DAVENPORT, Iowa (April 28, 2021) — Kevin Mowbray, president and chief executive officer of Lee Enterprises, Incorporated (Nasdaq: LEE), announced today the winners of the 2020 Lee President’s Awards for innovation in digital audience growth along with winners of the company’s newest President’s Award: Excellence in Video.

“The innovative work shown in these entries is a primary driver of our company’s digital transformation. The quality and execution of these initiatives is truly inspiring,” Mowbray said. “When faced with unprecedented changes and challenges, these winners responded with creative solutions and great commitment to success.”

To view a video of all winners of this year’s awards, please CLICK HERE.


The award for innovation in digital audience recognizes an individual or team for creating or significantly advancing an idea that strengthens digital audience. Receiving awards are:

  • Lee’s Content Marketing Team for its focus on strategies to drive engagement using digital marketing campaigns to grow and retain digital subscribers by promoting strong local journalism. At some point during 2020, the team touched or promoted content for every Lee market, including Kenosha, where its efforts during the coverage of the Jacob Blake shooting helped drive 20 million page views in two weeks, gain more than 200 digital subscriptions, and about 5,000 Facebook followers.

    Primary Contributors: Noelle Dahnk,  Meredith Fairey, Chris Juzwik and Bob Heisse ofthe Kenosha News
  • The Quad-City Times for the development and launch of the “Quad-City Times Virtual Graduation” website, a platform created to help celebrate the upcoming commencements of the 2020 graduating class largely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. With it, members of the community could submit high school graduate profiles, bios, and video messages of congratulations shared across the region. The website received more than 82,000 page views, more than 450 submitted graduate profiles, participation from 30 area high schools, and nearly $29,000 in sponsorship revenue.

    Primary Contributors: Carson Bodnarek, Matt Christensen, Anastasia Sperling, Christine Masters, Joe Engel, Todd Mizener, Matt Coss and Debbie Anselm
  • The St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Feast Magazine for its integration of new platforms to build live, interactive virtual events to keep readers connected with our products and personalities, to each other, to their community and to advertisers. These events have attracted more than 10,000 participants and generated more than $120,000 in revenue.

    Primary Contributors: Joe Holleman, Lauren Anderson Koelker, Courtney Kincade, Catherine  Neville and Lily Stewart
  • The Times Media Company for its aggressive move to leverage a significant Facebook follower audience and create more video content. With the help of vendor partners, The Times produced exceptional video content in 2020 across many different categories and produced incremental revenue of $340,000 and more than 350,000 views. The Times developed a micro-site to showcase this content.

    Primary Contributors: Chris White, Thomas Schager, Roxanne Olejnik and Eric Horon

Judges for the Excellence in News category were: David Beard, an editorial consultant and strategist who has worked with National Geographic, the Center for Public Integrity, the Pulitzer Prizes and the AP; Dr. Richard Cole, John Kerr Distinguished Professor and Dean Emeritus, Hussman School of Journalism and Media, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Noreen Gillespie, Deputy Managing Editor for U.S. News at The Associated Press; veteran journalist Richard Green, and Lee Board Chairman Mary Junck.


 The award for excellence in video recognizes outstanding achievement in video presentation. Receiving awards are:

  •  The Globe Gazette for its video explaining the Iowa Caucuses. When brainstorming ways to educate the public on how the Iowa Caucuses work, they were seeking alternatives to text. So, the digital editor decided to write a song that was performed by members of the newsroom and recorded to video. Form the nominator; “I'm nominating it for its innovation -- and honestly, the bravery of those who undertook doing it. Singing is not our daytime job and never will be.”

    Primary contributors include:: Newsroom staff

  • The Richmond Times-Dispatch for its compilation, month by month, of key video segments from 2020 in an effort to capture a year like no other in history. The videos captured and compiled countless news events from the spring outbreaks of COVID-19 that prompted state and local officials to declare states of emergency, to the marches, rallies and destruction throughout 2020 in Richmond.

    Primary contributors include: Richmond Times-Dispatch Photo Department

  • The Eagle in Bryan and College Station, Texas, for a video of a peaceful protests by Texas A&M student athletes. Amid protests across the country, Eagle reporter Travis L. Brown captured the video live as students marched to the statue of Lawrence Sullivan Ross, a former Texas governor and president of Texas A&M University — as well as a Confederate States Army general — and demand its removal.

    Primary contributors include: Travis L. Brown

  • The Tulsa World for the video story telling of photographer, videographer and writer Mike Simons.  
    "Mike has taken the lead in not only being the eyes of Tulsa but also someone who gets the story - not just the photos or the video," said Jason Collington, editor of the Tulsa World. "Story hunters like Mike Simons are relentless. And Tulsa is better for it."

    Primary contributors include: Mike Simons
  • The Times of Northwest Indiana for its "Riding Shotgun with NWI Cops" video series. Each video highlights the human faces and real-life action of police officers from the many departments of Northwest Indiana. The monthly program introduces readers to a new layer of understanding in one of area’s most popular topical areas while also helping build source relationships between reporters and actual police officers in the rank and file.

    Primary contributors include: Anna Ortiz, Kale Wilk, Mary Freda, Nat Cardona and Marc Chase. 
  • The Arizona Daily Star for #ThisIsTucson’s six-video series, “Thrive.” The series found Tucson businesses that were somehow cultivating a thriving community despite the challenges they faced. Over the course of six mini-documentaries, business owners were given a platform to tell their stories. The Star partnered with an ad agency for production and editing while they found the stories, wrote the script, did the interviews and host the videos. The entire series is sponsored by a local bank.

    Primary contributors include: Irene McKisson, Becky Pallack, and Johanna Willett

  • Sioux City Journal Communications for Celebrating Nurses. With much of the world sheltering in place, doing a traditional Nurses Award event was next to impossible, yet company had already sold out the sponsorship opportunities. Rather than a more traditional, virtual, event, Celebrating Nurses became a “made-for-TV” awards show. Emceed by Editor Bruce Miller, sponsors embraced the idea and all sponsorship revenue was saved. The show drew a larger crowd than the past live events and the winners were thrilled.

    Primary contributors include: Chad Pauling, Bruce Miller, Nikki Ahlquist, Tracy Simmons and Jesse Brothers

Judges for the video category were: Major Garrett, CBS News’ chief Washington correspondent; Sara Gillesby, Associated Press News Director for the Eastern United States; Mary Junck, Lee Board Chairman; and Jenni Pinkley, supervising senior video producer for the Star Tribune in Minneapolis. 


Lee Enterprises is a leading provider of local news and information, and a major platform for advertising, with daily newspapers, rapidly growing digital products and over 350 weekly and specialty publications serving 77 markets in 26 states. Year to date, Lee's newspapers have average daily circulation of 1.2 million, and our legacy websites, including acquisitions, reach more than 55 million digital unique visitors. Lee's markets include St. Louis, MO; Buffalo, NY; Omaha, NE; Richmond, VA; Lincoln, NE; Madison, WI; Davenport, IA; and Tucson, AZ. Lee Common Stock is traded with Nasdaq under the symbol LEE. For more information about Lee, please visit www.lee.net.


Charles Arms

Communications Manager


(563) 383-2100