This photo by Scott Spurgeon won first place in the Iowa Newspaper Association’s Best News Photo contest for 2019. The photo featured a fire that destroyed H & W Custom Kitchen in September 2019.

Karen Spurgeon elected president of Iowa Newspaper Association

The Bloomfield Democrat brought home nine awards from the Better Newspaper Contests at the Iowa Newspaper Association’s Convention in Des Moines last week.

Scott Spurgeon received first and second place awards for Best News Photo for class 2 weeklies. The first-place winner was a photo of the fire that destroyed H & W Custom Kitchen The judge commented, “The fire on the left of the photo and the people running on the right foreground show the confusion. Really good shot.”

The second-place photo was taken as an electrical worker dangled from a helicopter to install power lines. “Wow! I couldn’t do this job. Really shows how much they go through to keep the power on,” said the judge

Spurgeon also took first- and second-place honors in the Best Photo Story for class 2 weeklies. “This page seemed to give off heat. The photo at the top of the page is incredible,” the judge said of the full page of photos of the H &W Custom Kitchen fire.

The second place photo story was taken at the Ft. Bloomfield Rodeo. “Rodeo photos can be tough to shoot because the action is fast and the lighting is poor, but the photographer captured the action well and gave us a sense of the excitement and power of the animals.”

Spurgeon also submitted the winning entry in the Best Sports Photo category and was tops in the Best Sports Columnist competition.

Randy Evans took first-place honors in the Master Columnist category with several submissions of his Stray Thoughts columns. “His opinions are backed up with factual information,” the judge commented. “The columns made me interested and I don’t live in Iowa. They make you think about certain issues in different ways.

Karen Spurgeon was awarded first place in Excellence in Editorial Writing. “The writer has a mix of watchdog editorial writing and reflections on why the work of journalism matters for our communities, and the arguments are understandable and relatable,” the judge said.

“Particularly the editorial about public access to an appointment process (for Bloomfield’s vacant city council seat) Is exactly what a community paper should be doing with real estate under the banner of its editorial voice. The piece is an advocate for its community, as it should be. This editorial, especially, set this entry apart.”

The Democrat was also named the third-place winner in the Best Editorial Page category. “Intelligent commentary, a real service to the community,” the judge wrote.

During the convention, Democrat Publisher Karen Spurgeon was elected President of the Iowa Newspaper Association. She will work with Executive Director Susan Patterson Plank and the board of directors to lead the INA throughout the coming year.