The Hutchinson News received 12 awards Friday at the Kansas Press Association’s annual Awards of Excellence ceremony.
Senior photographer Sandra Milburn won three awards, including best photograph of the year in general news.
Alice Mannette, editor, received three awards for reporting on education, agriculture and the environment.
Winners were announced at the KPA’s annual convention on Friday evening in Newton.
The Hutchinson News competed in Daily Division VII, which is open to the state’s largest daily newspapers and news websites, with circulations of 5,601 or more. This category includes the Wichita Eagle, the Kansas City Star and the Topeka Capital Journal. The works involved were all published in 2021.
In addition to the first-place photography award, Milburn won second place for her 10-photo portfolio. 
Milburn’s winning entries for her portfolio included photos she took showing news events, including shots from fires, the Kansas State Fair and sporting events.
KPA also awarded Milburn third place for her statewide Best Sports Photo of an athlete as his glasses fell off his face during a basketball game. About this work, the judge said, “Sometimes the unique is amazing, and this picture certainly falls into that category. I’ve never seen a picture like this and doubt I will again. To get the glasses in the frame (pun intended) and get everything in focus (maybe another pun) is amazing. Neat picture.”
For Milburn’s Best Feature Photo of a shooting cowboy contest at the Kansas State Fair, which came in third place in Division VII, the judge said, “High-impact photo with good composition and depth. Timely. Kudos to the photographer for excellent timing and framing.”
Mannette placed second in KPA’s Division VII best agricultural journalism category with an article about a farmer raising heritage chickens and sheep titled, “While certain chicken and sheep breeds near extinction, this Kansas farmer is stepping up to help.” The judge said, “this one was a pleasure to read.”
Mannette also achieved second place for Best Education Story for her article on youth, “Youth suicide rates are up in Kansas. What’s being done to help?” with the judges saying, “A lot of work went into this article and for good reason. This was a great, informative read with emotion. It is difficult to write about a dark topic without overwhelming readers with statistics and grief, knowing this young soul is no longer with us. You brought it down to a digestible level without becoming robotic. Outstanding execution.”
Third place for the Best Environmental Story went to Mannette, reporting on hemp fiber, “Kansas’ first industrial hemp fiber processing facility opens in Great Bend.” 
In addition, The Hutchinson News designers Karina Zaits, Mitchell Thorson and Shawn Sullivan received first place for Best Infographics. About this one, the judges said it was “crisp, clean and easy to read.”
KPA also awarded The Hutchinson News design staff second place for Best Photo Design Pages, Best Front Page and Best Sports Pages. The team also received third place in Design and Layout Excellence. 
Mannette, the 2020 recipient of the North American Agricultural Journalist’s (NAAJ) J.S. Russell Memorial Award, received a 2021 second-place award presented by the NAAJ for photojournalism for her story and photos on a heritage farm in Kansas. For this piece, the judges said, “The photos add immensely to the subject matter.”
For 2021, Mannette received a second place from the Kansas Farm Bureau for her reporting on farm issues. The award said she “accurately tells the stories of Kansas farmers and ranchers.” 
Mannette was also the only reporter named a 2021 Ag Leader by the Kansas Department of Agriculture.
KPA provided awards for work produced between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2021.

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