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Dakotafire staffers among recognized Press Women
Dakotafire Media Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Heidi Marttila-Losure and Managing Editor Wendy Royston were among those recognized in the South Dakota Press Women's annual contests last month. Several pieces of work have advanced to the national level for further judging. Royston, who has served as vice president of membership for the organization for several years now also will serve as vice president of contests.

Dakotafire staffers among recognized Press Women

Staff of Dakotafire Media were recognized for their work at the South Dakota Press Women convention in Deadwood last month.

Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Heidi Marttila-Losure:

  • Heidi Marttila-Losure

    Heidi Marttila-Losure
    Publisher & Editor-in-Chief, Dakotafire Media

    Publications Regularly Edited by Entrant: 1st “Clean and appealing design, feels very professional without being too ‘slick,’” the judge wrote.

  • Editorial Opinion: 1st Place, for her September/October editorial from the energy edition, entitled “Power people.” The judge wrote, “This is an interesting historical piece that tells a story that for many is new, despite the fact that this happened many decades ago. The author uses clear, concise writing to help make the story an easy read. A good effort.”

Managing Editor Wendy Royston:

Wendy Royston

Wendy Royston
Managing Editor, Dakotafire Media

  • Specialty Articles—Green/Environmental: 1st Place, for “Lakota look to energy source that honors Mother Earth,” featuring the work of the Renewable Energy Development Authority to harness the power of tate topa–“four winds”– to energize the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, using wind turbines. “This is a fascinating story about a key issue for South Dakota,” the judge wrote. “This story has a lot going for it, including: an interesting lead-in and good, solid nut graph; the fact that the piece exhibits good sourcing that lends credibility to its message; a good, clear lead; interesting facts/sources that pepper the copy and lend credibility; a good quote to end the story. This is a strong effort that takes a fairly complex issue and explains it well for readers.”
  • Investigative Reporting: 1st Place, for her an August 2015 series on post office ownership. “Fascinating look at an issue most never think about, but has impact on every taxpayer,” the judge wrote. “Great usage of (Freedom of Information Act) data. Well-written and thorough.”
  • News Story: 1st Place, for her reporting in the September/October edition on energy, highlighting concerns regarding decades-old eminent domain laws in South Dakota. Judges wrote, “A good clear explanation of eminent domain, especially as it relates to the issues of South Dakota. An informative piece.”
  • Feature Story: 3rd Place, for “What’s possible: See other generations differently,” a story exemplifying work in the Alabama Black Belt, unifying generations, but pointing out their similarities in fighting racial segregation, as compared to advancing the area economically. The judge wrote, “Appreciated the author’s note at the end, but question relevance to Dakota readers. Needed a stronger tie back to the Midwest.”

All first-place pieces are advanced to the National Federation of Press Women contest.

Royston, who has served as the organization’s vice president of membership for the past several years, now also will serve as the organization’s vice president of contests.

South Dakota Press Women is a group for all South Dakota media members—men and women. The basic mission is to provide networking and professional development opportunities for writers, broadcasters, bloggers, reporters, photographers, speechwriters, public speakers, advertising professionals and anyone else who has an interest in communication. Contact Royston at for more information. Find the group on Facebook at SD Press Women.


About Wendy Royston

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