The annual contest compares work of similar-sized newspaper across the state.

The Hannibal Courier-Post on Thursday was awarded one of the top honors at the first statewide newspaper contest of the year. The Courier-Post was one of five newspapers of varying sizes across the state to earn the General Excellence award at the Missouri Associated Press Media Editors contest. The results were revealed at the conclusion of the Missouri Press Association Day at the Capitol event. The annual contest compares work of similar-sized newspaper across the state.

The Courier-Post, in addition to winning General Excellence, took home five first place awards, three second places and six third places. The newspaper took home more awards than any other paper in its division. This is the second year in a row the Courier-Post was honored with the General Excellence Award.

Among its awards, the newspaper’s website, www.hannibal.net was named best website. In August, the website was relaunched with an emphasis on responsive design and clear, consistent navigation.

The Courier-Post swept the public interest/investigative or in-depth reporting category.

In this category, veteran reporter Danny Henley took first place with a series on Hannibal’s dilapidated, and often unsafe, houses.

Reporter Trevor McDonald took second place with a four-part series exploring the heroin epidemic in Hannibal.

Henley and managing editor Eric Dundon shared the third place award for an investigative piece published in August 2016 examining the attendance rates of Hannibal City Council members.

“Of all the awards we received Thursday, I’m most proud that we swept the in-depth reporting category. I hope this shows that we aren’t just covering the easy stories. We’re telling stories that are important, and are often difficult to report on and tell,” Dundon said.

Dundon won two other writing awards: a second place in the feature writing category for the profile of a Monroe City family whose newborn was battling a rare genetic disease and a third place in the opinion writing category for an April editorial praising Rep. Jim Hansen (R-Frankford) for casting a courageous vote against a controversial House Bill — a vote that might have stirred negative reaction with some of his constituency.

Sports editor Kevin Graeler won third place in the sports feature writing category for his profile of a family with the love of baseball running through their veins.

Dundon and longtime reporter Beverly Darr shared a first place award in spot news for timely and thorough coverage of a fatal fire at a building on Broadway.

In the visual categories, the Courier-Post took home six awards.

Dundon won first place in the feature photo category. While attending a fall sports pep assembly in September at Hannibal Middle School, Dundon snapped a photo of an HMS teacher lunging playfully toward a student who had just pied him in the face.

Henley’s photo of a man walking sullenly by firefighters as they try to contain fire at his home on Division St. took third place in the spot news category.

Photos from the Antioch Baptist Church fire in December taken by Dundon and photos from the Bear Creek Rendezvous in August taken by freelance photographer Kelly Goodhart won third and second place in the photo story category, respectively.

Lastly, a graphic depicting the 30-year shift in voting patterns in Marion County by Dundon and graphic artist Janet Blair took third in the graphics category, while Dundon’s explanatory graphic on a police-involved shooting in downtown Hannibal in which the officer involved did not face charges earned first place.

“The awards earned reflect the quality of the content produced by staff of the Courier-Post. We live here. We are invested here. We will continue to strive to be the newspaper of record for the Hannibal area,” Dundon concluded.

The Courier-Post competed against other newspapers from Warrensburg, Monett, Waynesville, Park Hills, Sedalia, the Lake of the Ozarks, Brookfield and others.