Newspapers shine in AOE contest

Posted June 25, 2021

For the second consecutive year, the Kansas Press Association’s Awards of Excellence ceremony was staged virtually.

To access the presentation, go here.

On June 18, winners in 48 news and 21 advertising categories were recognized.

This was the first year that entries were based solely on circulation and not on whether a newspaper was a daily or nondaily. Newspaper editors had the option to compete within their circulation category or, as some did, move to a higher circulation category.

Two new categories were added to this year’s competition, with the Marion County Record and editor and publisher Eric Meyer claiming the title of Best Graphic Designer and the Phillips County Review and the Great Bend Tribune taking first place in the Best Use of Color category.

Travis Heying of the Wichita Eagle was named Photographer of the Year.

Sherman Smith, editor of the Kansas Reflector, was named “Journalist of the Year” for his body of work for the online news site based out of Topeka.

He has written award-winning news stories about the instability of the Kansas foster care system, misconduct by government officials, sexual abuse, technology, education, and the Legislature. He previously spent 16 years at the Topeka Capital-Journal.

He is a 2004 graduate of Emporia State University.

The contest period for this year’s competition was from Nov. 1, 2019 to Dec. 31, 2020.

Sweepstakes winners included:


Division 1 (circulation up to 600) – Phillips County Review

Division 2 – (circulation 601 to 1,000) Syracuse Journal

Division 3 – (circulation 1,001 to 1,500) Derby Informer

Division 4 – (circulation 1,501 to 2,200) Iola Register

Division 5 – (circulation 2,201 to 3,500) Times-Sentinel (Cheney)

Division 6 – (circulation 3,501 to 5,600) Harvey County Now

Division 7 – (circulation above 5,601) Wichita Eagle


Division 1, 2 and 3 – Derby Informer

Division 4, 5, 6 and 7 – Iola Register