The Belgrade News was honored with 21 awards at the Montana Newspaper Association Annual Convention last weekend in Big Sky.

The newspaper’s staff was recognized for editorial and sports coverage as well for its advertising products. The contest period covered calendar year 2020.

Belgrade News Sports Editor Dan Chesnet won two first-place awards and took third place in two others. He won first place for Best Sports Story for “Long-Awaited Return,” which featured senior basketball player Gabby Weber; and Best Sports & Outdoor Column Writing for an Aug. 20 Prep Corner column, which spoke of the challenges facing prep coaches, players and parents at the beginning of the fall season due to COVID-19 restrictions.

One of Chesnet’s third-place awards for Best Sports Feature Story also featured Gabby Weber. He also took third place for Best Sports Photo for “Touchdown Catch.”

Former staff writer Jennifer Verzuh won first place for Best Education Coverage for her story about the Belgrade High School carpentry class building a new awning for the Senior Center.

Former editor Michael Tucker captured first place for Best Page Layout for a Nov. 12 Valley News page featuring the proposed FEMA flood designations in Three Forks.

Editor Diana Setterberg took second-place awards in the following categories: Best Continuing News Coverage for multiple stories on the citizen effort to legalize backyard chickens in Belgrade; Best Editorial, “COVID can’t extinguish light of the season”; and Best News Story for a write-up about the dispute between then-Montana Secretary of State candidate Scott Sales and the Three Forks Chamber of Commerce over Sales’ placement of a political sign.

Tucker took second-place honors in the Best Graphic category for an informational graphic explaining proposed speed limits on Belgrade’s West Main Street. He won third place in the same category for graphics explaining the proposal for the city of Belgrade to annex into the Central Valley Fire Department.

Tucker also won third-place honors for his headline writing.

Setterberg took third-place awards for Best Investigative Journalism for her look at a Broadwater County economic district plan near Three Forks and the subsequent indictment of Broadwater County Commissioner Laura Obert.

Advertising Director George Hoffman and Advertising Assistant Megan Anderson won second-place awards for Color Ads to Promote Services, Best Online Ad, and Best Use of Photography in an Ad. They captured both second- and third-place awards in the Best Marketing Campaign category.

The combined editorial/sports staff comprising Anderson, Hoffman and Chesnet won second place for Best Newspaper Special Section for the Belgrade News Fall Sports Preview 2020.

The combined efforts of Hoffman, Anderson, Tucker and Setterberg won second place for Best Niche Publication for the Outlook on Business special section and third place in the Newspaper Special Section category for Home for the Holidays.

John Kuglin, former Associated Press Bureau Chief, was inducted into the Montana newspaper Hall of Fame. Kuglin was selected because of his four-decade dedication to quality Montana journalism and his unrelenting defense of open government and the public’s constitutional right to know. The Hall of Fame was established by the Montana Newspaper Association and the University of Montana to honor Montana journalists who have made outstanding contributions to the profession, the arts and their community.

The mission of the Montana Newspaper Association is to advance and sustain the Montana news publishing industry. The association has 84 professional member news providers and was established in 1885.

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