WI State Farmer staff wins four Wisconsin Newspaper Association awards

Wisconsin State Farmer
The Wisconsin State Farmer staff captured first and second place in the Feature Story (non-profile) category at the Wisconsin Newspaper Association's Better Newspaper Contest.

The Wisconsin State Farmer received a top award for best Feature Story for its coverage of a town of Palmyra neighborhood's reaction to a nearby avian flu composting operation at this year's Wisconsin Newspaper Association Foundation's Better Newspaper Contest.

Wisconsin State Farmer editor Colleen Kottke and reporter Amber Burke Residents, reported how residents learned from the USDA that the carcasses of 2.7 million laying hens from a Jefferson County farm confirmed to have the state's first case of highly pathogenic avian influenza would be composted in a field across from their homes. Judges lauded that entry as being 'fair, balanced and objective, allowing the reader to make up his or her mind'.

"It was a lengthy piece, but never dragged or used jargon. It was solid journalism," judges wrote. The story also captured a third place and honorable mention in the General News Story and Breaking News divisions.

Kottke earned a runner-up finish in the Feature Story division for her story, ‘Goat milk shortage spurs merger of state’s largest dairy goat farms’. The story focused on the merger forged between Chilton Dairy and Drumlin Dairy in order to keep LaClare Family Creamery supplied with fresh goat milk to bolster its cheesemaking needs.

"I never thought I would care so much about goat milk. But now I do – the piece was well-written, well-reported and very well executed. The State Farmer has some excellent journalists on its staff," the judge opined.

The annual contest recognizes the importance of local journalism across the state.