Ten national awards are on their way to Stanton — including four categories where the paper was named the best in the nation.
Fresh off of being named the best weekly newspaper in Nebraska in its circulation division, the National Newspaper Association recognized the Stanton Register in 10 categories — advertising, editorial content, page design and community involvement.
Beginning with the national championships, there were two top awards involving the Stanton Health Center. Carrie Pitzer won first place for localizing the national COVID story with the nursing home and assisted living reopening its doors to the public after nearly a year.
“Very good lede,” the NNA wrote. “Nice spin on a story that probably every newspaper in the nation told or would have told.”
Pitzer also won best serious column on spending time with a resident after the doors reopened.
“Her 10-minute interview lasted 90 minutes and she can’t stop thinking about it. The woman in the assisted living facility was alone and loved the visit. It had been a year since anyone but staff had been with her. Her daughter almost died without seeing her and her husband did die in the facility, and the 80-year-old had more to tell. Her family would be coming to get her soon. Nothing more timely than this and what the reporter felt. Well written,” the NNA said.
There were two first place advertising honors as well. Pitzer’s “Don’t Worry” series with Stanton State Bank was named the best in the nation.
“Love the photos used in these ads. The ads are simple — not a lot of clutter — but they tell a powerful message. The similar look to the ads helps keep this bank in people’s minds,” the NNA said.
Angelique Boyer won best small ad in the nation with a unique ad featuring The Greenhorn, which was for the Thanksgiving season and featured a turkey holding a shot glass and the words “Let’s Get Basted.”
“This is by far my favorite! Love the play on words. And the layout of the turkey — SO funny! Great job!” the NNA wrote.
The Register was named runner-up in the nation in two categories, both sports. In design, a sports page by Pitzer featuring the Mustang wrestling team was honored.
“Nice job with the headline, cutout photo to put the story on and the text wrap around the wrestler. I like the schedule at the bottom of the page,” the NNA said.
Also finishing second was Pitzer for best sports story involving Sutton Pohlman at state track in 2021, where he changed his routine and prayed before running the 400 final. The photo included him and the sign of the cross before he went into blocks, which the reporter recognized as not something he always did before running.
“Well told story with nice photos. Great quotes. Solid writing,” the NNA said.
There were two third place awards for the Register, both involving the community and through a team effort between Lisa Wilke and Pitzer. The efforts to work with the community on events from Easter to Christmas was recognized for best community service honors.
“This is a genuine and generous demonstration of cooperation between a publication and its community, at a time when that cooperation is most needed. This passionate, engaged publisher is going above and beyond to redirect the narrative about her community,” the NNA wrote.
Another third-place award went to Wilke and Pitzer for working with the Stanton elementary students on “spreading the news” and selling subscriptions as a school fundraiser.
“Good series of appeals for subscribers to support not only the newspaper, but community resources as well. The ‘community’ full-page ad was dynamic,” the NNA wrote.
The Register received several honorable mention awards, which is fourth place. Pitzer was recognized for a story on the Northern Data building wanting to build in Stanton County. Pitzer also won for using local photography in ads. A Memorial Day ad for Stanton State Bank used a photo she took during a World War II veteran’s funeral after he was identified from Pearl Harbor wreckage.
Another newspaper owned by Pitzer Digital was also honored by the NNA. The Antelope County News received 15 awards, including four national championships. Pitzer earned best sports photo in the nation for the second time in three years. She also teamed up with managing editor Jenny Higgins for first place in breaking news as they covered an emotional accident story involving an Amish buggy and a juvenile automobile driver, which resulted in the death of an unborn child.
Boyer earned two national championships in ad design. The first was with Stealth Broadband’s “size matters” ad as they offered 1 GIG service and also for a tree cutting company that “went out on a limb” for its customers.
Since 2019, Pitzer Digital has won 48 awards from the National Newspaper Association, more than all other Nebraska newspapers combined.