JustMelanieW.com wins Nebraska Press Women’s Association award

LEXINGTON – The news and editorial website of JustMelanieW.com, owned and operated by Melanie Wilkinson of York, received a statewide first place award for best personal/privately owned/operated website during the spring conference of the Nebraska Press Women’s Association held April 20 in Lexington.

JustMelanieW.com launched 10 months ago, providing features, daily editorials/opinion pieces, local coverage of governmental activities, school activities, crime, courts and more, as well as photo galleries from local photographers. As the 10-month anniversary has arrived, the site has reached the milestone of having 500,000 page views from 96,000 total users (over the course of its existence) with 1.6 million ad impressions.

The website is free to users (readers) with local advertisers financially supporting the media source through their banner ad offerings.

According to the Nebraska Press Women’s Association, the theme of this year’s spring conference was Keeping Community in Community Journalism. “Speakers addressed some of the creative ways individuals and news groups are working to keep the state’s smaller communities from becoming news ‘deserts;’ as operating costs and staffing issues shrink the number of weeklies and size of the state’s daily newspapers, coverage of school boards, city councils and county commissioner meetings have suffered.”

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Wilkinson was one of the featured speakers during this year’s conference, talking about the start-up and operation of JustMelanieW.com. She discussed the creation process of the website, working with local website designer, Eric Eckert of York, who is also a regular contributor to the site. Other local contributors include Steve Moseley, Marcia Schlegelmilch, Greg Awtry and Bob DeHart. During her presentation, Wilkinson explained the various features, the coverage of local events, working with local government officials and the workflow of operating an all-digital news/opinion media source.

The conference also included featured speakers from the Flatwater Free Press, as they talked about the need for community coverage as well as their processes/dedication to deep, investigative reporting while operating as a non-profit, statewide news service.

All first-place award winners from the NPWA Professional Communications Contest were then advanced by the Nebraska Press Women’s Association for further award consideration by the National Federation of Press Women. JustMelanieW.com, as a first-place winner, is being considered for that national award, with the official announcement of the national awards expected to be made soon. The national winners will be honored during the National Federation’s conference in June, in St. Louis, Missouri.

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