APG Best of 2023 Hero

Heavy lift coming in 2024. But first, let’s applaud some great work from 2023.

Disruption across the news industry has been constant since any of us has been in the business, and 2023 was no exception. It’s against this backdrop that I continue to be amazed at the focus on serving communities that our local news organizations have sustained.

As I traveled across the company in the past year to meet with the local teams, I saw firsthand the energy and passion in your plans as you strategize for growth and impact.  There were frustrations, to be sure, and questions about when our industry would stabilize enough to allow better traction and consistency in resources.

We’re working hard toward that day. A stronger local news business assures a stronger democracy, and never has that been more important.

In the past year, I continued to work with other local news company leaders in the fight for fair compensation from big tech as they continue to profit from our local content. We have reason to hope for more progress on that front in 2024.

Meanwhile, APG has made changes in the workflow, allowing local news operations to focus on creating content, and our sales teams to focus on building relationships and selling marketing solutions in the local business communities.

In 2023 we:

  • finished the build-out of centralized pagination and moved a significant amount of our special section and ad design to a central, specialized APG team.
  • consolidated solutions for audience development and customer service.
  • introduced new digital solutions and training to the sales team toolboxes.

Decisions on the journalism are, and will continue to be, in the hands of local and regional editors, the people who know their communities well.

In 2024, we will use our new infrastructure to serve external clients in the pagination and design centers. We’ll continue to be a competitive solution in commercial printing, and we’ll introduce new ways to build and retain our subscriber base. We’ll work to strengthen the expertise for growth on the sales side.

Before we get too far into the new year, however, I invite you to spend some time with the best work from our newsrooms in 2023. It really sets the stage for an exciting 2024.

Mark Adams

President & CEO

Data & Investigations Icon

Data, Investigations and Accountability

Land Purchase Raises Concern in Dunn County

Coverage from Leader-Telegram: Eau Claire, Wisconsin

Failed Fire Inspection, Alarm Problems Among Issues Documented at Highland High School Prior to Devastating Blaze

Coverage from Idaho State Journal: Pocatello, Idaho

Nearly 1,400 School, Sheriff’s Office and Government Workers Top $100,000 Salaries

Coverage from Southern Maryland News: La Plata, Maryland

Editorials Icon


What Independence Day Means to Active Duty Military and Veterans

Coverage from County News Review: Coon Rapids, Minnesota

Call to the Pen: Remembering the One and Only Steve Behr

Coverage fromThe Avery Journal Times: Newland, NC

You Ever Wonder Why They Call it ‘Breaking’ News?

Coverage from Glendive Ranger-Review: Glendive, Montana

Local Enterprise Icon

Local Enterprise

‘A Lot We Don’t Know: Montana Mycologists, Foragers Talk Morel Mushrooms Following Deaths This Spring

Coverage from Bozeman, Montana: Bozeman Daily Chronicle

The Right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness: Do WYO, LGBTQ+ Youth Have It?

Coverage from Cheyenne Wyoming: Wyoming Tribune Eagle

Finding a Successor: Skagit County Farmers Make Plans for the Future

Coverage from Mount Vernon, Washington: Skagit Valley Herald

Boise Students Say Assault Claims Often Met with Silence

Coverage from Nampa, Idaho: Idaho Press

60 Years After Martin Luther King Jr. Speech, Local Leaders Reflect on What Has Been Accomplished

Coverage from Easton, Maryland: Star-Democrat

‘There is a Romanticism to Montana’

Coverage from Laurel, Montana: The Laurel Outlook

Local News Icon

Local News

Interstate Pileup Involved 85 Vehicles, No Fatalities

Coverage from Janesville, Wisconsin: The Gazette

Nightmare Becomes Reality: Man Attacks, Kidnaps Elderly Clients

Coverage from Venice, Florida: The Daily Sun

Mother Described Struggle to Help Meth-Addicted Son

Coverage from Greeneville, Tennessee: The Greeneville Sun

‘Udder Chaos’ in Livingston

Coverage from Livingston, Montana: The Livingston Enterprise

400,000 Gallons of Water Contaminated with Radioactive Tritium Leaked from Monticello Nuclear Power Plant

