We are the best weekly newspaper of our size in the state. That’s not just our opinion — we have the Gold Cup to prove it.

The Missourian won a record 51 awards Saturday in the Missouri Press Association’s 2021 Better Newspaper Contest, including the coveted Gold Cup, which is awarded to newspapers that amass the most points for entries judged in their divisions.

The annual Better Newspaper Contest allows member journalists, photojournalists, columnists, page designers and online editors to show off their best work. Each year, a different state press association reviews thousands of entries submitted by Missouri newspapers and news organizations and picks the best of the competition. The contest inspires all journalists to produce better work, which in turn nurtures our profession and builds stronger communities.

Our newspaper, which competed against the state’s other large weeklies, won 10 first-place awards, including Best Sports Pages, Best Editorial Pages, Best News Photography, Best Breaking News and Best Newspaper Website, to name just a few.

It has been nine years since we brought home the Gold Cup. We’ve said before that we don’t publish The Missourian to win awards, but this honor is truly special. It is recognition from our peers that we are doing things right.

Producing a great community newspaper requires a team effort even in the best of years. And this was no ordinary year. These awards and the Gold Cup are a testament to the talent and dedication of our staff, as well as our teamwork throughout a year that drastically shifted our industry like it did so many others.

We are proud, extremely proud, of everyone on our team who made this award possible — and when we say everyone, we mean it. This was a team effort, from the front office to our newsroom, sales department, design team, accounting and administrative staff, pressroom, circulation department and mailroom.

We have the best newspaper staff in the state. They have stuck by us through good times and bad, and for that we are grateful. Quality journalism is at the heart of our mission, and that heart is beating stronger than ever because of them.

We couldn’t be more proud. Congratulations!