BRANDON — It was a heady week for The Brandon Reporter as the staff of three made their way to the Statehouse in Montpelier for a special and humbling occasion.
State Reps. Butch Shaw of Pittsford and Steve Carr of Brandon sponsored House Concurrent Resolution 309, which recognized The Reporter’s winning five editorial and three advertising awards in the annual New England Newspaper and Press Association Better Newspaper Contest, which were presented in February.
“Whereas, these multiple honors demonstrate the extraordinary results a small but talented newspaper staff can produce, now therefore be it Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:
“That the General Assembly congratulates The Reporter newspaper on winning eight 2014 New England Newspaper and Press Association awards…”
The resolution was also offered by Rutland County Sens. Peg Flory, Kevin Mullin and Eldred French.
Reporter Editor Lee Kahrs, Advertising and General Manager Alyssa Zollman and Graphic Designer Mandy Davis were guests of Shaw and Carr at the Statehouse on April 17 and seated in the gallery in Representatives Hall. The resolution was the first one read when the afternoon session began.
In his remarks following the reading, Rep. Shaw also noted the staff’s resilience and dedication to their readers during Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011 when the newspaper’s offices were flooded. The staff produced the paper remotely from the offices of its sister paper, the Addison Independent, that week and for the next two months and did not miss an issue.
“Mr. Speaker, The Reporter is simply a vehicle of excellence,” Shaw said. “A vehicle being driven by three outstanding individuals … Together, this group survived the ravages of Tropical Storm Irene … Showing the best of their Vermont versatility and journalistic ability, the weekly paper was published without missing a day.”
Shaw noted the eight NENPA awards and asked Speaker of the House Shap Smith and the rest of the audience to welcome and congratulate the staff of The Reporter. Kahrs, Zollman and Davis were asked to stand and be recognized by those assembled, who greeted them with a hearty round of applause.
Afterward, Kahrs said she and the rest of the staff were extremely honored by the recognition.
“It was humbling and surreal,” she said. “We can’t thank Representatives Shaw and Carr enough for this tremendous honor. We are very grateful to be recognized as part of Vermont’s great tradition of community journalism.”