Coverage from Coon Rapids, Minnesota: Monticello Times

Nightmare on Highway 169

Coverage from Coon Rapids, Minnesota: Elk River Star

Features Icon


Community Harvest: Ailing Farmer Gets Boost from Rural Tradition in Gem County

Coverage from Nampa, Idaho: Emmett Messenger Index

Peregrines Return to Ashland

Coverage from Ashland, Wisconsin: Ashland Daily Press

Turning 100: Ellensburg Woman Reflects on a Century of Adventure

Coverage from Ellensburg, Washington: Daily Record

When the Water Recedes

Coverage from Bozeman, Montana: Daily Chronicle

Historic Gravesite of Millie Ringold Located

Coverage from Stanford, Montana: Judith Basin Press

Sniffin’ Sleuths: Fire Investigator Partners withh New Arson Detection Dog

Coverage from Elkton, Maryland: Cecil Whig

Special Reports Icon

Special Reports

Season to Remember: Anacortes High School’s First State Football Championships

Coverage from Mount Vernon, Washington: Skagit Valley Herald

News Leader Among Idaho Readers

Coverage from Boise/Nampa, Idaho: Idaho Press

Mental Health in America

Coverage from Across the APG Network

Sports & Outdoors Icon

Sports & Outdoors

Born to Run: Brule Musher Conquers Iditarod a Year After Crash

Coverage from Ashland, Wisconsin: Ashland Daily Press

Grief Despite Victory: Melander, Nelson Remembered After New Year’s Day Snowmobile Accident

Coverage from Coon Rapids, Minnesota: County News Review

FEARLESS: Riddle ‘Stared Adversity in the Face’ and Now has Highland in Contention for Another State Title

Coverage from Pocatello, Idaho: Idaho State Journal


Our ‘Best’ puts a unique lens on the story of nation’s communities

Identifying our “best” is a subjective and fascinating assignment. Who’s doing the picking?  What are their standards and their styles? What are the circumstances, the challenges, the resources, the opportunities involved?

Across our industry there are awards programs that recognize the best, with prizes for those who meet specific standards. There are various qualitative critiques and a growing number of quantitative tools that can identify our “best” journalism. Indeed, APG has its own contests and cash award recipients will be recognized later this month.

What I love about the Best of Adams showcase, however, is that editors across the company are tasked with entering two pieces of journalism that represent their newsroom’s best work. It’s always fun to discover what rises to the top in each editor’s assessment of a year’s portfolio.

Some editors put forth work that demonstrates dogged pursuit of information and skillful navigation of public documentation and source development. Other editors send in beautifully told feature stories.

In the end, we’re left with more than 150 pieces that are a unique lens on life in small- and medium-size communities across the U.S. Beach towns and mountain towns, shore towns, college towns, state capitals and a big chunk of the Midwest.

It was a pleasure to read all the 2023 submissions, and these pages highlight several of them. I do have a few favorites, even among these bests.

  • Work that is revelatory and evokes community action: Idaho State Journal’s package by Shelbie Harris, which uncovered failed inspections and alarm problems that were documented prior to a devastating fire at a local high school.
  • Stories that deliver a strong sense of place: There are several examples of this throughout the showcase, but one that was particularly well done was from the Emmett Messenger Index in Idaho. Del Gray told the story of how a community came together to help an ailing farmer with the harvest, despite difficult workloads on their own farms.
  • Urgency around a national story: Kudos to the southern Wisconsin journalists for impressive hustle and teamwork following an 85-car pileup on a major interstate in the Janesville/Beloit area. Overcoming challenges with accessing the scene, the news team posted 66 updates in the nine hours after the event. 

Please take some time to follow the links to some of these stories from your colleagues. This showcase presents journalism taken out of its original context, borrowed from the communities it serves and curated into a collection representing the APG network’s strength on the local news landscape.

Traci Bauer

APG Vice President of Content

More Noteworthy Stories of 2023

Data, Investigations, Accountability

Faribault Daily News
School Board Member is Activist for Anti-LGBTQ Group

Herald Journal
Reports of Wrongful Termination at County Clerk/Auditor’s Office

Bay Times and Record Observer
Parents, Local Board of Ed Officials Fight to Retain Autonomy

Circleville Herald
Video Shows Circleville Police Dog Attacking a Suspect

Dominium Renters: ‘We’re Living in Fear’

Star Democrat
Dorchester County Faces a Reckoning After Years of Missed Audits 

Vinton Jackson Courier
‘I Want Justice for My Son’

Herald Journal
Authorities: Dangerous Fentanyl Use Increasing in Previously Untouched Communities

Dorchester Star
Management Tries to Solve Problems at Altair Apartments, But is it Enough?

