in the outdoors: climbing Denali, the tallest mountain in North America and possibly the most dangerous.”

Jacob Warden earned honorable mention for a photo of a house explosion, and Edward Gehlert received honorable mention for his photo from last year’s Osage County Fair featuring a fear of spiders.

All told, the UD collected 11 awards while the Gasconade County Republican captured 10, and the Maries County Advocate received 13.

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