Paper earns five trophies in five years

The Hinsdalean once again wins IPA editorial sweepstakes, advertising division honors

Among The Hinsdalean entries earning first-place honors in the Illinois Better Newspaper contest at the Illinois Press Association convention June 6 in Bloomington were the special section on the village's 150th anniversary and the ad celebrating the paper's 17th birthday.

The Hinsdalean received 29 editorial awards and, for the fifth time in as many years, the Will Loomis Memorial Trophy for being the best large nondaily newspaper in the state in the Illinois Better Newspaper Contest. The paper also won the sweepstakes in the advertising contest, garnering 27 awards.

The awards were presented June 6 at the Illinois Press Association annual convention in Bloomington.

"Being named the best weekly newspaper of our size for the fifth year in a row is an honor," editor and co-owner Pamela Lannom said. "We appreciate the amazing work of our staff and all the wonderful people in Hinsdale who are willing to share their stories with us so we can share them with our readers."

Jim Slonoff, publisher and co-owner, noted that two other newspapers vowed to outperform The Hinsdalean this year, one with a front-page story about its goal.

"Our goal, of course, never changed throughout the year," Slonoff said. "We just try to practice community journalism 'the way it was meant to be,' as our motto says.

"Every year when Pam and I collect our entries, we usually come away with the same thought. We love what we see but we're never sure whether it's going to win. All of us at the paper are committed to our readers and we take great pride in building a weekly paper that reflects the community we cover."

Editorial contest

The Hinsdalean won 29 awards in the editorial contest (see sidebar), including nine first-place awards.

Lannom and Slonoff each won three first-place awards.

Lannom earned top honors for an editorial she wrote on the Hinsdale High School District 86 Board.

"Good local topic. Strong voice condemning election hate speech. Takes names, kicks a--."

She also received first place in feature writing/personality profile for a piece she did on Dan Janowick and his decision to donate a portion of his liver to his son and one an obituary tribute for a story on the funeral Mass for 14-year-old Sean Richards.

Slonoff earned a first-place award in the personality portrait category for a photo of a Hinsdale Central graduate.

"You captured her facial expression perfectly. The photo really puts the reader in the moment," judges wrote.

He also took the best sports personality profile and feature photo.

The May series on historic preservation written by Pamela Lannom and associate editor Ken Knutson won first place in the community service category.

"What a great series! Very comprehensive, from news to features to opinion," judges wrote. "The way you bring these old houses to life most certainly made an impact on whether or not these pieces of history endured or not."

The paper's special section on the village's 150th anniversary earned first place in that category.

"Wow! Clearly, the staff invested a lot of time researching historical facts and photos for this beautifully designed special section," judges wrote. "I love the timeline with the photos. What a fabulous keepsake for readers!"

Judges also crowned the paper's sports section with top honors.

Almost 100 daily and nondaily newspapers entered 1,700 entries in 39 editorial categories for work completed in 2023. The contest was judged by members of the Minnesota Press Association.

Advertising contest

The Hinsdalean won the sweepstakes and 27 individual awards in the 2023 IPA advertising contest, including seven first-place awards.

"We have a fantastic sales team with Lisa Skrapka leading our sales efforts in town and Wendy Macri working outside of Hinsdale," Slonoff said. "Becky Campbell is the foundation and keeper of the creativity - which helps drive home our advertisers' messages for our clients. Winning the sweepstakes trophy five consecutive years in advertising is an unbelievable feat. The credit is all theirs."

Senior graphic designer Becky Campbell won six of the paper's seven first-place awards, including one for a real estate ad for Beth Burtt.

"The center information popped right out," judges wrote. "Like the soft background of properties. The ad is fresh and clean and a bit different with simplicity."

Campbell swept that category, winning second, third and fourth place as well.

She won first place in the religious/nonprofit ad category for an ad for Fenwick High School. Her ad for King Keyser earn the top prize for best color ad.

She also won first-place awards for best newspaper promotion (an ad celebrating the paper's 17th birthday), small ad (Lisa's pet service) and online ad (Kramer Foods).

The staff also received the top award for annual special section for the Veterans Day pages it runs each November.