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PJ takes four state awards

Photo by Erin Bishop-Schulz Pioneer Journal Editor and Publisher Steve Schulz (left) and school and sports reporter Brian Hansel (right) accepted the awards on behalf of the Pioneer Journal staff on Jan. 27 in Bloomington, Minn.

The Wadena Pioneer Journal collected four Minnesota Newspaper Association awards -- all of them first place in their category.

At the Better Newspaper Contest, part of the state newspaper convention, the PJ won for website, community interaction website, best news photo and breaking news coverage.

The first two awards went to the newspaper as a whole, while best news photo was given to Brian Hansel and breaking news was awarded to Steve Schulz.

Among all newspaper websites in the Pioneer Journal's circulation class, the out-of-state judges called a "clear winner" in the category.

The judges also chose as the best community interaction website, judged on how the community engages the website.

Hansel's photos immediately after the EF4 tornado on June 17 earned him the first-place award. The judges noted if he had arrived five minutes earlier or five minutes later, he likely would have never captured the emotional photo he did.

Schulz also won for news writing in the local breaking news category, also for coverage in the immediate aftermath of the twister.