Editorial: IPA honors reflect our commitment to community

By on June 16, 2011

Once a year, newspapers from throughout the state submit their best advertisements and special sections to be judged by their peers at the annual Illinois Press Association contest.

The awards banquet occurred earlier this month, and we are proud to say that we came away with a significant amount of recognition for the quality of our ad design and the special sections we offer throughout the year.

We are most proud of our first-place award in General Advertising Excellence, because the category takes into account our overall performance; sort of a big-picture look at the quality of our design. Here is what the judges said: “Nice, clean designs. They have a modern feel to them, as does the paper as a whole. Good flow, keeps eyes moving. Beautiful.”

We also won first-place honors for Best Annual Special Section for our Elburn Days 2010 section.

“Tremendous advertiser support. Nice layout—easy-to-find information, informative stories. Good use of color throughout section,” the judges said.

While we are proud of those words as a group, we are most proud of our Design Director, Leslie Flint, who single-handedly designed every one of our ads—not to mention designing and/or overseeing our weekly paper and all special sections—throughout the year. Her work on an individual basis was noticed at the awards ceremony as well, as she brought home a second-place price in the Best Ad Designer category.

“No matter the size or look of her ads, Leslie designs what works best within those parameters. Clean copy and simple designs pack a punch,” the judges said.

She also won second-place honors for Best Full Color Ad (Shady Hill Gardens), Best Classified Section, and Best Niche Publication (TriCity Insight).

She added third-place recognition for Best Small Ad (Sweet Dream Desserts), and an Honorable Mention for Best Ad Less Than a Full Page (Ream’s Elburn Market).

As a group, we also earned an Honorable Mention for Best Community Focus Special Section, for Kaneland Guide 2010. As a local, community paper focused on the communities within the Kaneland School District, being recognized for those efforts means much to us.

“Great school coverage, statistics, photos and information. Overall look is pretty pleasing to the eye. Great use of color,” the judges said.

While it is a good feeling to be recognized for our efforts made to serve our readers throughout the year, that is not why we do what we do. We do not put extra effort into our Elburn Days section to win an award, and Leslie does not make sure each client’s ad exceeds their expectations in the hopes that her peers will recognize that during that one-day banquet each year.

We do it to give our readers the best, most attractive content we can each and every week, and she does it so that each of our advertising clients can be proud of their individual ad as well as the product in which their ad is placed.

In other words, we do it to serve you, and the state recognition is the icing on the cake that is appreciated, but not central, to the motivation to do our jobs to the best of our abilities.