At the annual Independent Free Papers of America convention, held in Boston Sept. 13-15, the Columbus Messenger newspapers earned two awards, a first-place award for front page layout to Madison County Editor Kristy Zurbrick and a second-place prize for news writing to Dianne Garrett for stories on a "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" project in Whitehall.
"Kristy has always been our gold standard for graphics and layout and we all continue to learn from her," Managing Editor John Matuszak said. "In addition to untiring news gathering and writing, Kristy puts a tremendous amount of work and attention into the visual elements of her papers, and it always shows. She really makes her photos and pages pop."
Garrett spent many hours talking to people and taking photos during the week that "Extreme Makeover" crews spent demolishing the old home and building a new one for the family of Jason Thomas, honored as a hometown hero for rescuing two Port Authority officers following the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center.
"As she always does, Dianne focused on the community aspects of the project, the local volunteers and the businesses that contributed to the effort," according to Matuszak. "She showed off the pride of Whitehall and its willingness to come together to honor one of its own."
The IFPA includes hundreds of member publications across the United States and in Canada.