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DES MOINES -- The Courier garnered several first-place awards in writing, design and advertising categories Friday at the combined Iowa Newspaper Association and Iowa Associated Press Media Editors contest announcements.

Iowa newspaper editors, publishers and journalists gathered Friday at the INA annual convention in downtown Des Moines. Gov. Kim Reynolds attended the evening banquet and spoke to the group.

First place awards

  • Staff writer Andrew Wind won first place in the AP general feature category for his feature "Paradise Lost" on the Paradise, Calif., family that moved to Jesup after a wildfire leveled their town.
  • Sports writers Doug Newhoff, Nick Petaros and Jim Nelson won top honors in the AP sports enterprise writing category for last summer's three-part series on the growth of e-sports in area colleges.
  • Staff writer Kristin Guess won first place in the INA Best News Story category on her story called "Taken: Waterloo woman's ordeal proof of human trafficking's local reach."
  • Kristin Guess and Thomas Nelson contributed to stories that gave the Courier first place in the INA Coverage of Agriculture category.They included coverage of the growth of hog confinement facilities in Northeast Iowa.
  • The Courier received a first place in the INA Total Newspaper Design category. Judges complimented the paper on its use of layout design that gave readers some familiarity throughout each edition.
  • The Courier also won first place in the Best Special Section-Advertising Section for an ad by Carmen Goedken for Maximum Sight and Sound.

Second- and third-place awards

  • INA's Coverage of Government, second place.
  • INA's Coverage of Business, third place.
  • INA's Best Special Section, Editorial, second place.
  • AP Business Feature, staff writer Amie Steffen, "Day care shortage hampers economy," second place.
  • AP Sports Action Photo, photographer Brandon Pollock, UNI-Hampton football game. second place.
  • INS' Best Website, third place.
  • INA Best Blog, sports writer Jim Nelson, third place.
  • INA Special Section, Advertising, Brenda Northey, City Builders.

Staff writer Thomas Nelson won a first place in the INA's Best Breaking News Photo for a fire picture he took while a staff writer for the Charles City Press.

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