INDIANAPOLIS - The Kokomo Tribune brought home 16 awards at this year’s Hoosier State Press Association Foundation Better Newspaper Contest.

The results were announced at the 50th annual awards luncheon Saturday at the Indianapolis Marriott North. Work submitted to the contest was published between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016.

The Tribune received a third place nod for General Excellence.

“The General Excellence Award is given to one paper in each of the six circulation divisions based on a point system,” wrote the judges. “Winners in this category should exemplify excellence in all aspects of newspaper publication, including mechanical excellence, editorial content and appearance.”

Tribune staff won second place in the Best Ongoing News Coverage category for their entry, “Koontz shooting.”

“It was tough to pick a second place winner, but the videography by Cara Ball gave this entry an edge,” wrote the judges. “Beautiful portrayal of Deputy Carl Koontz. Even readers who had never met the deputy would get an idea of the kind of person he was. Strong writing and emotionally arresting.”

Several individual Tribune staffers were also honored for their work.

Lauren Slagter won first place in the Best News Coverage with No Deadline for her entry, “Teacher shortage.”

“This entry took an issue that doesn’t have a clear-cut answer, as both sides point out their reasons, and shows the readers why when it comes to education (which affects everyone) there will always be debate,” wrote the judges.

In the same category, George Myers and Mike Fletcher won second place for their entry, “Jail shortage.”

“Great look at an issue and showing the readers the difficulties law enforcement and government face when it comes to jails,” wrote the judges.

Lauren Slagter and Myers won first place in the Best Ongoing News Coverage category for their entry, “Dispatch Center.”

“The writing is compelling and nearly flawless,” wrote the judges.

This entry was also a finalist for Story of the Year.

“This is an excellent job of taking a breaking news story and shining the light on a crucial issue in your community,” wrote the judges. “I felt both sides of the story [were] told well, and I especially liked the story where the reporter embedded herself with dispatchers. This type of story defines what community journalism should be all about.”

Martin Slagter won third place in the Best Business/Economic News Coverage category for his entry, “Weber Speakers.”

“Good reporting, photography and layout of this A1 story,” wrote the judges. “Nice use of subheads to make it easy to read.”

Martin Slagter also won first place in the Best Profile Feature category for his entry, “Girl Scout leader.”

“Excellent storytelling,” wrote the judges. “Entertaining and still gets to the point. Made me want to meet this person.”

Tim Bath won both first and third places in the Best Spot News Photo category for his photos “House fire” and “Night fire,” respectively.

“Such a haunting, spectacular photo,” wrote the judges of the winning entry.

Kelly Lafferty Gerber took home third place and Bath first place in the Best General News Photo category for their photos, “Cops 4 Kidz” and “Propane training,” respectively.

“What a striking image! Difficult to shoot well, beautiful and technically difficult,” wrote the judges of the winning entry. “Great shot.”

Lafferty Gerber won second place in the Best Sports Feature Photo category for her photo, “Little League joy.”

“Perfect moment accentuated by the shallow focus,” wrote the judges. “Just a great shot.”

Lafferty Gerber won third place in the Best Sports Action Photo category for her photo, “Basketball twist.”

Rodney Ogle won second place in the Best Use of Graphics category.

“Great way to think outside the box,” wrote the judges.

Lauren Slagter and Martin Slagter won first place in the Best Community Service category for their entry, “Concentrated poverty.”

The Kokomo Tribune competes in Division 5, which covers daily newspapers with circulations between 14,000 and 34,999.

The HSPA, founded in 1933, is a trade association representing 167 daily and weekly paid-circulation newspapers in Indiana, according to its website. HSPA provides legal information, training and other services to its members.

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