LIVE OAK — Tasked with designing eye-catching pages, Aimee Buckner’s work in 2017 caught the attention of CNHI’s judges.

Aimee Buckner

Aimee Buckner

Buckner, a page designer for the Suwannee Democrat, Jasper News and Mayo Free Press, was named the Designer of the Year in the annual Best of CNHI contest for Division III. CNHI, a subsidiary of Raycom Media, is the parent company of the North Florida papers.

Buckner’s winning entries included a front page following the inaugural Party in the Pines at Bienville Plantation in White Springs as well as three sports pages from Democrat editions.

One of the sports fronts kicked off the paper’s look back at the Suwannee Bulldogs’ four straight state championships from 1987-90. Another featured prominently the Lafayette-Branford rivalry and battle for “The Helmet.”

“We’re fortunate to have a talented graphic artist like Aimee on our team,” group editor Jamie Wachter said. “It’s great to see others take notice of the work she does in presenting our stories in an appealing way.”

In addition to the individual honor for Buckner, the Democrat, News and Free Press also won for Innovation in Digital Storytelling for its North Florida’s 2017 High School Football Road Map. The interactive story map took readers on a week-by-week preview of the prep football season, featuring the top games of the season for the Suwannee Bulldogs, Branford Buccaneers, Hamilton County Trojans and Lafayette Hornets.

“It was a fun little way to help get our digital readers, as well as ourselves, ready for the football season,” Wachter said.

The judging panel included eight CNHI editors and news executives, handing out Newspaper of the Year, Magazine of the Year, Public Service Awards and honors in seven individual categories as well as digital work for breaking news, social media and video.

Complete list of winners

Newspaper of the Year

Division I: Herald Bulletin, Anderson, Ind.

Division II: The Meridian (Miss.) Star

Division III: The Knoxville (Iowa) Journal-Express

Public Service Award

Division I: The Record-Eagle, Traverse City, Mich.

Division II: Goshen (Ind.) News

Division III: The Knoxville (Iowa) Journal-Express and The Pella (Iowa) Chronicle

Magazine of the Year

Division I: West Virginia South, Beckley (W.Va.) Register-Herald

Division II: Cape Ann, Gloucester (Mass.) Daily Times

Division III: Boomer, Washington (Ind.) Times Herald

Reporter of the Year

Division I: Wendy Holdren, Beckley, W. Va., Register Herald

Division II: Whitney Downard, The Meridian, Miss., Star

Division II: no winner

Designer of the Year

Division I: Zack Hartsog, Beckley, W. Va., Register-Herald

Division II: Kevin Burkett, Logansport, Ind., Pharos-Tribune

Division III: Aimee Buckner, Live Oak, Fla., Suwannee Democrat

Photographer of the Year

Division I: John Cleary, Anderson, Ind., Herald Bulletin

Division II: Paula Merritt, The Meridian, Miss., Star

Division III: April Barbe, The Jacksonville Daily Progress

Sports writer of the Year

Division I: Tyler Palmateer, The Norman, Okla., Transcript

Division II: Jacob Hoag, The Dalton, Ga., Citizen News

Division III: Patrick Hayslip, The Gainesville, Tex., Register

Editorial writer of the Year

Division I: Kathy Vos, Mankato, Minn., Free Press

Division II: Jeff Gerritt, Palestine, Tex., Herald Press

Division III: Kim Poindexter, Tahlequah, Okla., Daily Press

Columnist of the Year

Division I: Chip Minemyer, Johnstown, Pa., Tribune Democrat.

Division II: Susan Duncan, Jeffersonville, Ind., News and Tribune

Division III: Pat Finan, Knoxville, Iowa, Journal-Express

Breaking News Digital

Division I: Joplin, Mo., Globe, and the North Andover, Mass., Eagle-Tribune

Division II: the Meridian, Miss., Star

Division III: No winner

Innovation in Digital Storytelling

Division I: North Andover, Mass., Eagle Tribune

Division II: The Meridian, Miss., Star

Division III: Live Oak, Fla., Suwannee Democrat

Best Use of Social Media

Division I: Sunbury, Pa., Daily Item

Division II: Jeffersonville, Ind., News and Tribune

Division III: Tahlequah, Okla., Daily Press

Best Video

Division I: Hadley Green, Salem, Mass., News

Division II: Matt Hamilton, Dalton, Ga., Citizen

Division III: Kristi Sanders, Washington, Ind., Times Herald

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