Observer Correspondents Earn State Recognition
April 13, 2023
LOCKPORT—Longtime correspondents for The Observer, Lynne Conner and Pat Szpekowski, earned awards for their writing in the 2023 Illinois Woman's Press Association (IWPA) Mate E. Palmer Professional Communications Contest. 
Conner received five awards including a first place for her article written for The Observer, "Priests 'Praise the Lord' Before Cubs 'Play Ball!'.” 
This entry will move on to the next tier of national competition at the National Federation of Press Women’s Professional Communications Contest.  National results will be announced on June 24 during the Saturday night banquet at the NFPW conference in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Conner’s other awards included  a second place for an article written for the Northwest Quarterly, titled “Success Stories: Grungy Root;” an  honorable mention for “Damage Control in the First Few Weeks of a Job Loss,” written for the online publication Wealth of Geeks; an honorable mention for “ScreenTime vs. Traditional Play: Keeping Kids Balanced,” also written for Wealth of Geeks; and an honorable mention for “Friendship Foreshadowed Fathers’ Faith and Vocations,” written for The Observer.
Szpekowski’s awards included a second place for “Transforming O’Hare,” written for Air Chicago Magazine; a second place for “Ottawa — Pick Your Own Adventure this Season,” written for Writing –Northwest Quarterly; a third place for “Christkindlmarket: The German Tradition Comes to Aurora,” written for the Northwest Quarterly; a third place for “Bishop David J. Malloy — Rockford Diocese Marks a Decade of Change” written for Northwest Quarterly; an honorable mention for “On the Move: Guler Appliance Outgrows Its Midtown Home” written for the Northwest Quarterly; and an honorable mention for “Anniversary Quilt Created with Love” written for The Observer.
The 2023 IWPA awards will be presented at a luncheon at the Public Landing Restaurant in Lockport on May 27.
The IWPA contest is named for Mate E. Palmer, the ninth IWPA president, who served from 1907 to 1909. Upon her death in 1939, the IWPA established a writing contest in her memory. 
Celebrating 138 years in 2023, IWPA continues to hold a firm place in the history of women communicators in Illinois. It is dedicated to professional excellence and the highest ethical standards in the communications field, and to the rights and responsibilities of the First Amendment.
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