Addy Indy wins NENPA awards

BOSTON — The Addison Independent won 18 editorial and 10 advertising and design awards at the annual conference of the New England Newspaper and Press Association (NENPA) this past weekend in Boston.
The Independent competes in the largest non-daily category with circulations of greater than 6,000. Competition is among all six New England states and includes papers with circulations several times larger than the Independent’s 7,800, including some more than 30,000.
Overall, the Independent claimed six first-place awards, 11 second-place, and a dozen third-place awards, including a second place award for General Excellence.
“What’s great about doing well in this annual contest is that it provides a yardstick of how well we’re doing as measured by our peers, and makes all the hard work we do throughout the year that much sweeter,” said Addison Independent publisher Angelo Lynn. “We would do our best anyway, because the highest honor we get all year is the weekly feedback that our readers love the paper and advertisers praise the results they get. It’s how well we serve our communities that matters the most.
“And we’re obviously proud of everyone here on the Addison Independent team winning as many awards as we did, and especially our second place showing in General Excellence. That puts us in a pretty elite group of newspapers that represent the best of New England and among the best in the country,” Lynn said.
The Addison Independent’s sister papers also placed well. The St. Albans Messenger won 13 awards in advertising and self-promotion campaigns, plus three first place awards in news. The Milton Independent won six awards in news and advertising, while The Reporter in Brandon won a third place in advertising, and the Mountain Times of Killington won three advertising/design awards, including having one of their graphic designers, Maxx Steinmetz, win best ad designer of the year for all weekly newspapers.
“As a group of newspapers, we earned more than 50 awards in this regional competition, which speaks to the excellent work going on at our newspapers and digital media operations,” Lynn said.
At the Addison Independent, reporter John Flowers won first place for health reporting for a story he wrote about a new drug available to health care practitioners to help fight opiate addiction. Judges commended him for “tackling the tough issues facing his community in the health world.”
Andy Kirkaldy took top honors for best sports column for a piece reflecting on his daughter’s athletic career, and how much of a role parents play in their children’s sports endeavors.
“Great opening graphs to set the mood and flow of the column,” judges wrote of Kirkaldy’s work. “It’s a column I hope other parents/coaches read and show as a great example to set.”
Zach Despart placed second in the spot news story category for a piece on vandalism to a 9/11 memorial at Middlebury College, third in government reporting for a story on eminent domain and the Vermont Gas pipeline, and third for a human interest feature story profiling Sen. Patrick Leahy in Washington, D.C.
The news staff won first place for local election reporting for its coverage of Town Meeting Day in 2014. Angelo Lynn and news editor John McCright took second place for editorial pages, which includes the two or more pages on which editorials, columns, letters to the editor and community forums are placed.
Jessie Raymond and Trent Campbell took second and third place, respectively, for best humor column. Campbell also won third for sports photography. Political columnist Eric Davis won third place for best serious column, while Karl Lindholm won third place in the sports column category.
Matthew Witten took second in environmental reporting. Witten, Addison County River Watch coordinator, produced most of the content for the “River Watch” special section produced last April by the Independent.
The Independent staff as a whole won several awards, including first for local election coverage, second place in general excellence, and honorable mentions for best web site and best special section.
Lynn pointed out how the production staff was an essential part in the efforts to get each of these award-winning pieces — an all of our newspapers week after week — out to the public.
In the advertising, circulation and marketing division of the competition, the Independent took home nine awards. They include:
•  Three first-place awards for best online advertisement promoting Cacklin’ Hens; a special supplement on breast cancer awareness week that was printed on pink paper called The Power of Pink; and best contest promotion for its Super Bowl contest.
•  Second place for an advertising campaign for Monument Farms Dairy; a multimedia campaign for Century 21 Lynn Jackson; a special section supplement on Profiles in Community; best contest featuring The Garden Game; and an automotive display ad for Denecker Chevrolet.
•  Third place for themed multiple advertiser pages.
Vermont Sports magazine, which is owned by Lynn and produced at the Addison Independent offices, won second place for best advertising in a niche publication, and Vermont Ski & Ride Magazine, which is also part of Addison Press Inc., won third place for best niche publication.
Addison Independent Sales Manager Christy Lynn added that she was thrilled to see the staff win so many awards.
“I’m proud to see us win the top award in multi-media campaigns as well as in our PINK Breast Cancer Awareness special section, which are new initiatives for us,” she said. “Bringing home these awards helps validate our efforts to offer marketing strategies for our clients that go beyond traditional print advertising.”
She added that also being recognized for long-time projects, like the newspaper’s annual Profiles in Community section, show that the Independent can give old sections a new look to remain relevant to readers each year.
“What I’m most proud of, however, is how hard we all work each week to produce the best paper we possibly can to serve our readers, our advertisers and the general community,” she said. “Everyone here cares about the quality of the work we do, and it’s fun to see it pay off every week at home, but also by doing well in this annual competition. It’s cool to be among the best in New England in so many different categories.”

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