Awards for excellence in presenting local news in the Wisconsin Energy Cooperative News (WECN) magazine were recently presented to seven of Wisconsin’s electric cooperatives. Awards were given in four editorial categories: Co-op News, Human Interest, Photography, and Energy Education. Serving as a judge for this year of the annual local pages contest was Donna Abernathy, president of DNF Communications and a nationally known cooperative communications consultant.
Finishing first in the category of Co-op News was Riverland Energy Cooperative, headquartered in Arcadia. Beth Alesch, marketing & communications, is the editor of Riverland Energy’s local pages. Abernathy’s comments about Riverland’s efforts included: “From the CEO column to the back page, your local sections are consistently chock full of news. Good going!”
Price Electric Cooperative in Phillips, and Central Wisconsin Electric Cooperative, headquartered in Rosholt, tied for honorable mention in the Co-op News category. Price Electric’s local pages are produced by Theresa Raleigh, manager of member services, and Laura Palzkill, member services assistant. Brenda Mazemke, manager of member relations, served as editor of Central Wisconsin Electric’s local pages.
Abernathy described Price Electric’s local pages as “Exceptional work in covering a broad range of topics and keeping content focused squarely on what’s happening at Price.” About Central Wisconsin Electric, she said, “There’s SO much to like here. I like that you consistently have a CEO column that provides a good summary of co-op business. Also like the board meeting summary. This is a level of transparency that I’m sure members appreciate. As noted in your purpose statement, you endeavor to focus on the 7th principle in your storytelling, and you succeed admirably.”
Winner in the Human Interest category was Scenic Rivers Energy Cooperative, headquartered in Lancaster. Judy Mims, administrative/customer services representative, serves as editor of Scenic Rivers’ local pages. Abernathy said, “The member features included in this entry are the best I’ve judged so far. Nice leads, creative writing, good flow.”
Taking honorable mention in the Human Interest category was Richland Electric Cooperative, in Richland Center. Trevor Clark, director of outreach services, is the editor of Richland’s local pages. Abernathy commented that Richland’s feature writing was very good overall, and praised the co-op specifically for using Jerry Apps’ columns to good effect.
In the Photography category, Eau Claire Energy Cooperative, headquartered in Fall Creek, emerged as the winner. The pages that were judged were produce by Mary Kay Brevig, former communications & public relations manager who has since retired. Abnernathy singled out the co-op for using lots of photo of happy, smiling members.
Taking honorable mention in the Photography category was Scenic Rivers Energy Cooperative. Abernathy noted that photography was strong throughout in these pages, and she particularly liked that the co-op highlights a photo from the member photo contest every month.
The final category, Energy Education, was won by Pierce Pepin Cooperative Services in Ellsworth for the second year in a row. Pierce Pepin’s local pages are produced by Liz Gunderson, member relations and IT administrator. Abernathy commented that Pierce Pepin’s pages were the “best energy education pages I’ve seen so far,” giving the regular “Jay Talking” column special mention.
Honorable mention in Energy Education went to Eau Claire Energy Cooperative, with the judge pointing to the co-op’s emphasis on youth safety education as particularly strong.
Congratulations to all winners!