The Illinois Press Association gave five awards to the Effingham & Teutopolis News Report during the 2018 IPA Convention last Friday in Springfield.

News Report Owner/Publisher Steve Raymond earned a first-place award for best sports news among large weekly newspapers for his stories on the St. Anthony Bulldogs basketball team winning the school’s first state basketball title. Raymond’s stories detailed how the Bulldogs stuck to the defensive game plan to pull off a major upset in their first game of the state tournament last year in Peoria.

Other stories talked about the Bulldog fans, the celebration Sunday in Effingham, highlights of the championship game and even Coach Jeremy Rincker’s birthday falling on that history-making weekend for St. Anthony. Raymond also included a personal column.

The judges in the IPA contest wrote Raymond’s stories were an “excellent package” and “the breadth of the coverage matched the importance of the game.”

A picture page from last June showing colorful images from the first day of summer won second place for best photo series in the large weekly division. The nine photographs featured on the page were taken at different sites that day by News Report staffers Herb Meeker and Kim Jansen.

Graphic Artist Lisa Eirhart also contributed design aspects to the page outlay, including an eye-popping banner across the top. The lively imagery obviously impressed the contest judges.

“This is a wonderful slice-of-life look at a community that has so many different ways to celebrate the same day. These photographs were brimming with life and energy and told me a sun-dripped story of life’s little moments.”

The News Report also rated well on its advertising creativity.

The entire News Report staff earned a third-place award for its St. Anthony State Champs special section in 2017. This award was in the IPA Best One-Time Special Section category. Other staff members contributing to this award were graphic artist Viv Cornell, advertising representatives Cheryl Westendorf, now retired, and Tama Price, plus proofreader Ruth Raymond and bookkeeper Tina Bean.

Cornell won two honorable mentions for her Best Full Page Ad and Best Newspaper Designed Insert among IPA newspapers. The judge’s comments noted the full page ad was “a great feel good ad.”

“I’m really proud of our staff,” Raymond said. “We strive to put out a quality weekly newspaper with each and every issue. Whether it’s the quality of the stories, photos, graphics or ads, we just want it to be the best it can be.

“It’s nice to win awards and be recognized by our peers,” Raymond added. “But the most important thing to us is producing a newspaper our readers enjoy and look forward to receiving each week.”