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Star-Journal newsroom receives 11 MPA awards


The Star-Journal newsroom took home 11 awards, one of which was first place, in the Missouri Press Association Better Newspaper Contest for work published in 2021.

The awards were presented at the 2022 Missouri Press Association convention in Lake Ozark on Saturday, Sept. 17. The Star-Journal competed against other weekly newspapers of similar circulation size.

“I’m so proud of our newsroom’s efforts. While we don’t do our jobs for the awards, it’s still nice to be recognized by our peers for the work we are producing,” Star-Journal Editor Nicole Cooke said. “We work hard each and every day to provide quality local journalism for Johnson County, and these awards help confirm that.”

Sports Editor Joe Andrews took home first place in Best Sports News Story or Package for his coverage of the Warrensburg cross country program being inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame. 

“The Clawson centerpiece is fantastic, and the writing does a nice job of detailing the genesis of a cross-country/track powerhouse that means so much to those who are a part of it,” the judge wrote.

He placed second in the same category for his coverage of the new Warrensburg Activities Complex being dedicated in September 2021. 

“Every aspect is detailed in the story of an activities complex that is clearly very meaningful to the community,” the judge wrote.

Also in the same category, Andrews received an honorable mention for “Leeton walks off for first quarterfinal win since 1990.”

In Best Sports Feature Story, Andrews received second place for “First Class: Buehler becomes youngest Local Soap Box world champion” and an honorable mention for “Wille’s path leads to first-of-its-kind opportunity.”

He received second place in Best Sports Feature Photograph for his photo of the Warrensburg football team celebrating its fourth-straight Silver Tiger win.

Warensburg football runs towards the stands with the Silver Tiger Trophy on Friday, Sept. 10, at Tiger Stadium.
Warensburg football runs towards the stands with the Silver Tiger Trophy on Friday, Sept. 10, at Tiger Stadium.

Andrews also received an honorable mention for Best Sports Pages.

Reporter Sara Lawson received an honorable mention for “Lockhart discusses challenges of policing during the pandemic.”

“If you want a good news story, read this one,” the judge wrote. “It is a comprehensive look at the police department, how it handled situations in the pandemic, the number (of) officers lost and the drop in the force, different ways of handling some situations were used, and a reserve force was in place. Sources are used to complete the story and the writer did an excellent job of putting the story together. A good story to let readers know what had happened. Would have enjoyed having a story like this in my newspaper before I retired.”

The Star-Journal staff received third place for Best Online Newspaper or Website.

The Star-Journal staff also shared two awards with the Sedalia Democrat, which owns the Star-Journal. In the Best News or Feature Special Section category, the Democrat and Phillips Media Group, the newspapers’ parent company, shared a first-place honor for its Missouri Bicentennial magazine that included articles from Missouri newsrooms across the company. In the same category, the Democrat and Star-Journal newsrooms received third place for their Veterans Day special section.