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The Jefferson City News Tribune staff earned more than 30 awards including eight for first-place recognition in the Missouri Press Foundation's 2019 Better Newspaper Contest.

The News Tribune took first place in General Excellence among daily newspapers in the Class 2 division.

The newspaper staff — led especially by reporters Bob Watson and Joe Gamm and Opinion Page Editor Gerry Tritz — also earned first place in Best Coverage of Government for extensive reporting on the 2018 scandals surrounding former Gov. Eric Greitens.

The News Tribune received first place in Best Sports Pages and Best Editorial Pages, as well as first place in Community Service for the "A Christmas Wish" series highlighting the work of United Way of Central Missouri agencies and their impact on the clients they serve.

The newspaper also received third place in Best Front Page, honorable mention in Best Overall Design and honorable mention in Best News or Feature Special Section for the "Goal Lines" high school football publication.

Tritz won first place in Best Editorial for a News Tribune editorial calling for more communication among Jefferson City officials about a perceived problem with the city prosecutor's absences from court days rather than a proposed change to the city charter. He received second place in the same category for an editorial calling for then-Gov. Eric Greitens to resign in the interest of the state and honorable mention for an editorial supporting the Johnson Amendment, a federal tax code ban on religious and other nonprofit organizations endorsing/opposing political candidates.

Sports Editor Tom Rackers was the first-place Best Sports Columnist for his regular "Press Box" columns.

Gamm earned first place in Best Story About Religion for a May 2018 story about Bishop W. Shawn McKnight of the Catholic Diocese of Jefferson City examining the role of permanent deacons. He received second place in the same category for his February 2018 coverage of the new bishop's ordination.

Gamm also took second place in Best Health Story for "Banded together," a story about a group of Jefferson City middle-schoolers diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, and honorable mention in the same category for "Power of the punch," a story featuring a boxing program for patients with Parkinson's disease at the Sam B. Cook Healthplex.

City Editor Rebecca Martin earned second place in Best Investigative Reporting as well as honorable mention in Best News Story for "Child care desert," a pair of stories looking at Missouri's lack of access to affordable child care.

Martin also won second place in Best Business Story for "Going out in style," highlighting the history and community ties of Saffees as its family ownership announced the downtown Jefferson City business would close in late 2018.

Assistant Sports Editor Greg Jackson received second place in the Best Sports Columnist category for his regular contributions to "Press Box."

Jim Dyke took second place, third place and honorable mention in Best Editorial Cartoon.

Photographer Jenna Kieser received second place in Best Sports Feature Photograph for capturing the reaction of Blair Oaks fans to a touchdown during the Class 2 state championship game in December.

Sports reporter Jason Strickland took third place in Best Sports Photograph for a photo of a tagout at home plate during a Jefferson City Post 5 Seniors baseball game in July 2018.

Strickland and Kieser received honorable mention in Best Photo Package for photos from Blair Oaks' state football championship win.

Samantha Pogue and the News Tribune staff earned third place in the Magazine/Alternative Publication category for HER Magazine.

Design Editor Molly Morris received third place and honorable mention in Best Page Design.

Reporter Jeff Haldiman earned third place in Best Breaking News Story for his reporting on the police search for a missing Jefferson City child.

Reporter Phillip Sitter received third place in Best Story About Education for a story about local teachers' use of alternative seating in classrooms.

Managing Editor Gary Castor accepted the News Tribune's awards Saturday during the 153rd annual Missouri Press Convention in Kansas City.

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