The Polk County Itemizer-Observer received five awards during the 2008 Better Newspaper Contest, sponsored by the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association.
The awards were presented during the ONPA's annual Summer Publisher's Convention, held Friday, July 18, at Salishan Resort near Lincoln City.
Competing in the large weekly division for Oregon newspapers with a circulation of more than 3,501, the Itemizer-Observer garnered three first-place awards:
* Former photo editor Sarah Hillman earned first place in the "best feature photo" category for a photograph taken during a swim class for infants.
* Former managing editor Marc Faulconer placed first in "best editorial writing." The editorials dealt with the Independence Station development, tightening of identification requirements for driver's licenses, and how to deal with illegal aliens who don't follow the law.
* Former reporter Erin Zysett took home first place in the "best general feature story" category for a profile of Dallas resident Lloyd Martin and the Jill Martin Memorial Bluebird Trail.
Craig Coleman received a second-place award for "best coverage of business, economic and agriculture issues" for his profile of the hydroponic strawberry operation at Airlie Hills Family Farm.
Finally, the I-O staff received third place for "best editorial page."
Entries for the contest were published during the 2007 calendar year. Nearly every newspaper in Oregon participates in the annual competition.