Beth Sherard-Fennel

2020 Outstanding Young Journalist Beth Sherard-Fennel

Readers of the Times have come to know Beth Sherard-Fennel as she covers local government and school events. They rely on her thoughtful, accurate reporting, attention to detail and ability to tell a compelling story.

Now Sherard-Fennel has been recognized by a much wider audience, as she has been chosen Outstanding Young Journalist for South Dakota Weekly newspapers.

She was nominated by Times Publisher Bruce Odson and his wife, Susan. In their nominating letter they wrote:

“Imagine our surprise back in 2014 when a woman stopped into our office, said she was moving to town and was looking for a job. Hmmmm… young, personable, with degrees from the University of South Dakota in English and contemporary media and journalism. How long do you think it took for us to hire her?

“Beth Sherard-Fennel has fulfilled all those expectations we had for her. She knows how to distill a board story down to its pertinent facts. She shoots compelling photos. But most importantly, she has cultivated relationships with everyone from the mayor to the courthouse buildings and grounds supervisor. She has a rare talent of making people around her feel comfortable enough to trust her with their information. When she calls, they pick up the phone.

“Probably the most telling evidence of her success is that, because of her poise and depth of knowledge, everyone assumes she’s much older than her 29 years. She has impressed everyone with her maturity.”

Sherard-Fennel impressed the judges at the Better Newspaper Contest, too. They wrote that her body of work was the most comprehensive of any candidate. Her entries included feature stories and photos, sports reporting and coverage of city council, school board and county commission meetings.

See full story in this week’s Dakota Dunes / North Sioux City Times and Leader-Courier.