Grand County’s newspaper wins general excellence award from state press association |

Grand County’s newspaper wins general excellence award from state press association

Sky-Hi News tops Class 3 at CPA’s 2020 Better News Media Contest

Sky-Hi News staff report

The Sky-Hi News garnered 19 individual awards through the Colorado Press Association’s 2020 Better News Media Contest, enough to earn Grand County’s community newspaper a clean sweep of all four general excellence designations in its class.

Announced on Thursday during an online ceremony, the awards were divided across five classes based on Colorado newspapers’ circulation and staff size. Competing in Class 3, the Sky-Hi News won eight first-place and 11 second-place awards.

The awards were further divided into three categories — news and editorial, photo and design, or advertising. Based on the number of awards won in each category, general excellence designations were given, along with the coveted overall general excellence award.

Only two newspapers in Colorado — the Sky-Hi News and the Durango Herald in Class 1 — won all four general excellence awards in their classes.

“I say it every year, but this year especially I am extremely proud of the people that work for the Sky-Hi News,” Publisher Emma Trainor said, adding that the newspaper won the overall general excellence with significant contributions from both editorial and advertising.

In terms of individual awards, Reporter McKenna Harford won best investigative story package for exploring why a Kremmling man is facing serious arson charges after a series of inappropriate burns on his property.

Also, Reporter Amy Golden won best business story for a piece she did about the coronavirus closures affecting summer tourism in Grand. In the comments, the judge noted that Golden’s piece was the best out of 41 entries.

Not to be outdone, Sky-Hi News advertising specialist Kat Ginn won two first place awards — best digital ad and best use of digital advertising — as did Editor Eli Pace, who won his firsts with a camera.

The newspaper’s three-person editorial team comprised of Pace, Golden and Harford also combined to win first and second place honors for best breaking news with their coverage of the East Troublesome and the Williams Fork wildfires, respectively.

“With the pandemic and the devastating fires, the Sky-Hi News staff showed grit and courage through it all,” Trainor said. “Even under pre-evacuation orders themselves, the staff’s main focus was on keeping the community informed.”

En route to winning the state press association’s four general excellence awards, the Sky-Hi News actually swept four individual award categories, winning first and second in them. Third-place honors were not given.

Screen shot from the 2020 Better News Media awards presentation.

In advertising, Ginn swept the best digital ad awards for ads promoting Ace Tree Services and Sarah Chabot Massage.

“The businesses are so lucky to have an experienced marketing professional like Kat to help them grow,” Trainor said.

Pace also won first and second for best news or feature photograph with two shots featuring law enforcement officers, one of them dancing at a Middle Park-West Grand basketball game and another of police officers evacuating people with the Troublesome fire in the background.

Granby Elementary Students cross-country ski laps at Polhamus Park as part of the schoolwide Ski-a-Thon last year. The gallery of the younger skiers won second place for best photo slideshow, gallery or photo essay in the 2020 Better News Media Contest.
Amy Golden /

Pace and Golden also combined to sweep the best photo slideshow, gallery or photo essay awards. Pace won first with a series of photos from the Troublesome fire, and Golden brought home second following Granby Elementary students cross-country skiing their way to a pajama day.

Golden also won second-place honors for best education story and best feature story while Harford picked up a second for best public service project for a story she wrote about locals’ fears regarding US Highway 40 at Red Dirt Hill.

“While these awards are an amazing nod to our team, the community’s trust and opinions are what matters the most,” Trainor said. “We are all a part of this community and care deeply for the people in it. My door is always open to hear from you.”

Sky-Hi News 2020 Awards

Below is a roundup of awards given to the Sky-Hi News during the the Colorado Press Association’s 2020 Better News Media Contest.


Best Classified Pages or Section — Sky-Hi News

Best Digital Ad (Ace Tree Services) — Kat Ginn

Best Use of Digital Advertising (Pepe Osaka’s) — Kat Ginn

Best Breaking News/Deadline Reporting (Hell on Earth: Thousands flee East Troublesome Fire) — Eli Pace, McKenna Harford and Amy Golden

Best Business News/Feature Story (Tourism without tourists: Grand County businesses grapple with coronavirus closures) — Amy Golden

Best Investigative Story Package (Kremmling man faces arson charge after series of inappropriate burns) — McKenna Harford

Best News or Feature Photograph (Cops bust a move) — Eli Pace

Best Photo Slideshow, Gallery or Photo Essay (Hell on Earth: Photos of the East Troublesome Fire) — Eli Pace


Best Digital Ad (Sarah Chabot Massage) — Kat Ginn

Best News Media/House Ad Promotion — Emma Trainor and Madelyn LyBarger

Best Breaking News/Deadline Reporting (In the line of fire: Williams Fork Fire) — Eli Pace, Amy Golden and McKenna Harford

Best Editorial Collaboration (Fires unfathomed) — Eli Pace and Sawyer D’Argonne

Best Education Story (East Grand to consider new curriculum for sex education) — Amy Golden

Best Feature Story (Grand County photographers document social isolation on families’ front steps) — Amy Golden

Best News Story (Snow over troubled lands: Lives, lifetimes lost in East Troublesome Fire) — Eli Pace and McKenna Harford

Best Public Service Project (Mixed messages on a dangerous hill) — McKenna Harford

Best Cover Design (Middle Park Fair & Rodeo) — Sky-Hi News

Best News or Feature Photograph (Hell on Earth) — Eli Pace

Best Photo Slideshow, Gallery or Photo Essay (Granby Elementary cross-country skis its way to pajama day) — Amy Golden


• Photo and Design Excellence

• Advertising Excellence

• Editorial Excellence

• Overall General Excellence

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