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A photograph of a SWAT team arrest was selected as top spot-news photo of the year in Division 4 of the Hoosier State Press Association Foundation Better Newspaper contest.  The photo by Republic photo manager Mike Wolanin shows a member of the Columbus Police Department and Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department move to apprehend Ian Gardner outside of a home on Ross Street after a standoff in Columbus, Ind., Thursday, April 6, 2017. Gardner, 26, of Seymour, surrendered to law enforcement to end the standoff. Mike Wolanin | The Republic Mike Wolanin | The Republic

Staff Reports

INDIANAPOLIS — The Republic has been named the top daily newspaper of its size in the 2017 Hoosier State Press Association Foundation Better Newspaper Contest.

The Republic finished first in General Excellence, based on points accumulated by the newspaper in individual categories. It was the fourth-straight year that The Republic earned the HSPA General Excellence in its contest category.

That honor was among 19 awards earned by The Republic news staff. The Republic competed in Division 4, for newspapers with paid circulation between 6,000 and 13,999.

The Republic staff won nine first-place awards, six second-place awards and four third-place awards. The contest period covered entries between July 1, 2016, and June 30, 2017.

Here are summaries of The Republic’s winning entries, announced Saturday at the Indianapolis Marriott North.

First place

General Excellence: Staff, based on point totals from all winning entries.

Best Newspaper Design: Staff, for a selection of editions published Aug. 25, 2016; Jan. 18, 2017 and April 12, 2017.

Best Sports Section: Staff, for a selection of editions published Aug. 28, 2016; Jan. 25, 2017 and March 3, 2017.

Best Special Section: Staff, for “Mike Pence: A Political Journey,” published Jan. 18, 2017, just prior to the Columbus native’s inauguration as vice president of the United States.

Best Feature Section/Pages: Staff, for a selection of editions of the weekly Go! section published Aug. 11 and Sept. 29, 2016; and April 27, 2017.

Best Business Section/Pages: Staff, for a selection of Sunday Business editions published July 3, 2016; July 31, 2016 and Feb. 5, 2017.

General Commentary: The late Harry McCawley, for a selection of Opinion page columns: “History rewrite,” which captured how Richard Johnson Early Education Center’s influence on local architecture was not what was originally believed, published Sept. 15, 2016; “An immigrant’s tale,” about how World War II prisoner Gus Potthoff cherished life as a U.S. citizen, published Dec. 15, 2016; and “Heart of Hope,” about the legacy left by Hope community and business leader Merrill Clouse, published April 20, 2017.

Best Spot-News Photo: Mike Wolanin, for a photograph of a SWAT team arrest of a suspect outside a Ross Street home in Columbus following a standoff, published April 6, 2017.

Headline Writing: Staff, for a selection of three headlines: “Will KC bring sunshine?,” published Aug. 12, 2016; “Pocket protectors,” published Oct. 13, 2016; and “Feeling bugged? Gnat a problem,” published Nov. 5, 2016.

Second Place

Best Use of Graphics: Staff, for a selection of three graphics: “Hidden gems,” published July 14, 2016; “Running the numbers,” published Sept. 4, 2016; and “Rolling around the bend,” published Oct. 16, 2016.

Best Feature Section/Pages: Staff, for The Rundown weekly page previewing the Mill Race Marathon, published July 17, Aug. 7 and Aug. 21, 2016.

Best Editorial Page: Staff, for a selection of three Opinion pages published July 6 and Nov. 5, 2016; and Feb. 2, 2017.

Best In-Depth Feature Package: Kirk Johannesen, for “Growing Need,” which reported how parents’ drug use led to an increase in abused and neglected children, published May 7, 2017.

Best Short Feature Story: Mark Webber, for “A hidden treasure,” a story of how an original log cabin was discovered beneath the exterior of a remodeled structure, published March 4, 2017.

Best Video Story or Photo Story with Audio: Mike Wolanin and Shelby Mullins for “Cummins Recycling Day,” published June 22.

Third Place

Best Special Section: Staff, for “Tony Stewart: Ride of a Lifetime,” chronicling the career of the Columbus native following his retirement as a full-time NASCAR driver, published Dec. 17, 2016.

Best Ongoing News Coverage: Julie McClure, for “Fatal motorcycle crash,” six news stories published between Aug. 31, 2016 and Jan. 8, 2017, in the aftermath of the death of 18-year-old motorcycle driver Xavier Scrogham, who was being chased by an off-duty reserve police officer.

Best Profile Feature: Brian Blair, for “Spirit of Giving,” about how Salvation Army bell ringer Jim Hutson’s singing boosts Red Kettle donations, published Dec. 10, 2016.

Headline Writing: Staff, for a selection of three headlines: “It’s a plaid, plaid, plaid, plaid world,” published Sept. 1, 2016; “Exploring the solar system,” published Sept. 14, 2016; and “In a pickle,” published April 12, 2017.