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Independent news staff receives ONPA awards

The Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association has announced its winners for the 2014 Better Newspaper Contest, and the Woodburn Independent has received five awards in four categories.

The Independent raked in first- and third- place wins for best editorial. The winning editorial was “No more spending on Association Building” from July 10, 2013, and the third-place winner was “Local athletes should be recognized for their commitment” from May 29, 2013.

Former Independent reporter Jeff McDonald placed first in the best writing category for his three pieces “Priest’s conviction brings closure, but civil suit possible,” “New dawn for Nuevo Amanecer” and “Justice hard to come by in Woodburn.” The first was published April 10, 2013, and investigates the aftermath of Father Angel Perez’s guilty plea and conviction for sex abuse for an incident near St. Luke Catholic Church in August 2012. The second story, published July 24, 2013, follows the impact of opening 40 single-family homes in Nuevo Amanecer, a farm worker housing development in Woodburn. The third story by McDonald was published Oct. 30, 2013, and covers the problems involving the extradition of a man in Mexico suspected of killing two men in Woodburn nearly six years ago.

McDonald also received third place in the best coverage of business and economic issues category for his article, “Donald manufacturer bursting at the seams” (published May 22, 2013), which covers the successes of GK Machines, Inc., in Donald.

Editor Lindsay Keefer also received a second place award in the best spot news coverage category for her Jan. 16, 2013, story “Woman arrested in Brooks on 120 counts of animal neglect.” The story followed the arrest of Alicia Inglish after 149 dogs were found malnourished and in poor health at an animal rescue facility in Brooks.

The Independent competed against other weekly newspapers across the state that have a circulation of 3,001 or more.

The Independent was recognized Thursday night at the ONPA conference in Salem.



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