The Free Press and members of its staff won a total of 13 awards from the Minnesota Newspaper Association at its awards banquet and convention Thursday night.
The Free Press was honored with three first-place awards, five second-place awards and five third-place awards. The independent judges from the Illinois Newspaper Association recognized The Free Press with awards for photography, reporting, editorial page, magazine, use of social media, use of multi-media and headline writing.
Staff Writer Robb Murray won first place in the human interest category for his piece about a couple coping with Lewy body dementia.
Staff Writer Shane Frederick won first place in the sports story category for his piece on Minnesota State University hockey coach Mike Hastings.
The newspaper won first place in the editorial page category.
Photographer Pat Christman won second place in the feature photo category with his photo of kids and a farmer in a garden, and he won second place in the photo story category for a package of photos from the Mankato Marathon.
The advertising department won second place for an ad in the in-house promotion advertising category.
The newspaper won second place for sports reporting and second place for best use of social media for its coverage of the Swedish royalty visit to Gustavus.
Staff Writer Dan Linehan won third place in the government affairs reporting category for his piece on North Mankato's subsidy of a day care center.
The newspaper's Final Buzzer sports magazine got third place in the magazine category.
The newspaper also took third place in general reporting, headline writing and in the best use of multi-media for the coverage of the MSU Gage towers implosion.
The Free Press won newspaper awards in competition with all daily newspapers in the state with 10,000 or more circulation, with the exception of the Star Tribune and St. Paul Pioneer Press, who do not take part in the competition.
"We're proud of our success and it speaks to the expertise, dedication and passion our staff puts into our newspaper, website and magazines on a daily basis," Publisher Jim Santori said.
"The newspaper benefits from a very experienced staff," Free Press Editor Joe Spear said. "As we've added online news and magazines, all have been dedicated to serving our loyal Free Press readers and we look forward to more of the same."