Hocak Worak wins multiple awards at 2017 Better Newspaper Contest

By Tim Wohlers

The Hocak Worak received three awards from the Wisconsin Newspaper Association last month, in recognition of the high-quality journalism it has produced since late 2016. 
Staff members accepted the awards on Apr. 13, at an awards banquet in Madison. 
“Each award is meaningful considering the longevity of the Wisconsin Newspaper Association,” said Editor Marlon WhiteEagle.  “The association has been around since 1853, and to be recognized by them is quite an honor.” 
Reporter Ken Luchterhand won first place in the category of Investigate Reporting, for a 2017 article he wrote about the conviction status of Ho-Chunk Nation President Wilfrid Cleveland. 
WhiteEagle said he is proud of the veteran reporter, considering all the obstacles he faced in covering the story. 
“It’s nice to see Ken excel in the realm of investigative reporting within a tribal government structure that is so protective of information,” WhiteEagle said.  “We have a great asset with Ken’s ability to tackle news stories like this one.” 
Reporter Tim Wohlers won second place in the category of Reporting on Local Education for articles he wrote about the Ho-Chunk Nation’s financial-literacy program, the Head Start graduations and the 2017 summer interns. 
“I thought this award for local education did a great job of spotlighting our educational efforts,” WhiteEagle said.  “The nation invents a lot in our educational funding, so it’s nice to see our local education stories being recognized by our journalism peers within the state.” 
The Worak won third place in the category of Best Front Page as well. 
The editor said the front page is something he looks forward to with every issue, and that the award symbolizes the state’s increasing attention to tribal media. 
“It’s always fun to work the front page with newsy stories and telling photographs,” WhiteEagle said.  “But placing in the top three was more of a statement for tribal news media, as we are currently the only tribal newspaper as members of the WNA.” 
April’s event would mark three years since the Hocak Worak joined the Wisconsin Newspaper Association, and the second time it has competed in its Better Newspaper Contest. 
WhiteEagle said he hopes to receive recognition from another association as well. 
The paper has been a member of the Native American Journalists Association for over 25 years, and is currently under consideration for 12 National Native Media Awards.