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VPA picks Independent as Vermont’s top non-daily newspaper

MONTPELIER — The Addison Independent won seven awards — including a coveted first place for general excellence — at the annual Vermont Press Association (VPA) convention and awards ceremony held at the Capitol Plaza in Montpelier on Thursday, July 16.
Competing in the non-daily category against more than three-dozen other publications throughout the state, the Independent also  won:
• Honorable Mention for former reporter Zach Despart in the Mavis Doyle Award for state government reporting.
• Third place, along with the Champlain Valley Newspaper Group, for a three-story package on the 2014 effort to reform public education financing.
• Third place for outstanding Website.
• Second place to Andy Kirkaldy for sports writing.
• Second Place to photographer Trent Campbell for general news photo.
• Second Place to Andy Kirkaldy for feature writing, for a story on the 1983 Middlebury Union High School boys’ basketball team “Reliving the Dream.”
Addison Independent senior reporter John Flowers currently serves as VPA president and helped run the annual conference.
“The Independent should be proud of its performance in the awards competition,” he said. “The general excellence award in particular is a big honor, and it is a credit to all departments within the newspaper that help put out what is a very highly regarded newspaper throughout the sate.”
The Burlington Free Press, Herald of Randolph, Seven Days and the Valley News (Lebanon/White River Junction) were other big competition winners at a conference that also featured panel discussions on media in the 21st century, and law enforcement’s policies to inform the public. The conference also saw veteran Burlington Free Press reporter Mike Donoghue receive the Matthew Lyon Award in recognition of his efforts in lobbying for free speech and open government.
Co-publisher Pamela Polston of Seven Days received the John D. Donoghue Award for arts coverage, and Paul Heintz of Seven Days won the Mavis Doyle Award for government reporting — both categories open to daily and non-daily newspapers.
Among non-daily newspapers, other first place awards went to: Mark Davis of Seven Days for feature writing, David Miles of the Vermont Standard (Woodstock) for sportswriting, Alicia Freese of Seven Days for best local story, Tim Calabro of The Herald of Randolph for general news photo, Paul Heintz of Seven Days for best state story, Seven Days for best website and Dick Drysdale of The Herald of Randolph for best editorial.
Journalists from other New England states evaluated all of the entries. The contest is open to 11 daily and more than three-dozen non-daily newspapers in Vermont.

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