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DAVENPORT, Iowa — Lee Enterprises Inc. announced Thursday the selection of five Enterprise of the Year Finalists for 2017, honoring superior performance in key business and customer measures.

The Times and Democrat is a finalist for the second consecutive year and is the smallest of the five newspapers in contention for the award.

Five finalists for the company's highest honor were selected from among more than 50 divisions in 22 states, representing print and digital daily newspaper operations, regional agricultural publications and nationwide digital services, said Kevin Mowbray, president and chief executive officer.

“These five finalists rose to the top of a very impressive group of enterprises,” Mowbray said. “In honoring these finalists, we also applaud the outstanding performance all across Lee in serving advertisers and readers in our communities, as well as delivering impressive results on many key business initiatives.”

The 2017 Enterprise of the Year Finalists are:

• The Times and Democrat in Orangeburg, South Carolina, a finalist in 2016. The Times and Democrat is the first and best source of news in Orangeburg and surrounding communities, delivering information anytime, anywhere through print, online and mobile devices. They are the primary sources of local news, information and advertising in the region. The publisher is Cathy Hughes.

• The Courier in Waterloo, Iowa. The Courier is the first and best source of local news in and around Waterloo. The combined readership of Sunday and daily publications reaches 73 percent of their market. The publisher is Roy Biondi.

• The Journal Times in Racine, Wisconsin, a finalist in 2016. The combined audiences of The Journal Times and journaltimes.com reach nearly 80% of adults in their market. The publisher is Mark Lewis.

• The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the 2016 and 2012 Enterprise of the Year and a finalist in 2010. The Post-Dispatch reaches nearly 1 million readers weekly, and stltoday.com is the most widely visited website across all digital platforms in St. Louis. The publisher is Ray Farris.

• Times Media Company of northwest Indiana based in Munster. Enterprise of the Year in 2014 and finalist in 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016. The Times and NWI.com are Northwest Indiana’s media leaders in local news and information, and NWI.com has the second largest audience of any website in the state. The publisher is Chris White.

The winner will be announced in December.

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