Daily Iowan wins general excellence, 24 other awards at 2022 Iowa Newspaper Association contest

The University of Iowa’s independent student newspaper won 11 first-place awards and several others at the Iowa Newspaper Association’s 2022 Better Newspaper Contest.


Daily Iowan staff members hold first-place awards at the Iowa Newspaper Association’s Better Newspaper Contest on Thursday, April 28, 2022. (contributed)

DI Staff

The Daily Iowan received 25 awards in the Iowa Newspaper Association’s 2022 Better Newspaper Contest, including general excellence for large weekly papers. 

The DI competed with weekly newspapers with a circulation over 1,551. This is the first time the DI has competed in the category after moving to printing twice weekly in 2020. Previously, the DI competed with daily newspapers with a circulation of less than 10,000.

The DI was awarded first place in general excellence, the highest award in its circulation category. In addition, DI staffers won 24 individual and group awards in the category, including 11 first-place finishes. 

“I couldn’t be more proud of the talented group of journalists at the DI for their hard work in the past year,” Executive Editor Caleb McCullough said. “The staff took on the challenge of new competition and continued to meet high standards and create incredible journalism.”

McCullough and 2021 graduate Sarah Watson were editors over the period of the contest. Jason Brummond is the paper’s publisher. 

Watson, now the Davenport, Scott County and Iowa politics reporter at the Quad City Times, was awarded the Iowa Newspaper Association’s Jay P. Wagner Prize for Young Journalists at the ceremony. 

Newspapers across the state submitted around 2,500 entries for the competition, according to a press release from the Iowa Newspaper Association. The contest was judged by the Oklahoma Press Association.

The Dubuque Telegraph-Herald was named the 2022 Newspaper of the Year, the highest award given across all categories. 

Among the first-place awards given to DI staff were best news story, best newspaper website, coverage of government and politics, and best ad designer. The DI swept the best video category, winning first, second, and third place. See the full list of awards below. 

First Place 

General Excellence

Best Feature Pages

Coverage of Government and Politics

Best Use of Graphics

Best Newspaper Website

Community Leadership – Amplify

Best Ad Designer – Heidi Owen

Best Video – Jenna Galligan and Ryan Adams

Best Slideshow – Jerod Ringwald and Ayrton Breckenridge

Best News Feature Photo – Tate Hildyard

Best News Story – Rin Swann 

Second Place

Coverage of Education 

Best Special Section – Editorial

Best Video – Jenna Galligan

Best Slideshow – Grace Smith

Best Podcast – On the Record

Best Sports Photo – Jerod Ringwald

Best News Feature Photo – Jeff Sigmund

Best Photo Story – Jerod Ringwald and Ayrton Breckenridge

Best Breaking News Story – Rylee Wilson

Best Personality Feature Story – Josie Fischels

Best Continuing Coverage – Staff

Third Place

Best Video – Ayrton Breckenridge, Daniel McGregor-Huyer

Best Sports Feature Story – Robert Read

Best Series – Staff

A full list of awards and judge’s comments can be found here.