Star News
Some Rural Residents Questioning Highway 169 Connection


Message Media
‘My Heart Was Broken Seeing Him in Pain…’


APG Network
Food & Farm Series

Dorchester Star
‘It Could Have Been My Life’

Message Media
Big Tom’s Diner Opens in Aitkin

Livingston Enterprise
Dealing with Loneliness, Isolation

Sun Sailor
Hopkins to Host City’s First-Ever Pride June 17

Sun Current
Bloomington Church Helps Stretch the Grocery Dollar

St. Peter Herald and Le Sueur News
Le Sueur PD Issues Decals Raising Awareness of Autistic Occupants

Local News

The Daily Times
A Look Inside Alcoa’s Amazon Fulfilment Warehouse, Launched Thursday

Star Democrat
Historic Federalsburg Election Brings Hope for Future

Moccasin WWII Veteran Accounted for after Eight Decades

Daily Times
County, Blount Memorial Hospital at Odds Over Present, Future

News Watchman
Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder: Tiger the Cat is Back on the Job

Rogersville Review
Demolition Reveals Lost Original 1790s Era Log Kitchen at Rogers Tavern

Owatonna People’s Press
Allina Announces Closure of Homestead Hospice House

Ranger Review
Done-Inn: Massive Fire Guts Century-old Jordan Inn Building

Anacortes American
Anacortes Mayor Critical of Proposed Ordinance

Press and News
STMA Grad, Veteran, Fargo Police Officer Killed in Shooting

Sun Current
Carr Receives Richfield’s Human Rights Award

Venice Gondolier
Jury Rules in Favor of Family in ‘Maya’ Case

Stanwood-Camano News
Rainbows and Celebration: Stanwood-Camano Holds Second Annual Pride Event

Skagit Valley Herald
Efforts Throughout Area Working Toward Restoration of Stillaguamish Chinook Habitat

Sun Post
2-Year Anniversary of Daunte Wright’s Death Marked with Balloon Release

Sun Patriot
Waconia Teachers Put Attention on Contract Negotiations

Perry Tribune
County, College Argue Property Lawsuit in Appeals Court

Logan Daily News
Local Churches Join Those that have Split from United Methodists

The Chronotype
Communities Mourning Deaths of Two Police Officers Killed in Performance of their Duties

Kent County News
Lifeguards at Betterton Save 5-Year-Old

Yadkin Ripple
Jace Allen Sentenced to 20-33 Months in Shooting Death of Norah Smitherman

City Councilman Involved in Sale of House at Center of Greek request

Dundalk Eagle
Two 18-Year-Olds Arrested after Carjacking Spree in Dundalk

The Carroll News
Toddler Found after Three-Hour Search

Sun Sailor
First-Ever Twin Cities West Metro Asian Fair to be Held in Plymouth

Sun Sailor
Gone Fishin’: Wayzata Bait & Tackle to Close after 48 Years

Judith Basin Press
A Hunt to Heal

Union Times
Princeton Officer Injured in Five-Officer Shooting: Suspect in Custody

Idaho Press
Gov. Brad Little’s Office Told State Health Department to Pull Boise Pride Sponsorships

Avery Journal
Town Celebrates Longtime Clerk Connie Guinn with Retirement Party

Skagit Valley Herald
Sedro-Woolley Shutters Meth-Contaminated Motel, Residents Given Little Warning

Emmett Messenger Index
Emmett Gets Closer Look at SH-16 Planning Process

The Leader
Hope on Wheels: Mobile Opioid Addiction Treatment Facility Comes to Tremonton

Forest Lake Times
Bus Drivers Demand Higher Pay in Filing for Strike

Sun Current
Civil Rights Complaint Filed Against Edina Schools over Student Protesters’ Suspensions

Sun Sailor
Couple Married Nearly 50 Years Met During Eden Prairie Schooner Days

Avery Journal-Times
LMC May Wildlife Rehabilitation Center Releases Red-Tailed Hawk

Watauga Democrat
A Roar in the Sky: The Jets that Fly the High Country

Newark Post
Arrest of Newark High Student Outside Graduation Ceremony Prompts Anger, Allegations of Bias

Livingston Enterprise
PFL Thriving as New CEO Takes the Reins

Sun Sailor
Critics of Regional Bike Trail Route through St. Louis Park Gain High-Profile Ally

Wyoming Tribune Eagle
The Victim has Vanished from the Case

Stanwood Camano News
Camano Fire Seeks Increase in Fire Levy

Stanwood Camano News
Snohomish PUD Continues Work on High-Voltage Line to Camano

Sun Post
Conference for Rare Moebius Syndrome Gathers in Brooklyn Park, Builds Community

St. Boni Legion Post Disbands After Nearly 80 Years

Perry County Tribune
New Lex Warned: Zoning Out Homeless Shelter Invites a Lawsuit

Logan Daily News
School District Asked to Balance Bible Classes with Atheist Teaching

The Chronotype
Parents Panicked as Pediatric Therapy Clubhouse Set to Close

Stokes News
Belews Creek Goes Nuclear in New Duke Energy Plan

Laker Pioneer
Long Lake Accuses Orono of Violating Court Order

Carbon County News
Local Dog Hit and In Need of Christmas Miracle

Kent County News
Protesters Silence Renowned Speaker at Washington College

Yadkin Ripple
A Mother’s Fight for Justice


Way Off the Grid

Faded Valentine: Not Much Left of Prairie Town

Boise Weekly
Suicide Prevention and Tattoos: Punctuate Life with a Semicolon

Southern Maryland News
Mechanicsville Resident Hikes Appalachian Trail

Idaho State Journal
East Idaho Motel Named to National Register of Historic Places After Nearly a Century of Serving Travelers

