Democrat wins 11 statewide awards

Local paper wins first place in General Excellence

The Cassville Democrat won 11 total awards in the Missouri Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest, including First Place in General Excellence.

Kyle Troutman, Publisher of the Democrat, said he was thrilled with the results from the annual contest, especially given the changes at the paper in the last year, as entries were printed in the 2022 calendar year.

“We transitioned through two ownership changes in the last year, also losing our page designer to another publication, so to still be able to perform as well as we did speaks to the level of quality we maintained throughout some challenging times,” Troutman said.

Of the 11 awards, four were first-place honors. Troutman said he was especially pleased to have placed first in General Excellence, only the second time for the paper to win the category.

“General Excellence pits each competing paper head-to-head on the quality of three issues, front to back,” Troutman said. “While we did not amass enough points to win a Gold Cup this year, placing first in General Excellence means our newspaper is one of the best in the state, week in and week out.”

“This is a top-notch newspaper with a reader-centric approach to it all: design, photography, reporting, content selection,” the judge’s comment read. “Kudos are also due to the ad staff for an excellent job in design. A great team effort all around.”

The Democrat’s other three first-place awards were in Best Breaking News Story and Multi-Media Reporting, for Troutman’s coverage of the Hall Theatre Fire, and in Best Headline Writing, where the judge said the Democrat’s five submitted headlines were “the best group of headlines by far.”

The Hall Theatre fire coverage was hailed for its depth of stories, photo gallery and on-site live video shot the morning of March 1, 2022.

Troutman also received second-place awards for Best Feature Photograph for a photo taken at the Exeter Corn Maze, and Best Sports Feature Photograph for a photo taken at an Exeter softball game.

The Cassville Democrat’s sports pages earned a second-place award, and Jordan Troutman received second place in Best Military Story for a piece on the Hovland family.

Third-place awards were for Best Photo Package for Kyle Troutman’s photos of TroutFest 2022, Best Editorial Design & Opinion Pages and Best Website.

The Democrat submitted 27 total entries, and Troutman said performing so well with so few entires makes him excited for next year’s contest.

“With my wife Jordan and I having just bought the paper when entries were due, we did not submit nearly as much as we could have this go around,” Troutman said. “I am extremely excited for next year’s contest, as we will have a full year of coverage under our ownership and hope to win another Gold Cup after having fallen out of the running in the last three years.

“We live in a great community that has supported our newspaper for more than 150 years. We plan to continue providing coverage that keeps us in the conversation as one of the premier weekly newspapers in the state of Missouri.”