At an awards ceremony Friday in Springfield, the Forest Park Review was named, for the second year in a row, the best little newspaper in the state.

There to get and lug back the giant trophy was Josh Adams, the Review’s editor during the winning period. Adams, now packing for an out-of-state move with his wife, was arm-twisted by colleagues to attend this show after notice came recently that the Review was nominated in 19 categories – four more than last year.

Adams again accepted the Verle V. Kramer Memorial Trophy, a newspaper version of the Stanley Cup, for the Review’s high marks in news and features reporting and writing, photography and design.

The Kramer trophy, which at 3 feet 4 inches tall comes close to the height of the Review’s new editor (that would be me), is one of six coveted sweepstakes awards that the Illinois Press Association gives every year. The Kramer goes to papers with a circulation of 3,000 or fewer. It’s been awarded since 1969, when the family of the publisher of the Gibson City Courier set up this award in his honor. To get this trophy, the Review ranked first among 21 weekly newspapers.

The Review is the smallest of six community weeklies in the Oak Park-based independent newspaper group of Wednesday Journal Inc., which publishes three papers in the Near West suburbs and three in Chicago. While Wednesday Journal Inc. won 55 awards for all its newspapers, this year the Review was the company’s only paper to bring back a sweepstakes trophy.

Helen Karakoudas
Managing Editor

What the judges had to say

About Josh Adams’ editorial headlined Political detour – Stalling smacks of shenanigans: “Hard-hitting – to the point – uses names and a call to action. Great job.”

About Stephanie Kuehnert’s columns: “You got your community and social issues across very well through your own experiences in a very concise, well-written manner … leads the reader to think about those issues as well.”

About Tom Holmes’ columns: “Issues and subject matter very well-written. Thought-provoking.”

About Mark Tatara’s layouts: “Beautifully designed newspaper. Nice blend of headlines (regular and light-face), and quote boxes to break up type. Photos are sharp, too. Very attractive paper.”

About the Forest Park Community Guide: “Very good guide and unusual for a non-daily to put out such a quality publication.”

Seven first-place awards

Government Beat Reporting: Josh Adams
Local Editorial: Josh Adams
Newspaper Design: Mark Tatara
Single-Page Design: Mark Tatara
News Photo: Jason Geil
Original Column: Stephanie Kuehnert
Special Section: Josh Adams for the community guide

Five second-place awards

Original Column: Tom Holmes
Personality Portrait: Jason Geil
Enterprise/Feature Writing: Josh Adams
Illustration: Evan O’Brien
Headline Writing: Josh Adams

Four third-place awards

Business/Economic Reporting: Josh Adams
Photo Series: Jason Geil
Illustration: Evan O’Brien
Community Service: Josh Adams for Barely getting by: Food pantry struggling to keep pace with a daunting demand

Three Honorable Mentions

Editorial Page: Josh Adams
Best Promotion of Public’s Right to Know: Josh Adams
General Excellence: (judged on overall review of two issues): Josh Adams