2013 Better Newspaper Awards Luncheon

Spirit Wins Its Division in State Contest

2013 Better Newspaper Awards Luncheon
Missouri Press Association president Richard Gard (left) with Steve and Toni Bowman of The Brentwood Spirit at the awards luncheon on Sept. 27 in Columbia. (Missouri Press Association photo)

Also gets awards for math article, football coverage

By Brentwood Spirit Staff

The Brentwood Spirit has been named the best midsize weekly news website in the state by the Missouri Press Association. It was one of three awards the Spirit won in the MPA’s 2014 Better Newspaper Contest. The awards were handed out at the group’s 148th annual convention on Sept. 27 in Columbia.

Competing in a division that includes all weekly news websites that serve up to 7,000 readers, the Spirit took first place for “best online newspaper or website,” first place for “best story about education” and third place for “best sports news story or package.” The contest was for news coverage in 2013.

First for education, third for sports

The education award was for a two-part article on why students in the Brentwood School District have some of the state’s highest standardized test scores in math.

“I’m especially thankful to all the math teachers in the district who let me lurk around in their classrooms to see how they teach,” said editor Steve Bowman. “Kelly Javier at the high school was great about being my math-to-English interpreter.”

The sports award was for coverage of the entire 2013 BHS football season.

“It’s easy to write about a team that goes 10-1,” said Bowman. “The coaching staff gave me great access and the players provided interesting moments to write about and photograph. For instance, I’m thinking of that game where Jake Zivic turned to my camera with a big smile and a bloody nose.”

The Brentwood Spirit was started in 2011, and 2014 is the first year it has entered the annual contest. The website is owned and operated by 18-year Brentwood residents Steve Bowman and Toni Bowman.

Hampel at Post-Dispatch

At least one other Brentwood resident won Missouri Press Association awards. Paul Hampel, a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, won a first place and two third places. He won first, with two other reporters, for best breaking news story, an article on the arrest of a St. Clair County drug judge. The Post-Dispatch competes against daily newspapers with more than 15,000 readers.

Here’s a link to The Brentwood Spirit’s two-part math article: Math Scores Help Drive District’s Success

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