The Parsons Sun earned 22 awards, including 11 first places, in the 2021 Kansas Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest.
The annual contest allows Kansas newspapers to have their work judged by their peers. This year, judges of Kansas newspapers were newspaper staffers in Indiana. The Sun competed in Division V for daily newspapers with circulations ranging from 2,201 to 3,500.
Overall, the Sun won 11 first-place awards, five second places and six third places. Most of the awards were for news- or sportswriting. One award was for a graphic designer.
Reporter Colleen Williamson won four first-place awards. Her awards were for a religion story on a close-knit family sticking together amid cancer, the pandemic and everything else; an agriculture story on the pandemic’s impact on meat prices; an education story on two USD 503 staff developing curriculum to teach hands-on courses virtually; and a health story for an Erie nurse who traveled to New York City to help out during the pandemic.
Williamson also earned a second place for a religion story on churches wanting to keep Easter services online in the pandemic.
Sports Editor Sean Frye earned four first-place awards. One was for a news story on the Black Lives Matter protest in Parsons. A second was for a youth story on a Czech Republic athlete playing soccer at Parsons High School. A third was for a sports story on schools finding a pathway back to sports activities. The fourth was for sports column writing for a column on the impact of the pandemic on athletics and athletes.
Frye won second place for an investigative story on a Parsons team fighting racism and for a sports story on Kansans fumbling away fall sports. Frye earned four thirds, one for an investigative story on the Kansas State High School Activities Association bracing for winter sports; a youth story on the Parsons team fighting racism; and a health story on athletes’ bodies getting healing time in the pandemic.
Frye also finished in third place in the statewide Journalist of the Year contest.
Sun Assistant Managing Editor Jamie Willey earned two first place awards, one for a local business story on a community survey to help determine the future of Erie’s only grocery store, Stub’s Market, and a government/political story on the same topic.
Willey earned second place for a local business story for a union wanting customer limits in grocery stores. He earned two third places, one on the best story/picture combination for a feature on pickleball in Parsons and the other on a news story on Parsons requiring face masks in businesses.
Graphic Designer Cynthia Miller won second place for a new special editorial section called School Talk.
The awards will be presented at the annual KPA conference, which will be held virtually on June 18.