Op/Ed

Editorial: Kudos, and thanks Addy All-Stars

ANGELO LYNN

I’d be remiss if I didn’t shout from the rooftops that the Addison Independent was named best-of-the-best among New England’s largest weekly newspapers. The honor was bestowed by the New England Newspaper Press Association during its annual Better Newspaper Contest this past weekend. The Independent also won 16 other first place awards, and another 17 second and third place awards.

It’s not the first time the Independent has won General Excellence (though it’s been a few years), but more importantly we’re almost always in that top tier of three to five top-notch papers. Seven Days is another, as is The Ellsworth (Me.) American and Martha’s Vineyard Gazette, among a few others. Such consistency defines the most important goal: sustainable quality journalism.

We’re humbled by the honors earned, and we’re all proud to work with a team that consistently strives to do the best journalism possible each week. 

And it’s important work. 

Stories in today’s Independent, for example, tell readers what the ANWSD school board is thinking following its second budget defeat. County residents learn why the state Supreme Court suspended the law license of Addison County State’s Attorney Eva Vekos, and why she should resign. Reporter John Flowers writes two revealing stories about the student behavioral problems teachers are facing, particularly at area elementary schools. (Please read both as they help explain why school budgets are so high.) There are sports stories, obituaries, calendar of events, lots of community news, as well as columnists, op-eds, letters, public notices and advertisements that tell us about the county’s businesses. It’s a package of weekly community information that helps make our lives complete.

Then consider what it would be like not to have the Independent reporting the news we do, and connecting the community together in all the ways we do. 

It’s no secret legacy news outlets like the Addison Independent face a shrinking revenue stream. News deserts across the nation are common. In the past decade the nation has lost one third of its newspapers and two-thirds of working journalists, and papers are continuing to close at the rate of almost two per week. Part of the reason is that it’s expensive. At the Independent we spend more than $25,000 per week, with a crew of 20 employees, to deliver you the news.

The Independent has been an outlier not because we are immune to the disrupted economics (though we have maintained strong readership and a healthy circulation, which helps maintain advertising revenues), but also because we’ve been willing to pay for good journalism. While other papers have cut newsrooms to the bone, we’ve held steady. But to continue the excellence we’ve demonstrated over the past 40 years, we’ll need the community’s help. 

We started the ADDY ALL-STARS two weeks ago as a way for individuals to play that larger role, and we’re excited to announce we raised our first $10,000 from almost 75 supporters. We need another 25 supporters this week so we can host our first ALL-STAR gathering of 100 and discuss ways to build an even stronger connection between the newspaper and our readers.

That’s a strong start toward a first-year goal we hope will reach much closer to 500 supporters — less than one-tenth of our regular readers. If you can and want to keep the Independent strong, join us and be part of the team (see how in ads elsewhere in this paper.)

For our part, we’ll continue to work hard to produce award-winning journalism because it’s who we are, but, being honest, we’re more likely to be able to keep doing that with everyone’s support. 

Angelo Lynn

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