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Independent wins awards in SIEA Contest

Heather Rash and Jennifer Lane.   — Aida Barnard photo.


By Jennifer Lane

In March 2023, I entered the Hardin County Independent in the Southern Illinois Editorial Association (SIEA) Better Newspaper Contest for a fourth year in a row.
In September, I attended the Southern Illinois Editorial Association’s General Meeting and Awards Ceremony at Giant City Lodge in Makanda, IL. Heather Rash and I, on behalf of the Hardin County Independent, won 12 awards in total, as follows:
• General Excellence Award, 1st Place – Defined as overall presentation of the newspaper. Judging will be based on a scope of coverage in news and other sections, excellence in writing and photography, promotion of community interests, vigor in the editorial page, advertising enterprise and design.
• Best Local News Coverage
1st & 2nd places
• Community Service
1st Place
• Best Use of Photography
1st & 2nd places
• Advertising Excellence
1st & 2nd places
• Best Editorial
1st Place – Jennifer Lane
• Newspaper Design
1st & 2nd places
• Best News Story
1st Place – Jennifer Lane
The Hardin County Independent was judged in the Pull Contest. In the Pull competition, newspapers are separated out into four circulation divisions. The Independent fell in the Small Weeklies division and our efforts were judged in six categories. The Independent was judged on the submission of specific dates, the February 17, 2022 issue and the October 20, 2022 issue.
This is the fourth year in a row the Independent has won awards! Last year was extra special because our mother Julia Farley won the 2022 Master Editor Award for over 40 years of service to the newspaper industry.
Thanks for supporting this local, long running newspaper in its 153rd (almost 154th) year of service.
Wilma Gibbs, a.k.a. Poet of Light, wrote the poem below in celebration of our awards and carrying on a 3rd generation family business, not to mention the oldest, continuous running business in Hardin County! Blessings flow.


Paper Dolls

The Independent is fueled by
Third generation ladies
It’s freedom of the press each week
By first and second mateys.
Their news is printed right on time
And waited on with expectations
There’s news of deaths and weddings
Of births, and hometown celebrations.
The Paper Dolls are busy
Gathering news from many places
Filled with pictures, poems, and stories
There’s never empty spaces.
Their paper business has been
In their family many years
And the Paper Dolls who run it
Should be praised with many cheers.
The editor, and her aide are
Very busy all week long.
Typing, printing, double checking
Independent strong.
From grandpa, daughters, to granddaughters
A family of news printers
From Springs to Summers, they are busy
Also Fall and Winters.
Grandpa would be proud of them
The Independent Paper Dolls
Who spend time hunting news
No time to lounge at ease, or lolls.
There’s a moral to this story
Paper Dolls are very rare
But these dolls, like Grandpa and Mom
Have much Good News to share.

Poet of Light

Published in the December 21, 2023 Hardin County Independent.

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1 Comment

  1. Julia Farley on December 22, 2023 at 5:40 pm

    Poet of Light, thank you for telling the story of three generations in rhyme! I’m so proud of the Paper Dolls, and their grandpa would be, too. May the citizens of Hardin County always realize the importance of the Hardin County Independent with continued support. This newspaper is one of the few remaining community newspapers in southern Illinois that thoroughly informs and entertains its readers.

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