Faribault Daily News
Amplifier Business is First of Downtown Redevelopment

Morrison County Record
Pearl Harbor Never Forgotten, Always Remembered

Terry Tribune
Slithers & Squeaks: Terry Resident Raises and Breeds Pythons and Rats as a Side Hustle During Retirement

Athens Messenger
Writing Kept Romance Alive During Decaminadas’ Long-Distance Courtship

Press and News
Heading into Retirement: ‘A Sincere Thank You to All My Customers’

Laurel Outlook
“It’s Made Me the Person I am Today”

Skagit Valley Herald
Stories of Honor: Evert Bergquist

The Leader
Forever in a Moment: Tremonton’s Newest Mural an Homage to Shoshone Past, Present and Future

Forest Lake Times
Giving Up the Stigma

Sun Current
Shepherd of the Hills Welcomes First Black, Female, Gay Pastor

Sun Sailor
Legally Blind Minnetonka Chiropractor Chases Professional, Athletic Dreams

Avery Journal
Adam Church Featured Friday Evening Concert at Linville Falls Winery

Watauga Democrat
Holocaust Survivor Recalls Early Childhood, Establishing Jewish Studies Center at App State

Newark Post
Heartfelt Gratitude: Newark Teen Forms a Bond with the Stranger who Received her Late Father’s Heart

Carbon County News
WW II Vet’s Family Reflects on Sacrifice and Service

Livingston Enterprise
‘We Were as Big as Michael Jackson’

Spooner Advocate
Minong Youth Finds his ‘Space’

Union Times
4,000 Hats Made by One Man Warm Heads Around the World

Monticello Times
Fire Captain Retires after 28 Years

Bay Times and Record Observer
Three Gold Medals: At 100, Wally Dashiell Continues her Winning Ways

Circleville Herald
Local Veteran Takes Honor Flight

ABC Newspapers
‘This Will be my Legacy’

Boise Weekly
One Crop at a Time — Local Nonprofit Helps Address Food Insecurity

East Idaho Business Journal
‘PRETTY DARN BLESSED’: Former Cop Achieves Lifelong Dream of Opening Art Studio

Morrison County Record
Kurt Lucking, a Living, Walking, Talking Miracle

Terry Tribune
Liles Family Continues Generations of Tradition

Athens Messenger
Famed Folk Artist Appearing at Fur Peace Ranch

Press & News
Champlin Brothers Music Dreams Come True

Anacortes American
“Life is Precious” – Moulton Finds Greater Empathy in Cancer Battle

Rogersville Review
Artwork You Can Drive: Pressman’s Home Artists Creates Replica ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ Car

Monticello Times
The Perfect Catch: Steve and Janet Bromberg’s 59 Years Together Began on a Softball Field

Press and News
Rogers 11-Year-Old ‘Still Finds Joy in Things, Good in People’

Anacortes American
Anacortes Nonprofit Provides Direct Funding to Ukrainian Groups

Elkin Tribune
Bridge of Unity Hosts 2023 Juneteenth Celebration

Special Reports

The Herald and News
Wade in the Water: Stories of the Klamath River

Livingston Enterprise
Celebrating National Women Small Business Month

Keys News
Jimmy Buffett Dies at 76


News Watchman
Ready to Go: Tackett Embarking on Inaugural Racing Season in 305 Sprints

Spooner Advocate
RECORD BREAKER: 69th Spooner Rodeo Attendance Best Ever

Cecil Whig
Fair Hill Holds Special Significance for Maryland Five Star Competitor

Little League World Series Coverage

Dundalk Eagle
‘Proud in Victory, Humble in Defeat’: Dundalk Football Falls to Perry Hall Gators 14-7

The Carroll News
Lady Cavs Repeat as State Champs

Keys News
SCORE Magazine

Mt. Airy News
Bears Advance to 4th Round with Shutout

Athens Messenger
Tariq Cottrill Looks to Cap off Historic Career with One Last Ride at Federal Hocking

Elkin Tribune
Starmount’s Lane Relishes Special Opportunity

The Stokes News
Angel in the Outfield

Greeneville Sun
My Favorite Team

Laker Pioneer
Westonka, Waconia Bowlers Go for Pins, Wins

Mt. Airy News
Clash of the Titans

Athens Messenger
Albany to Athens: Grissett Looks to Leave Legacy at Alexander Before Becoming a Bobcat

Circleville Herald
Camden McDanel Brings Home Gold in Pan-American Championships