GLENEDEN BEACH -- The Polk County Itemizer-Observer has received the Elmo Smith Award of General Excellence from the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association for the second consecutive year.
The award is the highest annual recognition given to a weekly newspaper in Oregon.
The award was one of 18 received by the Itemizer-Observer in the 2011 Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association Better Newspaper Contest. Awards were presented July 14-15 during the ONPA's Summer Publishers Convention at Salishan Spa and Golf Resort south of Lincoln City.
The 18 awards is believed to be the most the I-O has received in a single contest in its 136-year history and was the most awards presented to any single weekly newspaper in Oregon regardless of circulation size.
The Itemizer-Observer, competing in the large weekly division for Oregon newspapers with a circulation of more than 3,501, won five first-place awards in the contest:
* Craig Coleman for Best Feature Story (Personality) for a profile of Polk County doctor and banjo-maker Patrick Huff headlined "It's been a big life."
* Jolene Guzman and Adam Korst for Best Lifestyle Coverage for a series of stories following 1-year-old Ben Casalegno and his surgery allowing him to hear. The main story was headlined "Moving Past the Sounds of Silence."
* Pete Strong for Best News Photo for his photograph covering the arrival of the casket of Sgt. Ian Tawney from Afghanistan at the Salem Airport.
* Craig Coleman for Best Overall Writing.
* Former I-O staffer Adam Korst for Best Graphics for an illustration detailing daylight saving time titled "Springing Forward."
In addition, the Itemizer-Observer received seven second-place awards: Best Enterprise Reporting (Craig Coleman); Best Feature Story -- Personality (Jolene Guzman); Best Sports Story (Craig Coleman); Best Spot News Coverage (Craig Coleman and Jolene Guzman); Best Editorial Writing (Kurt Holland); Best Editorial Page (Kurt Holland); and Best Web Design (staff).
The I-O also received five third-place awards: Best Special Section or Issue ("Explore Polk County," staff); Best Headline Writing (Kurt Holland); Best Sports Photo (Pete Strong); Best Overall Website (staff, www.polkio.com); and Best Photo Essay (Adam Korst).