The Houston Herald received 11 awards Saturday at the 114th annual convention of the Missouri Press Association at Lake Ozark. Pictured are, from left: Taylor Smith and Jeff McNiell of the Herald and Kevin Jones, 2010 president of the Missouri Press Association.

The Houston Herald won 11 awards – including five first places and second in general excellence – Saturday in the Missouri Better Newspaper Contest. The announcement came during a luncheon at the 144th annual convention of the Missouri Press Association at Lake Ozark.

The newspaper received:

–First place, best online newspaper or website. For the third time in four years, www.houstonherald.com received the top honor among the state’s weekly websites.

–First place, best story on rural life or agriculture. Kathy Richardson’s story featured Larry Hayes, his horses and logging.

–First place, best news story. Jeff McNiell’s article detailed the living conditions of two Licking boys who drowned in the Piney River.

–First place, best sports package. The story, written by McNiell, showcased the Houston football team’s season-ending victory against Cuba.

–First place, best sports feature. Text communication between coaches and high school athletes was detailed in McNiell’s story.

–Second place, general excellence.

–Third place, best newspaper design.

–Third place, best editorial cartoon, Taylor Smith.

–Third place, best photo illustration, Jeff McNiell.

–Honorable mention, best story about religion, Kathy Richardson.

–Honorable mention, best photo illustration, Jeff McNiell.

The contest is sponsored by the Missouri Press Foundation. Entries were judged by members of the Iowa Press Association.

Representing the newspaper at the convention were McNiell, Smith and publisher Brad Gentry, who sits on the association’s 15-member board of directors.

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