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Branson Tri-Lakes News reporters Jason Wert, Tim Church, and AJ Fahr pose with the 12 awards won by the newspaper at the 2022 Missouri Press Association "Better Newspaper Contest" awards.

The Branson Tri-Lakes News team received a dozen honors from the Missouri Press Association during their annual awards ceremony at Lake of the Ozarks.

The top prize captured by the newspaper in the Better Newspaper Contest was first place for “Best Overall Design” which the judges said had a “clean design, feels modern, [and] easy on the eyes.” 

“In the last 12 months the Branson Tri-Lakes News Team has accomplished so much,” Managing Editor Tim Church said. “It’s difficult to put into words how proud I am of this team. Going into the 2022 awards season, I prayed the Missouri Press Association would see how dedicated and tremendous this team has been over the course of 2021. I believe they did. Being recognized with these 12 awards for stories, design, digital and more, is not only a testament to our hard work, but a reflection of our diligence to provide our readers with accurate and in-depth local news, sports and entertainment coverage.”

A second place award was given to Jason Wert for “Best Investigative Reporting” for the Oct. 26, 2021 story “Whistleblower alleges unethical actions by Taney County Assessor.” The story outlined evidence presented to the newspaper by former Deputy Assessor Andy Adams alleging Taney County Assessor Susan Chapman improperly calculated tax bills, asking employees to change assessments outside of normal procedure, and using the Multi-Listing Service to obtain information for assessments when access is not permitted by a county assessor. The story also received a third place award for “Best News Story.”

Other third place awards received by the newspaper included staff awards for “General Excellence” and “Best Online Newspaper.” 

AJ Fahr received a third place “Best Story About Education” honor for her Nov. 23, 2021 story “Custodian brightens students daily routines,” about Hollister custodian Vicki Worthington leaving encouraging notes and arranging the toys in the Early Childhood Center in silly ways to bring a smile to student’s faces. Fahr also received a third place award for “Best Business Story” for the June 22, 2022 story “A family legacy continues with Pzazz on the Point,” about the granddaughter of the original Pzazz owner and her partner opening a new restaurant to carry on the family tradition.

Additionally, Tim Church received a third place award for his July 30, 2021 story “CBCO collects 37 donations” about the Community Blood Center of the Ozarks’ blood drive at the newspaper’s offices. 

Church and Joshua Clark received a third place award for best “Magazine/Alternative Publication” for the Ozark Mountain Visitor.

Honorable Mention awards were given to Tim Church for “Best Business Story” on the opening of Angler’s Lodge and “Magazine/Alternative Publication” for Branson This Week. Church, Fahr, and Addie Cantrell also received an Honorable Mention award for “Best COVID-19 Coverage.”

“I’m very proud of our team and what they were able to accomplish this year,” Publisher Mandy Farrow said. “They continue to strive for excellence and I’m looking forward to watching them bring home more awards next year.”

The Missouri Press Association gives awards in multiple classifications, separating dailies and weekly papers, and different classes based on circulation sizes. The Branson Tri-Lakes News competes in the weekly Class 3 category.

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