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Dakotafire leadership earns national recognition
Dakotafire Media Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Heidi Marttila-Losure (left) and Managing Editor Wendy Royston recently were recognized by the National Federation of Press Women for their work. Here, they are interviewed by Pioneer Public Television, for a segment on new journalism models. That segment can be viewed at

Dakotafire leadership earns national recognition

Dakotafire Media staffers were among five South Dakotans recognized in the National Federation of Press Women Communications Contest.

Published works by Dakotafire Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Heidi Marttila-Losure and Managing Editor Wendy Royston were five of 17 entries forwarded from the South Dakota Press Women contest earlier in the year, after earning first place finishes in that contest.

Wendy Royston, Managing Editor Dakotafire Media

Wendy Royston, Managing Editor
Dakotafire Media

Managing Editor Wendy Royston:

  • 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, “Well-written piece on a timely matter. It engages the reader by making an obscure legal construct important to anyone that owns private property, or enjoys public land. The writer didn’t move into (opinion/editorial) territory, as many do, but presented intelligence to allow the readers to form their own opinions. Well done.”
  • Investigative Reporting: 2nd Place, for her an August 2015 series on post office ownership. Judges wrote, “Author succinctly writes about a local problem, which is also a national problem.”
  • Environmental Reporting: 3rd 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–and an overall look at “Can we own our own energy?”. Judges wrote, “The writer demonstrates in both a depth of knowledge about energy as it relates to the environment, but was careful to seek comments from experts for quotations that spark and add weight and authority to give the stories added interest and impact. The second story about the joining together of Native American tribes in the Dakotas – not only to make money from wind farming collectively when it was impossible to do it individually, but to work together for the good of all in order to pull themselves out of deep-seated poverty and lay a foundation for other projects to continue to strengthen the tribes and give them hope for the future – was inspirational. Both stories make the case for providing clean energy, and not just from the efforts of large corporations but from local operations that will serve not only to provide energy but to keep money in the community. A win-win situation. Impressive. I wish I could give more than one second-place award. It was very close.”

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

Heidi Marttila-Losure, Publisher, Dakotafire Media

Heidi Marttila-Losure, Publisher, Dakotafire Media

  • Editorial Opinion: 1st Place, for her September/October editorial from the energy edition, entitled “Power people.” Judges wrote, “The background research was excellent and understandable, the piece was well written, and a great case was made for solving future energy needs in the same way that rural electrification was accomplished. It was a natural and compelling comparison. I also liked how the writer wove in her own personal experience using power in her own home to exemplify how important the past progress was from people working on their own when corporations wouldn’t serve their needs — and how important it could be again.”
  • Marttila-Losure’s editing of the March/April and May/June editions of Dakotafire magazine also was advanced to the national competition. Her work did not place in that division, though judges wrote, “Both issues contain strong editing and headlines. The page design is well-done and the graphics and artwork enhance the layouts.”

NFPW is a nationwide organization of women and men pursuing careers across the communications spectrum, including print and electronic journalism, freelancing, new media, books, public relations, marketing, graphic design, photography, advertising, radio and television.

A total of 349 entrants from across the country received awards for excellence in communications. A distinguished group of professional journalists, communications specialists and educators judged 540 entries in a wide variety of categories. Only first-place winning entries at the state affiliate level are eligible to enter the national contest. SDPW members submitted a total of 18 entries into the contest, with eight earning awards at the national level. All entries were published or broadcast between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2015.

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