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Ely Echo wins five awards

The Ely Echo has won five state newspaper awards - all in the largest circulation division for weeklies across Minnesota.

Ely’s only locally-owned newspaper captured three second-place awards and two thirds in the Minnesota Newspaper Association’s Better Newspaper Contest.

Awards were announced last week in Brooklyn Center during the association’s annual convention.

The Echo took home second place in General Reporting for weekly newspapers with 3,000-7,000 circulation, and the publication also gained second place in the same division for Editorial Page as a Whole.

Echo editor Tom Coombe, meanwhile, won second place in the Columnist category for the second consecutive year.

The Echo also won third place in the Herman Roe Editorial Award, with publisher Nick Wognum and Coombe recognized in that category.

Echo columnist Diana Mavetz Petrich gave the newspaper another winner in the Columnist category, as she gained third place in that division for weeklies between 3,000 and 7,000 circulation.

“We’ve very proud to be recognized on a statewide basis,” said Wognum, who attended the convention and accepted the awards. “It’s an  honor to be selected, particularly when you consider it was in a category with bigger newspapers from larger communities and bigger circulations and staffs.”

Contest judges made note of the Echo’s work in a series of comments.

While recognizing the newspaper in the General Reporting category, a judge said the Echo is “Hyper local. I love the reporting on the things that matter to your community.”

The Echo’s selection in the Editorial Page category came with a comment that the paper “has a nice mix and interesting letters, which the paper clearly encourages.”

Coombe was recognized for columns written about the passing of two longtime Elyites and civic leader - former Chamber of Commerce director Linda Fryer and Ely Echo publisher Anne Swenson.

A judge wrote “You created a great example of leaving a legacy for your community. Through the story of Linda being such a pillar of your community, to Anne being the only female to own a business in town, these women created their own way and you created great stories.”

Mavetz Petrich is a first-time winner and she was saluted for a column she wrote about her late mother.

“What a poignant statement,” a judge commented. “Something we could all strive for. You lead the reader through the last days with you mother and it was such an emotional ride. Through your foundation with God, your mother’s strong faith, there was no doubt there was love in this story and peace at the end for both. In “June,” the photos added a nice detail to sum up why June is your favorite.

The Echo picked up two state awards last year and also won four awards in 2021, when recognition came during a virtual ceremony that was held in place of the annual convention because of the pandemic.

Hundreds of newspaper industry representatives, including publishers, editors and reporters attended this year’s convention held at the Brooklyn Park Marriott. It included a series of seminars, a trade show and luncheons featuring guest speakers including Gov. Tim Walz, Twin Cities media personality Boyd Huppert and both Dan Gladden and Dave St. Peter of the Minnesota Twins.

The Echo is the official newspaper of the cities of Ely and Winton, the Ely School District, and both Morse and Fall Lake townships.

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