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Addy Indy lauded as New England’s top weekly paper

CELEBRATING THE ADDISON Independent and VT Ski+Ride awards at the NENPA convention this past Saturday are, from left, Katy Foote, Marin Howell, Christy Lynn, Angelo Lynn, Elsie Parini, Sarah Pope, John McCright and Jenna Hunsinger.

ADDISON COUNTY — The Addison County Independent and its sister publication Vermont Ski + Ride Magazine took home 17 first-place awards — and another 17 second- and third-place nods — for excellence in journalism at the annual Better Newspaper Competition held over the weekend at Waltham, Mass. 

NEWS EDITOR JOHN McCright knew he’d need a couple photos for the Sept. 22, 2022, edition, so he took a camera to see what he could find when the Middlebury College first-year students showed up on campus that week. He snapped this image of parent David Gregg of South Carolina helping his daughter Zoe move into her dorm and put it in newspaper. David’s mother who lives in town, stopped by the office to tell us that she appreciated the photo, but that was not Zoe in the picture. The news editor verified the father’s name, but forgot to double check that it was his daughter in the frame. 
Nevertheless, the NENPA judges liked the photo, and gave it first place in the News Feature Photo category this past weekend.
Independent file photo/John S. McCright

The competition, held each year at the annual convention of the New England Newspaper and Press Association, honors the top newspapers and news websites from all six New England states in 85 editorial categories and 35 advertising categories. Professional judges are hired to shift through the more than 2,000 contest entries.

While the Addison Independent is typically in the top group of finishers among New England’s largest non-daily publications, this year the newspaper earned top honors for the coveted General Excellence award — besting the Ellsworth American (based in a suburb of Bangor, Maine), which took second, and Seven Days, which placed third. 

“It’s always a great feeling to take top honors among some of the best newspapers in the region,” long-time editor and publisher Angelo Lynn said. “It’s a true reflection of the high quality of work we do and of the hard work every member of the team contributes. It’s a big commitment to bring the news to the county each week in print, and five days a week through our websites, newsletters and social media, and it’s humbling to have that work honored by our peers and others throughout the six states. 

“And, of course, we hope it’s appreciated by our readers and supporters — they’re the reason we work so hard to produce the best possible newspaper week in and week out.” 

Other Vermont newspapers also did well at the convention. Seven Days won 18 first-place awards and 12 second- and third-places, also among the largest weekly newspapers. The Vermont Community Newspaper Group, which includes the Stowe Reporter, the Stowe Guide and three community weeklies in Chittenden County, competing in the under 5,000 circulation division, won 13 first-place awards and twice that many second and third places among its seven publications. And The Brattleboro Reporter won first in General Excellence among daily newspapers under 15,000 circulation.

Independent news editor John McCright recognized that the news staff works hard day in and day out to provide the region with information they need to build a strong community. But he was gratified when an outside group like NENPA recognizes the effort.

“I’m so proud to work with such a hardworking, clever and collegial group of people,” McCright said. “Thanks to everyone!”

For the Addison Independent, the newspaper won 14 awards for advertising, 16 awards for news/editorial. 

The awards were presented to: 

Advertising awards:

• Classified Ad Promotion: First place, advertising staff for Help Wanted ad promotion.

• Best Contest: First place, Jenna Hunsinger for the Garden Game.

• Excellence in Revenue Collaboration and Partnership: First place, advertising and production staff for the Field Days Program.

• Health Ad: First place, Jesse Norford for ACHHH campaign, and second to Christy Lynn for the Porter Pediatrics campaign.

ADDISON INDEPENDENT PHOTOGRAPHER Steve James’s sports photos brought home gold, silver and bronze in the Better Newspaper Competition this past weekend. At the annual convention of the New England Newspaper and Press Association, James’s photo of girls’ soccer action won first place in the Sports Action Photo category. In the fall 2022 photo, MUHS goalie Kassidy Brown dives on the ball just ahead of charging VUHS striker Ava Francis.
Independent file photo/Steve James

• Advertiser campaign: First place, Christy Lynn and Elsie Parini for their series of ads for Bradford Kitchen + Bath;  third place, Katy Foote for her campaign for Hare and the Dog.

• Local Online Ad: Third place, Katy Foote for an Otter East ad.

• Real Estate Display: Third place, Jesse Norford for a Berkshire Hathaway ad in the Lake Dunmore Fern Lake Association directory.

• Special Section Advertising: Third place, production manager Sue Leggett and associate advertising manager Jenna Hunsinger for the annual Easter Worship Guide. 

• Themed Multiple Advertiser Pages: First place, entire ad and design staff for Midd Night Stroll pages. 

• Advertising Sales Media Kit: Second place, Jenna Hunsinger. 

• Best Ad Designer. Second place, Sarah Pope; and third place, Elsie Parini.

STEVE JAMES ALSO earned second place in Sports Action Photo for an image of Evan Laroche armwrestling at Addison County Fair & Field Days.
Independent file photo/Steve James

News awards:

• Arts & Entertainment Reporting: Second place, David Weinstock for a story on the unique auditions for the Middlebury Opera Company.

• Solutions Journalism: Third place to John Barstow and crew for their collaboration with the Independent to organize and publish the Climate Matters column.

Editorial Commentary Pages: First place for the editorials, columnists, op-eds, community forums and presentation of letters to the editor.

• Humor Columnist: Third place, Jessie Raymond.

• Living Pages: First place, Elsie Lynn Parini for the Independent’s Arts + Leisure section, which she edits, designs and writes.

• Climate and Weather Reporting: Third place by Marin Howell for her story on bees.

• News Feature Photo: First place, John S. McCright.

• Overall Design for a Supplement: Second place, Sarah Pope for “Celebrating Our Children.”

• Racial, Ethnic or Gender Reporting: First place, Andy Kirkaldy, for a story on a MUHS girls’ team skipping a game with a team because its fans had previously used slurs; it included a larger look at racism at high school sports events.

• Serious Columnist: Third place, Faith Gong, for her Faith in Vermont column.

• Sports Action Photo: First and second places, Stephen James

• Sports Feature Photo: Third place, Steve James.

• Sports Columnist: First place, Karl Lindholm for the second year in a row. 

• Best Sports Section: First place led by Andy Kirkaldy, Sue Miller on graphic design, photographer Steve James and the rest of the staff.

General Excellence: First among the largest (5,000 circulation and higher) non-daily newspapers in New England.  

PHOTOGRAPHER STEVE JAMES won third place in Sports Feature Photo for his picture of Otter Valley basketball players mobbing teammate Connor Denis after he made a buzzer- beating basket that
won the game.
Independent file photo/Steve James

Vermont Ski + Ride Magazine: 

• Front Page Specialty Publication: First place, Lisa Lynn.

• Local Personality Profile: First place, Lisa Lynn for a profile on actor John Fusco. 

• Racial, Ethnic or Gender Issue Coverage among specialty publications: First place, Lisa Lynn for a story on why snowsports have remained predominantly white and what’s being done to address that in Vermont and beyond.

• Sports Feature Photo: Second place, Lisa Lynn. 

Read Angelo Lynn’s reflections on the Addison Independent and the NENPA awards… Click here.

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