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About Us

What we do

The Oakland Independent -- the reigning Illinois Press Association Newspaper of the Year among all nondailies in the state -- is an independently owned weekly newspaper covering the Oakland-Hindsboro community in rural Illinois. We provide important local news, as well as fun and quirky material that readers won't find anywhere else.

 

Each issue is fun, unique and informative. It is enjoyed by people who live here, people who once lived here but have moved away, and even people who have never lived here but appreciate small-town news.

Who we are

I (Janice Hunt) purchased my hometown newspaper (then called Country Crossroads) in June 2013, and soon renamed it the Oakland Independent. I handle all roles: publisher, editor, reporter, photographer, sports editor, page designer, business manager, advertising manager, ad designer and circulation manager, among others. Two volunteer stringers help gather sports results, and my mom is an invaluable copy editor who helps with mailing out the newspaper each week.

Awards we have won

2023

National Newspaper Association

• First place: Best Reader-Generated Campaign

• Second place: Best Serious Column

• Honorable Mention: Community Service

Illinois Press Association

** First place, Sweepstakes Award for small nondailies (based on overall points) ** 

• First place: Freedom of Information Award

• First place: Business/Economic Reporting

• First place: Photo Series

• First place: General News Photo

• First place: Obituary Tribute

• First place: Personality Portrait

• First place: Informational Graphic

• First place: Community Service

• Second place: Robert M. Cole Award for Best School Board Coverage (competing against all nondaily newspapers of any size)

• Second place: General Excellence

• Second place: Freedom of Information Award

• Second place: Original Column

• Second place: Feature Writing – Personality Profile

• Second place: Photo Series

• Second place: General News Photo

• Second place: Feature Photo

• Second place: News Reporting – Single Story

• Second place: Informational Graphic

• Third place: News Reporting – Single Story

• Third place: Government Beat Reporting

• Third place: Headline Writing

• Third place: Informational Graphic

• Fourth place: News Reporting – Series

2022

National Newspaper Association

First place: Best Profile Feature Story

Second place: Best Sports Feature Story or Series

Third place: Best Feature Photo

Honorable Mention: Best Feature Photo

Illinois Press Association

** Second place, Sweepstakes Award for small nondailies (based on overall points) ** 

• First place: Robert M. Cole Award for Best School Board Coverage

• First place: Feature Writing (Personality Profile)

• First place: Feature Photo

• First place: Personality Portrait

• Second place: Feature Photo

• Second place: Personality Portrait

• Second place: Headline Writing

• Third place: Photo Series

• Third place: General News Photo

• Fourth place: Photo Series

• Fourth place: Business/Economic Reporting

• Fourth place: Feature Writing

2021

National Newspaper Association

• Second place: Best Agricultural Story

Illinois Press Association

** First place, Sweepstakes Award for small nondailies (based on overall points) ** 

• First place: Localized National Story

• First place: Portrait/Personality Photo

• First place: Community Service

• First place: Headline Writing

• Second place: Community Service

• Second place: Photo Series

• Second place: Sports Section

• Third place: News Reporting

• Third place: Feature Writing – Personality Profile

• Third place: COVID-19 Sports Coverage

• Third place: Spot News Photo

• Fourth place: Portrait/Personality Photo

• Fourth place: Obituary Tribute

2020

National Newspaper Association

• Honorable mention: Best Serious Column

Illinois Press Association

** Second place, Sweepstakes Award for small nondailies (based on overall points) ** 

• First place: Business/Economic Reporting

• First place: Portrait/Personality Photo

• Second place: Feature Writing – Personality Profile

• Second place: Sports Column

• Third place: News Reporting – Single Story

• Third place: General News Photo

• Third place: Headline Writing

• Third place: Community Service

• Fourth place: Best School Board Coverage

• Fourth place: Sports News

• Fourth place: Community Service

2019

National Newspaper Association

• First place: Best Review

• First place: Feature Writing

• Second place: Best Feature Story

• Honorable mention: Best Serious Column

• Honorable mention: Best Public Notice Journalism

Illinois Press Association

** Fourth place, Sweepstakes Award for small nondailies (based on overall points) ** 

• First place: Feature Writing

• First place: Public Notice Journalism Award

• First place: Best Review

• First place: Headline Writing

• Second place: Best School Board Coverage

• Second place: Sports News

• Second place: General News Photo

• Fourth place: Sports Photo

• Fourth place: Overall Sweepstakes Award

Southern Illinois Editorial Association

• Second place: Best Education Story

• Second place: Best Feature Story

• Second place: Charlie Feirich Original Column Competition

• Honorable mention: Best News Photo

2018

 

National Newspaper Association

• Second place: Best Business Story

• Third place: Best Feature Photo

• Honorable mention: Best Serious Column

 

Illinois Press Association

• First place: News Reporting -- Single Story

• First place: Sports News

• Second place: Best Promotion of Public's Right to Know

• Honorable mention: General News Photo

• Honorable mention: Most Innovative Project

 

Southern Illinois Editorial Association

• First place: Charlie Feirich Original Column Competition

• Third place: Best Feature Story

• Third place: Best Sports Photo

2017

 

National Newspaper Association

• First place: Best Business Feature Story

• Honorable mention: Best Sports Photo

 

Illinois Press Association

• First place: Original Column

• First place: Sports Photo

• First place: Community Service

• Second place: Sports Feature

 

Southern Illinois Editorial Association

• First place: Polly Robinson Feature Story Competition

• First place: Charlie Feirich Original Column Competition

• Second place: Best Feature Story

• Second place: Best Use of Photography

• Third place: Best Feature Story

2016

Illinois Press Association

• First place: Headline Writing

• First place: Feature Photo

• First place: General News Photo

• First place: Spot News Photo

• Third place: Government Beat Reporting

• Third place: Community Service

• Honorable mention: Feature Writing

2015

 

Illinois Press Association

• First place: Best School Board Coverage
• First place: Photo Series
• First place: Community Service
• First place: Most Innovative Project

• Second place: Best Coverage of Taxation
• Second place: Feature Photo

• Second place: Headline Writing

• Third place: Most Innovative Project


 

2014

 

Illinois Press Association

• Third place: General Excellence

• Honorable mention: Newspaper Design

• Honorable mention: Headline Writing

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