Moonshine Ink received national recognition for its reporting, writing, ad production, and graphic design in the recently announced National Newspaper Association’s Better Newspaper Contest & Better Advertising Contest. Moonshine Ink competed against U.S. newspapers of similar size and circulation in the nation-wide contest and took home five separate awards, including three first-place prizes.

The newspaper won first-place awards for Best Feature Story and Best Investigative or In-Depth Story or Series, and took third place for Best Serious Column in the non-daily division. Moonshine Ink was also recognized for its graphic design and advertisement campaigns with a first-place award for Best Advertising Idea, and a third-place award for Best Single Ad Idea, beating out both daily and non-daily papers.

Editorial awards were given to Melissa Siig and David Bunker, two of the newspaper’s associate editors who also report and write news articles and feature stories.


Siig, who recently attended the Squaw Valley Community of Writers’ Workshop, was recognized for her feature story “The Unofficial Millionaire” on Patrick Rivelli, “a 47-year-old biotechnology developer, entrepreneur, and millionaire from Palo Alto [who] chose to lavish hundreds of thousands of dollars on a bunch of ski bums.” Rivelli is the man behind Unofficial Squaw, the High Fives Foundation, and the Push.

A judge who reviewed Siig’s piece wrote, “This story is a pleasure to read. The writer gives us transition sentences that tell us the man loves to ski and he’s no dummy.”

Bunker was awarded for his article, “Tahoe Forest Hospital Under the Microscope,” a product of a several-month-long investigation that examined the expanding expenses, high salaries, and fundraising costs behind the local health care provider.

“The paper and writer showed a commitment to readers beyond something happening to make headlines,” said one of the contest’s judges. “Every community needs to delve into their local public institutions with this vigor and clarity.”

In addition to his first-place award for the investigative piece, Bunker also was awarded for one of his columns about the visionaries of Tahoe’s ski culture. The column, entitled “Capitalism, Culture, and the Tahoe Ski Industry,” took third for Best Serious Column.

Judges were equally impressed with Moonshine Ink’s creativity in the advertising and graphic design departments. Advertising awards recognized the work of publisher Mayumi Elegado and graphic designer Lauren Shearer.  

One judge who studied the newspaper’s award-winning ad campaign wrote, “Moonshine Ink’s Keep Business Rolling is a great idea any newspaper could use to help advertisers in slow months and generate revenue.”

Shearer was also singled out for a third-place award for an ad entitled, “Pass It On Thrift moves to a new location,” in a category including daily and non-daily newspapers with circulations approaching 10,000.

Moonshine Ink was founded nearly 11 years ago and covers news, sports, opinion, art, culture, and food in Truckee and North Tahoe. It is an independent, locally owned, and locally operated monthly publication.


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