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Wisconsin State Farmer earns 3 Wisconsin Newspaper Association awards

Wisconsin State Farmer
Wisconsin State Farmer Editor Colleen Kottke received first place in the business coverage division for her reporting on an author's devotion to telling an accurate story of agriculture, the plight of beef farmers during the pandemic and the runaway demand for soft goat cheese that helped make a Wisconsin business a national leader in sales.

The Wisconsin State Farmer received three awards for its reporting at this year's Wisconsin Newspaper Association Foundation Better Newspaper Contest.

The awards were presented Friday, Feb. 19 via a virtual ceremony honoring newspapers from across the state, divided into six classes by circulation size, in a variety of categories, including reporting, photography, advertising, video presentations, design and more. The awards covered work from September 2019 through August 2020.

Editor Colleen Kottke's entries in the Business Coverage, Localized National Story and Ongoing/Extended Coverage categories received awards.

Kottke's business coverage first place entry was comprised of three business features: “WI writer devoted to telling accurate story of ag in her books,” — details children's author Lisl Detlefsen's crusade in telling the story of modern farming in America, using her family's Wisconsin Rapids cranberry operation as the backdrop; "Beef producers struggling amid plant shutdowns" — while dairy farms dumping milk grabbed headlines across the country, Wisconsin beef farmer Kevin Nysse shared how many cattle farmers were suffering just as much or even more so than their dairy counterparts; "Say Cheese! With $10M investment, LaClare Creamery is ready for its close-up" —  explores how the runaway demand for soft goat milk cheese became the impetus behind a$10 million expansion of LaClare Family Creamery in northeast Wisconsin. 

Colleen Kottke

Kottke was also awarded second place in the localized national story category for her story “Love and support from across U.S. bolsters Diemel family.” "This is such a sad story," the contest judge's comments read. "You captured the families’ angst plus the outpouring of support across the country. (I admit, I had to read more about this crime — which makes this a great story ... you want more!)"

Kottke's ongoing/extended coverage of “Is sale of DFA best solution in Dean Foods bankruptcy?” received third place. Judges commended Kottke on her depth of reporting and ability to "explain a complicated topic and something that affects all Americans, although they may not realize it."

The 2020 Wisconsin Newspaper Association Foundation Better Newspaper Contest received 2,051 entries from 103 newspapers. This year’s contest was judged by newspaper professionals from the Texas Press Association. Competitions were judged across six circulation divisions — three daily and three weekly.