The Forest Park Review was named the second best small weekly newspaper in the state last Friday in Springfield when the winners of the annual Illinois Press Association’s Best of the Press Awards were announced. The entries, covering all of 2015, were judged by members of the Wisconsin Press Association. 

The Review, which competes in Division A (small weekly newspapers under 3,000 circulation) finished second in the General Excellence category. “Fine paper, through and through,” the judges said.

We also took second in Local Editorial and first place in Editorial Page.

Tom Holmes took first place in Feature Writing (“One foot in Maywood, the other in Forest Park”), the judges noting, “This demonstrates a way to tackle a difficult subject but not in a preachy way.” 

John Rice took second in the Feature Writing category with his piece, “Death comes to the cemetery,” which the judges said, “could easily have been written as a straight news story, but the author did a masterful job of getting the point across in a softer, more detailed way.” Claire Innes won second place with the same article for her Informational Graphic.

Tom Holmes also took first place for Original Column, displaying, the judges said, “an uncanny ability to support an opinion via a web of anecdotes and does so from a center of humility and empathy.”

Alan Brouilette took third place for Original Column (“Great use of alternative story formats to get a point across.”)

Our former photographer, Chandler West, won second place for his Personality Portrait photo, “Bonsai Trees.”

Jacquinete Baldwin won second place for Newspaper Design. And we also picked up a second place for Best Website.

In each division, the newspaper with the most points accumulated wins a trophy and in that tally, the Review finished, you guessed it, second. But we’re proud of our efforts and, besides, second place tries harder, so we’ll keep working hard to make our readers proud.