Fall River County Herald-Star recognized in SDNA contest

Newspaper earns two firsts, four seconds including award for Typography & Design

DEVILS LAKE, N.D. – At South Dakota’s and North Dakota’s joint newspaper convention held in Devils Lake, N.D., this past week, the South Dakota Newspaper Association (SDNA) held its annual awards Better Newspapers Contest presentation where the Fall River County Herald-Star faired very well by earning a total of seven awards in the state’s Large Weekly division.

The entries for the 2022 SDNA Better Newspapers Contest were judged by members of the Minnesota Newspaper Association who picked the top papers in three different divisions, which included 25 newspapers in the Large Weekly division of newspapers over 1,300 circulation, 80 newspapers in the Small Weekly Division of newspaper with less than 1,300 circulation and also 11 newspapers in the Daily Division.

As a staff, the Fall River County Herald-Star finished as the runner-up in the “Best Typography & Design” category of Large Weeklies, finishing second to only the Mobridge Tribune. Judge’s comments about the Herald-Star included “I like the utilization of space and the way you format your ‘Guest Voice’ bylines.”

For individual entries, Publisher Brett Nachtigall earned a pair of top honors, including a first place in the “Best Local Government Story” category and a first place in the “Best Sports Reporting” category.

Nachtigall’s “Local Government” story reported on the Hot Springs Police Department situation with a front page story entitled “Police officer shortage persists with resignation of recent Law Enforcement Training graduate” published on July 14, 2022. Judge’s comments included: “Great use of quotes. Solid writing about a complex issue with the police department.”

Below is a link to that story:


His first place sports story was published June 2, 2022, and reported on last year’s state track meet at Howard Wood in Sioux Falls and entitled: “Peterson siblings lead Moguls with two medals apiece at 2022 State Class ‘B’ Championships,” where the sister/brother duo of Morgan and Braden Peterson set several new records for the Edgemont High School track program. Judge’s comments included: “Great photos, story and headlines to capture the big day for the Petersons!"

Below is that story as it appeared in the print edition of the newspaper last June.



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The Fall River County Herald-Star also took third place in the “Best Sports Reporting” category with a story written by Richard Anderson entitled “Former Lady Bison is first West River female high school football official” about Genevieve DeMent-Osborn, which was published Sept. 1, 2022. Judge’s comments included: “Women’s sports stealing all the headlines! Great job!”

Below is a link to that story:


Herald-Star reporter Marcus Heerdt earned a second place award in the “Best Lede” category, which recognizes the writer’s ability to effectively use humor or cleverness in the opening sentence or paragraph of a news article while summarizing the most important aspects of the story. 

Heerd’t story, published Jan. 20. 2022, was entitled “Smart TVs installed in Hot Springs School District buildings” included the opening sentence which read, “The students in the Hot Springs School District are not the only entities getting smarter at school these days…so are the televisions.” Judge’s comments included: “Nice play on words with TVs getting smarter along with students.”

In the photography categories, the Herald-Star earned two second place awards, including a runner-up honor for reporter Charity Maness in the “Best Spot News Photo” category for her photo which accompanied a front page story on Aug. 4, 2022, entitled: “Local law enforcement agencies receive Active Threat Response Training.” The photo featured Fall River County Deputy Isnalawica Belt and Hot Springs School Resource Officer Thomas McMillan practicing team response to active shooter on school grounds. Judge’s comments included: “Excellent job taking advantage of having full access to this drill. Not all law enforcement will allow this sort of access. I really like that it was taken from the perspective of what could be a third officer.”

Below is that photo:


Nachtigall earned the newspaper’s other second place photography award in the “Best Photo Series” category when he featured the 25th annual Southern Hills Triathlon in the Sept. 8, 2022, newspaper. Judge’s comments included: “Excellent coverage of a singular event from different angles that truly tells a story in photos.”

Below is that photo page:

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In addition to the Fall River County Herald-Star earning several awards, the nearby Custer County Chronicle was also recognized with a total of nine individual awards, including three first place honors. The Hill City Prevailer-News reporter Esther Noe and Rapid City Journal sports editor Matt Case were also recognized by winning the 2022 “Outstanding Young Journalist Awards.”

In the overall SDNA General Excellence & Sweepstakes competition, the Hamlin County Republican in Castlewood won the Weeklies under 1,300 division, the Freeman Courier won the Weeklies over 1,300 division and the Mitchell Republic won the All Dailies division.

Fall River County Herald Star

EDGEMONT OFFICE: 410 2nd Avenue   Edgemont, SD 57735-0660 | 605.662.7201
HOT SPRINGS OFFICE: 334 S. Chicago St.  Hot Springs, SD 57747 | 605.745.3930
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