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Daily Globe reporter receives state honor

Submitted photo Daily Globe reporter Julie Buntjer accepted the 2011 Media Award from the Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts Monday, during the annual MASWCD conference in Bloomington. Shown are Nobles County SWCD board members Rick Nelsen (left), Paul Langseth and Ken Wolf; Nobles SWCD staff Jane Steffl, Ed Lenz and Aaron Crowley; and Natural Resources Conservation Service district conservationist Stephanie McLain.

WORTHINGTON -- Julie Buntjer, a reporter with the Daily Globe for eight years, was the recipient of a statewide honor earlier this week.

Buntjer, attending the Minnesota Association of Soil & Water Conservation Districts (MASWCD) conference in Bloomington, was presented with the organization's 2011 Media Award.

"She (Buntjer) not only has an outstanding ability to cover news and issues in a timely fashion, but also takes a conscientious approach to her job in writing her stories in both an informative and understandable way," said Ian Cunningham, a Pipestone County Soil and Water Conservation District supervisor and MASWCD Area 5 Representative, in presenting Buntjer with the award.

"Julie has developed a fine working relationship between the various farm agencies in the region -- an achievement that has proven to be historically difficult for other reporters," Cunningham continued. "Her articles addressing water quality issues in Nobles County have been both helpful and informative. Additionally, she has taken the time to interview new SWCD staff members, landowners and more about numerous subjects, including conservation projects within the district."

Paul Langseth, a member of the Nobles County Soil & Water Conservation District Board of Directors, has worked with Buntjer on stories she has written on a Lake Ocheda shoreline project.

"My sense is that she's been very fair and very accurate in her reporting," Langseth said. "We don't have to worry about a comment taken out of context, and it's very critical being able to trust your reporter.

"Heron Lake falls into my area of responsibility as far as the water plan and those aspects of it, and I feel she's done an excellent job of portraying the emotion of that situation as well as the information," Langseth added. "That's why we submitted her name (for the MASWCD award). She's been an advocate for conservation in our media."

Buntjer grew up south of Worthington and returned to her hometown in December 2003 when she joined the Daily Globe. With a degree in agricultural journalism from South Dakota State University, Buntjer is the newspaper's farm reporter and edits its quarterly Today's Farm supplement among her many other duties.

Upon accepting her MASWCD award, Buntjer told conference attendees, "I'm one of those girls who didn't know what she missed until she lived a couple of hours away for a while. I grew up between Lake Bella and Lake Ocheda, and Peterson Slough was right in my backyard -- I call it my prairie playground.

"I appreciate all of you who practice conservation efforts, and I enjoy telling your stories," Buntjer added.

Other honors presented to Buntjer while she has worked at the Daily Globe include the Minnesota Farm Bureau's Ag Communicator of the Year Award in 2006 and a Service Award from the Rock-Nobles Cattlemen's Association in 2010.

She also has received the Honorary FFA Degree and Friend of 4-H award, and has been recognized on multiple occasions for her reporting by the Minnesota Newspaper Association.