WAUKESHA, Wis. — The EagleHerald collected five awards, including first place in the prestigious General Excellence category, in the 2014 Better Newspaper Contest sponsored by the Wisconsin Newspaper Association Foundation.

The awards were presented during the WNA’s 161st annual convention Friday at the Milwaukee Mariott West in Waukesha.

“Our news team does a great job covering local stories and we appreciate this recognition from the judges on some of our best work,” said Dan White, the EagleHerald’s general manager. “We’re especially proud of the first place general excellence award recognition we received.”

EagleHerald editor Dan Kitkowski agreed. “The general excellence award is one of the top honors a newspaper can receive. It shows our overall strength and everyone on our editorial staff should be proud. It really is a team effort that encompasses everything we do — news, sports, photography and page design.”

The contest was judged by members of the Michigan Press Association. One judge said this about the EagleHerald: “Not flashy, but chock full of local news and sports. Local editorial and the extensive calendars, police blotter and other nuts and bolts show this paper really cares about covering its community.”

The EagleHerald also earned three second-place awards. They include:

Special Section — For the 2013 People Making A Difference section that spotlights nearly two dozen individuals in our area who help make the world a better place.

“This is one of our favorite productions of the year,” Kitkowski said. “It allows our staff to give recognition to a lot of deserving individuals, some well-known in the community and some who work behind the scenes. I believe some of our best writing and photography is featured in this section.”

Editorial — Kitkowski for an editorial with the headline, “Marinette utility in deep waters.” This editorial was critical of the financial mess of the Marinette Water Utility and Wastewater Department made public in the fall of 2013.

Lifestyle pages — Melissa Kowalczyk, Larry Ebsch and Becki Minton for their work on the “From the Past” page that appears every Monday in the EagleHerald.

“Larry’s popular ByeLines column obviously is the centerpiece of this page,” Kitkowski said of the former Eagle-Star editor. “We’re lucky to have someone with his knowledge, talent, enthusiasm and experience still being a key contributor. Melissa’s page design skills and Becki’s research help make this a great page.”

News/online editor Penny Mullins received a fourth place award for her feature story, “Battling Personal Demons,” about a 31-year-old Peshtigo-area musician fighting through his drug and alcohol addictions.

“A very powerful and well-written article,” Kitkowski said.

The Green Bay Press-Gazette earned the daily newspaper of the year award, while the Ripon Commonwealth Press won the award for weekly papers.

There were 2,897 entries from 172 papers in this year’s contest. The contest is broken into three divisions for daily papers and three for weekly papers, based on circulation.

The WNA includes 31 daily and 191 weekly newspapers. It was established in 1853 and is one of the oldest newspaper associations in the world.