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Great Bend Tribune wins 16 Awards of Excellence at 2024 Kansas Press Association convention

The Great Bend Tribune is thrilled to announce that its dedicated staff has been recognized with an impressive total of 16 awards in the prestigious Kansas Press Association 2024 Awards of Excellence contest, Publisher Judy Duryee announced.

The contest includes content from Jan. 1, 2023, through Dec. 31, 2023.

The awards, spanning various categories, are a testament to the talent, dedication, and hard work of each member of the Tribune team. From investigative reporting to feature writing, photography to design, the Tribune staff consistently demonstrates a commitment to journalistic excellence and community service.

The awards will be presented Saturday evening at the KPA’s 2024 Convention and Awards of Excellence at the Oread Hotel in Lawrence.

“I am immensely proud of our team and their outstanding achievements in the Kansas Press Association Awards of Excellence contest,” said Duryee. “Each member of our staff plays a vital role in producing our award-winning newspaper, and these awards are a reflection of their talent, professionalism, and passion for journalism.”

The first-place awards earned by the Great Bend Tribune staff are:

• Best investigative story, by Mike Gilmore and Andrew Murphy, for a story about the Kansas Bureau of Investigation investigating a former Central Kansas Community Corrections employee (

• Best youth story, by Susan Thacker, for “Youth Crew: Posse with a Purpose” (

• Best sports story, by Jim Misunas, for “Thunder spoils Cardinals’ title hopes” ( A judge commented, “The writer calls attention to not only the snow-covered scene of the game, but the lede gives the reader a good visual of how the environment took its toll on the players, investing the reader in the game highlights to come.”

• Best story/photo combination, by Susan Thacker and Hugo Gonzalez, for “Vintage Wheels,” a story about Milton Raymer and his daughter Cindy restoring his 1938 Buick (

• Best environmental portrait, for Hugo Gonzalez’s photos for the Youth Crew story.

• Best Online Ad with motion, for the Letters to Santa online banners created by Hugo Gonzalez. Judges called the banners “fun and engaging.”

The Tribune also placed second in these categories:

• Agricultural story - for “Continued tradition,” Andrew Murphy’s story about Kids Ag Day.

• Sports photo, for Hugo Gonzalez’s photo of a player stretching for the score when the GBHS Panthers shut out Dodge City 28-0.

• Best Use of Photos, for “Thunder spoils Cardinals’ title hopes - Thank You Hoisington Cardinals!”

• Best Online Photo Series/Gallery, again for “Thank you Hoisington Cardinals!” by Hugo Gonzalez.

• Feature package, for the Breast Cancer special section by Mike Gilmore, Andrew Murphy and Hugo Gonzalez.

The Tribune’s third-place winners were:

• Seniors story, “Vintage Wheels,” by Susan Thacker.

• Sports story, “Mustang Mania,” by James Misunas.

• Special section - editorial, by Hugo Gonzalez, Josh Keller and Janes Misunas.

• Best agricultural ad, for Barton County Conservation, by Tammy Mason and Katie Joyner.

• Best house ad, for “Stay Connected,” highlighting the features and benefits of a Great Bend Tribune subscription, by Judy Duryee and Katie Joyner.

“These awards are a testament to our team’s unwavering commitment to serving our community with integrity, accuracy, and dedication,” Duryee said. “I am honored to work alongside such a talented group of individuals, and I extend my heartfelt congratulations to each and every member of the Great Bend Tribune family.”

The Great Bend Tribune remains dedicated to delivering high-quality journalism that informs, inspires, and enriches the lives of its readers. As the leading source of news and information in the Great Bend area, the Tribune is committed to upholding the highest standards of journalistic excellence and serving as a trusted voice for the community.

For more information about the Great Bend Tribune and to stay updated on the latest news and events, visit and follow us on Facebook.

Tribune employees recognized for years in newspaper industry

This year, the Kansas Press Association asked news people how long they have been in the business. Those celebrating 20, 30 or 40+ years in the industry were invited share their information.

Longtime Great Bend Tribune employees include:

• Sports Editor Jim Misunas, 50 years. He started in 1974, counting two years at NJCAA Rock Valley, Ill., and two years at Southern Illinois-Carbondale. His first professional job was at the Hastings Tribune in 1978. He also worked at several Kansas newspapers, and has been at the Great Bend Tribune since 2011.

• Karma Byers, 49 years. The former production foreman (press and graphic design) started at the Tribune on June 1, 1974. Although she retired in 2023, she’s still working part-time at the Tribune.

• Susan Thacker, 41 years. The news editor started at the Larned Tiller and Toiler in 1983. She has worked at the Hutchinson News, Muskogee (Okla.) Daily Phoenix and Lawton (Okla.) Constitution, but the bulk of her career has been at the Tribune.

• Mike Gilmore, 40 years. The Tribune’s area reporter started at the Larned Tiller and Toiler in 1984, went to the Tribune in 1986, and had his own paper in Kinsley until 1995. Gilmore did “stringing” periodically for several Kansas papers until May 2010, returned to Tiller & Toiler until 2019, and has been back at the Tribune since August 2021.

• Marketing Consultant Tammy Mason, 30 years. She started at the Tribune in August 1994.

• Linda Pringle, 26+ years. The Tribune typesetter has worked in classified ads, legals and the composing department. She first came to work here in the early ’80s (or late n’70s).

• Judy Duryee, 26 years. The publisher at the Great Bend Tribune started her career in the circulation department, though over the years she transitioned into roles within sales and marketing. After taking a 15-year hiatus from the newspaper industry, she returned as the publisher in 2021.