We don’t always get to announce that we’re winners, but when we do, we like when it’s in national recognition of both our stellar advertising team and our hard-working editorial squad.

The NNA announced this year’s winners on June 11, adding four editorial and two advertising wins to Moonshine’s six-year history of competing in the Better Newspaper Contest. The judges awarded us first place in the sports feature and business feature categories; second place in photo essay, investigative or in-depth story or series, and best advertising idea; and an honorable mention in their small-page ad category.

Local climbing celebrity Emily Harrington’s first place sports feature win was well-deserved for The Slaydies, a piece she wrote as part of her Balancing Act column.


“This one nudged past several other great contenders for first place,” wrote the judges. “Emily Harrington produced a fascinating, fun read, capturing the feel and culture and camaraderie of her sport. The first-rate descriptive writing put readers on the wall in Mallorca with her and her friends. What an adventure!”

Nancy Holliday and Jim Pickering placed second with their photo essay in Roundup. The judges praised Holliday’s and Pickering’s ability to tell the story of the plight of horses in the wild and how each photo added meaningfully to that narrative.

WILD, WILD HORSES: The NNA judges loved the ability of this collaborative photo essay to show motion and tell the story of undomesticated horses through the thousands of words told by images such as this one. Photo Courtesy Nancy Holliday

Sage Sauerbrey’s win for his investigative work in our Housing Crisis series is a fitting nod to the stamina and dedication with which he approached his work with Moonshine. He recently left the area to explore the world, but perhaps he’ll be back looking for (and at) housing again.

WHAT’S BLACK AND MOONSHINEY AND READ ALL OVER? Image courtesy National Newspaper Association (NNA)

“Affordable housing may not be sexy,” began the judges’ commentary of Sauerbrey’s pieces, but Moonshine “managed to make the topic plenty interesting with three distinct, but relevant takes on the subject.”

Housing issues resonate with communities all over the world, and the NNA seems to appreciate Moonshine especially for our ability to highlight local issues with a global reach. Interestingly, we have found in recent weeks that you, our readers, also engage most with news we bring you that tie local topics to the global stage as well.

A FINE FUNCTIONAL AD: Local artist Sara Smith’s whimsical piece combined intriguingly with Moonshine Ink advertising consultant Nina Miller’s design eye to create this small-page ad for Fine Functional Art that restored the judges’ belief that an ad can be effective, no matter how small. Courtesy Nina Miller and Sara Smith

Another of this year’s NNA wins which demonstrated our ability to tell global news through a local lens was Alex Spychalsky’s August 2018 feature, Providing Global Aid from a Mountain Town. Spychalsky is a frequent contributor for our business features section as she’s able to unlock what makes businesses tick. It comes as no surprise, then, that the NNA agrees with us and awarded her first place in the business feature category. They noted that “a good business feature will also tell why the business exists and how it interacts with society — while provoking readers’ reactions. The story also doesn’t have to be lengthy, saturated with numbers or read like a press release. The author nailed the right combination of ingredients for this story.”

Moonshine Ink’s publisher, Mayumi Elegado, and advertising consultant, Nina Miller, picked up a couple of awards on the marketing side. The team’s in-house subscription ad campaign won second place in the NNA’s advertising idea category; the judges said it demonstrated “simple, clean, and good newspaper promotion.” Alongside local artist Sara Smith, Miller also won an honorable mention for a small ad featuring Smith’s giraffe art, which the judges praised for its layout and placement.

Check out all the winners and categories on the NNA’s website. And here are the details of Moonshine’s six National Newspaper Association victories this year and links to the winners in the chart below:

Moonshine Ink’s 2018-19 NNA Better Newspaper Contest Awards

Entry (Direct Link) Placement Class Issue Credit(s)
Roundup Second Place Best Photo Essay November 2018 Nancy Holliday and Jim Pickering
Housing Crisis (other articles in this series here and here) Second Place Best Investigative or In-Depth Series 2018-2019 Sage Sauerbrey
Providing Global Aid from a Mountain Town First Place Best Business Feature August 2018 Alex Spychalsky
The Slaydies First Place Best Sports Feature or Series March 2018 Emily Harrington
Moonshine Ink Subscription Ads Second Place Best Advertising Idea Online Mayumi Elegado, Nina Miller
Fine, Functional Art Ad Honorable Mention Best Small-Page Ad February 2018 Sara Smith, Nina Miller





  • Becca Loux

    Becca Loux relocated to Truckee on a mission to tell stories that are fact-checked and data-driven without sacrificing the human element. She is an avid hiker, biker, skater, surfer, boarder, kayaker, sun-worshiper, and all other important "-ers" relating to the outdoors. Becca's wolfpack recently expanded to include a teenage husky named Koda.

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