Sullivan County Democrat
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ATTENDING THIS PAST weekend’s press convention in Albany were, from the left, Reporter/ Photographer Ted Waddell, Sports Editor Frank Rizzo, Classifieds Manager Jill Conklin, Reporter/ Photographer Matt Youngfrau, Reporter/Photographer Rob Potter, Editor Dan Hust, Advertising Director Linda Anderson and Special Sections Coordinator Liz Tucker.

Four Awards Come
Home With Democrat

By Rob Potter
ALBANY — April 3, 2001 – Sullivan County Democrat staff members captured four awards, participated in informative workshops and networked with community newspaper colleagues this past weekend at the 2001 New York Press Association (NYPA) Spring Convention in Albany.
The Democrat garnered a total of four awards in the NYPA Better Newspaper Contest. Three of those accolades came in Division IV, designated for those newspapers with circulations of more than 8,000. With a circulation of 8,300, the Democrat was competing against many larger weekly and twice-weekly newspapers. For example, the Southampton Press on eastern Long Island (circulation 16,264), the East Hampton Star (14,385) and Catholic Courier (46,147) in Rochester were a sampling of the newspapers competing in the Democrat’s division.
“These awards reflect a real team effort as our editorial, advertising and production departments all earned congratulations,” Democrat Publisher Fred Stabbert III said. “As always, the competition was exceptional, as 174 newspapers submitted 3,211 entries in 62 separate categories.”
Democrat reporter/photographer Ted Waddell captured the first place plaque in the In-Depth Reporting category for his multi-part series about MTBE and how it affected drinking water in the Village of Liberty.
“I feel our first place award for in-depth coverage is of particular note,” Stabbert commented. “Ted Waddell took home a first place in the top category against 123 entries, which is a great accomplishment.”
The contest judges, who are members of the Illinois Press Association, had high praise for Waddell’s comprehensive stories, which ran last spring in the Democrat’s pages.
“It is absolutely obvious this reporter put a lot of blood, sweat and I would guess tears into this ongoing exploration of Liberty’s issues with MTBE,” wrote one of the judges. “Very well written and organized. He certainly left no stone unturned. Everything in-depth reporting should be.”
The other Democrat awards included third-place prizes for Best Special Section-Advertising, Best Spot News Photo and Best Editorials.
The Special Section award was for the “School Scene” series the paper began last year to highlight the students, staff and administrators of Sullivan County’s eight school districts. In their comments, the judges noted that each “School Scene” was “very informative” and displayed a “good balance of advertising and editorial.”
“I’m sure this is a section well read and looked forward to by readers,” the judge continued. “Nice job.”
In the Best Editorials division, the three editorials which helped the paper capture that award were on varied topics, ranging from voter apathy to the proposed performing arts center at the Woodstock site to the famous dream of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and how it related to the plight of a South Fallsburg boy.
The judges said the editorials offered “interesting insights into the irony of a community fund raiser and Martin Luther King Jr. Day.”
“These edits have a ‘voice’ that you listen to,” the judges added.
The third-place spot news photo, taken by Editor Dan Hust, appeared last March in the Democrat. The picture captured the tragic scene minutes after a Norfolk Southern train collided with a car at the railroad crossing in Callicoon, ultimately killing both of the women in the car.
The 2001 NYPA Spring Convention – held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in downtown Albany – was more than just awards, however. NYPA officials noted that it was the largest convention ever, as nearly 550 staff members representing 174 papers across New York State attended two days of seminars and workshops.
Topics of the 52 workshops ranged from “Professional Photography 101 for Overworked Editors and Reporters” to “Circulation Database Marketing” to “Reporting on Domestic Violence.”
The hundreds of convention attendees also enjoyed a special lunch presentation on Friday with photojournalist Ted Jackson. Jackson, who works for the New Orleans Times-Picayune, captured the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 1997 for his photographs in “Oceans of Trouble,” a series depicting the collapse of the world’s fisheries.
In his program titled “Ask Me If I Care,” Jackson shared dozens of stunning, poignant photos from the “Oceans of Trouble” series as well as other assignments in his nearly two decades as a photojournalist.
The convention attendees also enjoyed a casino night, cocktail parties and the opportunity to tour the New York State Capitol Building, among other activities.
“I was delighted to see this year’s convention break all previous records for attendance,” Stabbert said. “It not only shows that weekly newspapers are strong throughout New York State but that weekly journalism is being taken seriously by our colleagues.”
Representing the Democrat at the convention were Advertising Director Linda Anderson, Classifieds Manager Jill Conklin, Editor Dan Hust, Reporter/Photographer Rob Potter, Sports Editor Frank Rizzo, Special Sections Coordinator Liz Tucker, Reporter/Photographer Ted Waddell and Reporter/Photographer Matt Youngfrau.

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