The Forest Park Review was honored as the best small-circulation non-daily newspaper at the 2023 Illinois Press Association awards, held on June 8 in downstate Bloomington. 

Igor Studenkov shows off the Review’s first-place plaque from the Illinois Press Association.

Nearly 100 daily and nondaily newspapers competed in 38 editorial categories. Members of the Iowa Press Association judged the more than 1,400 editorial entries for work done in 2022. The Review took the top spot in the General Excellence category for Division A, non-dailies with a print circulation of 1,000 and under. 

“Wow, just WOW!!” read the judges’ comments. “Amazing writing, images, design and flow … Amazing everything. Thank you for sharing and all the new ideas.”

Wednesday Journal, the Review’s sister publication, won the General Excellence award in Division C, for large-circulation non-dailies. The Review and Journal are two of the five flags published by Growing Community Media, a nonprofit organization.

“It is gratifying to have two of our papers win the top award for our coverage. We have a talented and hardworking group of reporters and being recognized by others who do the same work means a lot to us,” said Dan Haley, editor and publisher at the nonprofit newsroom.

The Review also did well in the advertising awards, earning first place in the Best Niche Section category, small-circulation newspapers division, for the 2022 Garage Galleries special section. 

Melissa Elsmo won the fourth place Feature Writing – Personality Profile award in Division A for her Review article about Yum Thai’s move to 7330 Madison St.

Former Review editor Andy Viano and former Wednesday Journal education reporter F. Amanda Tugade shared the spotlight, winning first place in the Best News Reporting Series for their coverage of the sexual harassment allegations against Fenwick High School teacher John Quinn. The articles ran in both the Review and Wednesday Journal, with Viano reporting on the initial allegations and Tugade following the story to the end. The judges described the coverage as “thoughtful and informative.”

Review Publisher Dan Haley, education reporter Amaris Rodriguez and reporter Igor Studenkov attended the awards. Studenkov accepted the awards plaque on behalf of the Review staff.

“It is an honor to be able to contribute to the Review’s long-running record of IPA wins,” Studenkov said. “At a time when local news, print and digital, faces many challenges, I’m glad I can do my part to keep our readers informed.”