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Monroe Times wins 25 awards
Monroe Times staff members, in front from left, Advertising Manager Laura Hughes, Advertising Account Executive Tai Ruegsegger, photojournalist Marissa Weiher, reporter Bridget Cooke, Editor Emily Massingill and, in back, Publisher Matt Johnson attended the Wisconsin Newspaper Association Foundations Awards Banquet in Madison Friday. The Times won 25 awards in the foundations Better Newspaper Contest. (Times photo: Matt Johnson)
MADISON - The Monroe Times won seven first-place awards, and 25 awards overall, in the annual Better Newspaper Contest organized by the Wisconsin Newspaper Association Foundation.

Times photographer Marissa Weiher earned first-place awards in five categories: Spot News Photo, Sports Photo, Feature Photo, Portrait or Artistic Photo and Photo Essay. She also netted five third-place awards in Spot News Photo, Sports Photo, Feature Photo, Portrait or Artistic Photo, and Photo Essay categories, as well as two honorable mentions for All-Around Newspaper Photography and General News Pahoto.

The other two top honors were in advertising categories. The sales team of Diane Albright, Steve Allen, Tai Ruegsegger and Laura Hughes, advertising manager, won first place in the Best Special Section category. The entry was for the "Moments in Time" book compiled by the Times. Ruegsegger also earned first place for Best Use of Local Photography and second place for Best Use of Color. The full sales team received two third-place awards, one for Best Special Section and one for Best Annual Niche Publication.

In the editorial categories, reporter Bridget Cooke won second and third place for Environmental Reporting, third place for Breaking News Coverage and honorable mention for Feature (Profile). Susan Endres, assistant editor, received third place for Feature (Non-profile) and honorable mention for Enterprise/Interpretive Reporting.

Mark Nesbitt, senior sports reporter, earned a second-place award for design/visuals in Page Design - Sports and a third-place award in Overall Newspaper Awards for Sports Section.

The Times competed in the contest in categories with daily newspapers of a circulation up to 19,999. The Times has a six-day-a-week circulation of 3,150.

"While it is nice to be recognized by our peers for the work we do in comparison to other newspapers, our biggest focus is presenting a quality, local newspaper to our readers," said Matt Johnson, Times publisher. "The awards reflect on the entire staff of Morris Media of Monroe. Our effort continues to be providing strong local news and excellent customer service. We want to provide the best reflection of our community as possible in print and online."

The WNA Foundation presented awards to winners of the 2017 contest Friday at the Sheraton Madison Hotel during the organization's annual convention.

The contest included 2,819 entries from 119 newspapers, which were judged by members of the Iowa Newspaper Association. Eligible entries were published between Sept. 1, 2016, and Aug. 31, 2017.