Editorial: Awards are nice, but it’s your vote that really matters

In a story in this issue of the Addison Independent, readers will note that this paper and our sister papers were successful in an annual newspaper competition among the six New England states. The Independent won 18 news awards and 10 advertising awards — three first places in both categories, and a key second place in General Excellence in the large weekly division with circulations from 6,000 and on up to more than 30,000. With a circulation of about 7,800, we’re among the smaller papers in our division. The contest drew more than 3,200 entries from a couple hundred newspapers throughout New England. The newspaper competition in New England is the largest in the nation.
The story details the awards, so I won’t repeat that information, but let me take a brief moment to “shout out” a few particulars:
• No one likes to be second best, but taking second place in General Excellence among the many excellent newspapers who enter this competition is no small deal. Our friends at the Ellsworth American in Maine represent an excellent newspaper that consistently produces one of the best newspapers in New England. They took first this year, as they do with some frequency. The Inquirer & Mirror of Nantucket, Mass., took third. Other strong contenders and papers that won numerous awards this year were the Vineyard Gazette of Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., and the Worcester Magazine, also of Massachusetts, and several others. Along with the Independent, we consistently duke it out with them for top honors year-after-year and we’re thrilled to be in such good company. This is just to say to our readers that we are working hard for you, and delivering what our peers think to be a pretty darn good newspaper. We hope you think so, too.
• It’s nearly Town Meeting Day and, once again, we preview the issues that the county’s 23 towns, plus Brandon, will consider, debate and vote on next week (except Ferrisburgh, who will hold its Town Meeting Day this Saturday.) As a staff we present a comprehensive preview and then follow-up next Tuesday with up-to-minute results that night. (We’ll be live with a online chat until we get most of the results, so tune in.) We do this to serve our readers and our communities. That we won a first-place award fo local election coverage is a footnote to what we consider our job.
• In his 20-plus years of writing sports for the Independent, Andy Kirkadly may have attended and covered more sporting events in this county than any other avid fan. He writes with an insider’s knowledge of every sport and of most every player. That’s a rare gift to any newspaper and sports fan. He also writes a good sports column. He took first place on his submission that explored the role of parents of athletes. Read it online here if you missed it, or want to re-read what the judges said was “a moving piece about parenthood, sports and life. It’s a column I hope other parents/coaches read and show as a great example to set.” (By the way, Independent sports columnist Karl Lindhom took third place; he took first a couple years back. His columns are consistently excellent.)
• Three other Addison Independent columnists won awards as well: Jessie Raymond and photographer Trent Campbell took second and third, respectively, for humor columns (yes, Trent is good at both); while Eric Davis, one of the leading political analysts in the state, placed third for a serious column.
• John Flowers took first in health reporting on the Suboxone treatment controversy in the county; reporter Zach Despart won three third-place awards for stories he submitted; and the Independent took second for its editorial pages and commentary. As a paper, we also placed third in overall design and layout, which is a well-deserved tip-of-the-hat to our production team led by Sue Leggett and Brian King for their page layouts. And, just to show we are not one-dimensional, we received an honorable mention for the newspaper’s web site and won several digital advertising awards.
• Our advertising team won 10 awards, including excellent work in print and multi-media campaigns, as well as a new special section on Breast Cancer called The Power of Pink. Appropriately, it was printed on pink paper. Our magazines, Vermont Sports and Vermont Ski & Ride Magazine, which we produce at the Addison Independent, won in the best niche magazine and best advertising in a niche publication.
What’s the point?
It’s to share our news with you, our readers. Because none of this means much if our readers don’t also agree that what we deliver each week is solid journalism that not only covers the news of our communities, but also shares stories of our neighbors, makes connections, facilitates discussion, challenges presumptions, introduces businesses, promotes retail and professionals through advertising, and helps strengthen the very fabric of those places we call home.
We might not always live up to your expectations in this rushed world of constant and continual deadlines, but we work hard to do our best and set that simple bar as our goal to achieve each week.
— Angelo S. Lynn

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