The News-Monitor Media won 15 first-place awards among mid-size weeklies at the annual North Dakota Newspaper Association’s Better Newspapers contest.

Karen Speidel took first place in front page design, personal column – serious for a column about Richland County Sheriff’s office “Protecting Richland mile by mile,” for an editorial about “Newspapers are vital partners,” and sports reporting on a story about Wyndmere High School seniors Charlie Moffet and Hunter Churchill and a “New meaning of sacrifice.” Speidel also took first with a portrait photo titled “One step at a time,” for a pictorial photo about sunrise near Hankinson Renewable and with a spot news photo after a wildfire burned 800 acres of land near Hankinson.

Speidel, Frank Stanko and Carrie McDermott took first in government series with both Point of View segments on cyber bullying, and sports series

Kathleen Leinen took first in agriculture coverage for a story about “North Dakota growers want safety: 2018 Farm Bill.”

Diana Hermes took first for promotion of newspaper – advertising with “Best of the Valley,” in political ad with “District 26,” outdoors/sports ad with Next Level Performance and apparel ad with Blossoms & Bridal.

The News-Monitor Media also took first place with best website.

A number of second-place finishes also were won by the News-Monitor. Speidel took second place in the agricultural photo category, informational graphics about cyber bullying, section/feature front design, a story about how the “Drought continues to spread across North Dakota’s farmland,” editorial page, sports series on the Wyndmere-Lidgerwood Warbird’s rise to become Class B 9-man football champions, sports page, spot news story about the Hankinson wildfire, government series on St. Gerard’s Community of Care holding out little hope for funds after lawmakers cut 4.05 percent out of its budget, feature reporting with a story about a Hankinson girl “Hitting the trail” with her grandfather on a horse riding expedition, picture story with a photo montage of the annual Holiday Train, promotion of newspaper – readership with the “What’s Your Story” series, promotion of newspaper – advertising with “We’re Your Community Newspaper” series.

Speidel, Stanko and McDermott took second with a Point of View series about cyber bullying in the reporting series.

Leinen and Candace Engstrom took second in special news section for Best of the Valley.

Aly Stone took second with a political ad on the Wahpeton Breckenridge Chamber, health care ad on the Wahpeton Breckenridge Rotary, vehicle ad on Dakota Chrysler Center.

Third-place finishes were won by Speidel in government reporting with a story regarding Marsy’s Law.

Speidel, Stanko and McDermott took third with a feature series on Unsung Heroes.

Stanko took third with a reporting story on “Bracing for state cuts,” and in agricultural coverage for a story about “Technology is revolutionizing agriculture.”

Speidel, Karrie Gregor and Engstrom took third in signature page on the State Science & Engineering Fair.

Stone took third with use of color for an ad on Dean’s Landscaping, Hermes took third with small space ad on Hankinson Health Club and in single ad with an ad about Tangled.

Hermes took third with Elite Heating and Air in the home/gardening ad.

Honorable mentions were won by Speidel in sports column with “Warbird fans have reason to give thanks,” Stanko in government reporting with “Legislators challenged by the 2017 session,” Hermes with signature page with “Good luck Warbirds at state,” and Stone in agricultural ad for “Minn-Kota Ag Products.”