Strong commitment to local communities with quality reporting helps Daily Leader bring home title of
BEST SMALL DAILY IN KANSAS
• Daily Leader staff report
In less than two years, the High Plains Daily Leader was able to rise to the top of the small daily division in Kansas and claim the Sweepstakes Award, the highest honor at the Kansas Awards of Excellence competition.
The Daily Leader was able to edge out the Ottawa Herald and several other quality daily newspapers with a combination of strong editorial and advertising entries.
The Daily Leader claimed a total of 33 awards including the Sweepstakes and 16 first-place finishes.
“This is such an honor,” Daily Leader publisher Earl Watt said. “This shows how committed we are to the local community. We are fortunate to have the community support that allows us to tell the story of the people and activities in this area. We are glad that the stories from this area caught the eyes of the judges from Nebraska.”
The Daily Leader began operations on May 4 of 2008 after daily news service was abandoned in Liberal.
A group of local newspaper employees launched the Daily Leader, and subscribers and advertising has been growing since.
The Sweepstakes Award was just an example of what local commitment means, according to Watt.
“When you love your town, you work hard for it,” he said. “Our staff cares about Liberal and the surrounding communities that make up the High Plains readership area. That’s why we started this newspaper. That’s why we had an independent circulation audit completed. That’s why our news and ads received recognition. We work as partners with our community, and that partnership was recognized.”
“I would like to thank the entire staff of the Leader for their combined professionalism and community commitment,” Watt said. “Our industry is going through a time when it is trying to cut the quality of the product and its commitment to the communities that fund them, while focusing on profit at all costs. When newspapers take care of their communities, and the community takes care of its newspaper, both goals are realized. Some newspaper groups believe you have to either be a professional journalist, or a committed community member, but not both. The recognition this week is the largest testament to the commitment of a newspaper and a community working together, and I hope that we can continue to strengthen that relationship. I love Liberal, and I love working at a newspaper. I’m glad we can do both.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: Tomorrow’s Daily Leader will list all individual and paper awards it won Saturday at the Kasnas Press Association Awards in Excellence competition in Topeka.