Sullivan County Democrat
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Democrat Photo by Richard Sanford

ATTENDING THE NEW York Press Association Spring Convention in Saratoga Springs this past weekend were, from the left, Publisher Fred Stabbert III, Ad Salesperson Chris Murphy, Editor Dan Hust, Sports Editor Rob Potter, Ad Salesperson Diane Wood, Ad Director Linda Anderson, and Reporter/Photographer Ted Waddell.

Democrat Attends
Spring Press Convention

By Dan Hust
SARATOGA SPRINGS — April 9, 2002 – After a two-day session of in-depth workshops, fine dining and sharing tips with fellow journalists and advertising salespeople, staff members of the Sullivan County Democrat returned home on Sunday from the New York Press Association’s annual spring convention with new ideas – and 11 awards.
Held at the Gideon Putnam Hotel inside the historic Saratoga Spa State Park in Saratoga Springs, the convention attracted nearly 200 newspapers and associated vendors for its activities on Friday and Saturday.
Top journalists and sales consultants from around the country conducted 64 workshops on everything from libel to sales pitches to digital photography, and more than 500 weekly and twice-weekly newspaper employees filled up five different hotels throughout Saratoga Springs to attend the convention.
Guest speakers included journalists like New York Daily News photographer David Handschuh who bore personal witness to the tragedies of September 11, 2001, and the press association produced a booklet commemorating community newspapers’ coverage of the days and months afterward.
In a feat not seen for more than a decade, the Democrat garnered 11 awards from the association, thanks to the judges from the New England Press Association, who went through 3,214 entries in 61 categories to determine the winners.
Although several were statewide, entries were usually judged utilizing four separate divisions based on the newspapers’ circulations. The Democrat competed in the 4,001-9,000 circulation category.
“This convention certainly gave our staff an opportunity to see what great things community newspapers are doing across the state as well as across the country,” said Democrat Publisher Fred Stabbert III. “To compete with such dynamic newspapers and come out on top is certainly a testament to the talent and hard work our staff does each and every day.”
(Stabbert is currently the assistant treasurer/secretary of the New York Press Association, a statewide organization which represents and assists more than 350 newspapers.)
Democrat Reporter/Photographer Ted Waddell received the most accolades, winning six different awards. However, the list of awards ran the gamut, from news to advertising to classifieds to sports:
• 1st Place – Ted Waddell – Spot News Photo – Division 2 (newspapers with a circulation similar to the Democrat’s). In a photo of a little girl being comforted by her mother after a fire in Swan Lake, the judges said, “The photographer captured the emotion of the scene.”
• 2nd Place – Ted Waddell – Writer of the Year – Statewide. In essence calling him one of the best journalists in New York State, the judges said, “Ted Waddell covers all the bases. He is at ease and in good form writing about murderers, social injustices, breaking news and people.”
• 2nd Place – Ted Waddell – In-Depth Reporting – Division 2. Regarding Ted Waddell’s series called “Hatred in Our Midst,” the judges said, “A fair, balanced job of reporting on racism – factual and provocative without going over the top.”
• 3rd Place – Best Editorial Page – Division 2. The judges looked over several issues of the Democrat’s opinions pages and said, “Strong editorial opinion – persuasive writing. ... Photos are a great addition. Strong roots in the community are obvious.”
• 3rd Place – Online Excellence – Statewide. The Democrat’s website, updated every Tuesday and Friday at, was good enough to merit this comment from judges: “Very up-to-date, nice layout, easy to click through.”
• 3rd Place – Judy Van Put – Best Sports/Outdoor Column – Statewide. Pointing out that she is currently considered one of the best outdoor columnists in the state, the judges said of samples of Judy Van Put’s “Horse Talk” column, “Nothing like a poem to distance yourself from the competition, and she brings life to old wooden barns.”
• 3rd Place – Best Special Section - Advertising – Division 2. After perusing the pages of the Democrat’s numerous “School Scene” special sections about area school districts, the judges remarked, “Good editorial and pictorial content. An interesting idea to use the topic in different districts throughout the year rather than all in one edition. Good advertising representation.”
• 3rd Place – Jill Conklin – Best NYSCAN Ad – Statewide. Classifieds Manager Jill Conklin designed her own ad featuring two cats touting the advantages of advertising with the statewide classifieds service known as NYSCAN.
• Honorable Mention – Ted Waddell – Feature Story – Division 2. The judges made this award based on Ted Waddell’s “Reflections from Ground Zero” article about his time at the World Trade Center disaster site in New York City late last year.
• Honorable Mention – Ted Waddell – Feature Photos – Division 2. Ted Waddell’s pictures of the Little Miss Monticello Raceway Pageant turned out to be the only photos that could compete against Mike DiSciullo of the Rivertowns Enterprise in Hastings-on-Hudson. DiSciullo swept the entire category in that division.
• Honorable Mention – Ted Waddell – Picture Story – Division 2. Once again, with Mike DiSciullo of the Rivertowns Enterprise garnering first, second and third place honors, Ted Waddell held his own with a photo essay about Music in Our Schools Month.

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