By Dan Hust
SARATOGA SPRINGS April 15, 2003 Six staff members of the Sullivan County Democrat traveled to Saratoga Springs this past weekend for the New York Press Associations (NYPA) annual spring convention and trade show.
Held at the Prime Hotel and Conference Center in historic downtown Saratoga Springs, the convention featured 30 experts giving upwards of 60 workshops to 587 journalists from 183 community newspapers across the state.
The Democrat, as always, also garnered several awards in the Better Newspaper Contest for work done in 2002. The entries were judged by members of the Illinois Press Association.
Awards were based on circulation divisions, and this year the Democrat competed in the largest circulation category, pitting it against the papers with the highest circulation (above 8,000) in all of NYPAs membership.
The awards are a testament to the hard work our staff does throughout the year, said Publisher Fred Stabbert III, who will become NYPA President-Elect in September. Community newspapers are so vitally important to the areas which they serve, and I feel Sullivan County is fortunate to have several which fit that description.
This years top win was a first place award for best editorials in division 4, meaning the Democrat beat out many much-larger urban and suburban newspapers in winning the judges favor, who said of the three submitted editorials, Easily read writing style that gets to the point. All the issues were locally important, well-reasoned and called for action the best of the lot!
Democrat Reporter/Photographer Ted Waddell also garnered acclaim, winning second place for best spot news photo in division 4. The photograph that won him the award was of the scene of a motorcycle accident on Route 52 near Kenoza Lake that killed a young man last May.
Said the judges, Good moment from a tough situation.
A third place award for best obituaries was shared by Editor Dan Hust and Reporter/Photographer Jeanne Sager. The award was non-divisional, meaning the Democrat competed against the entire range of state papers that submitted entries.
Sager won for her moving article on the death of Lauren Hughson, a 10-year-old Jeffersonville girl who died in January of 2002 after a valiant fight with cancer.
Hust won for his piece on Martha Mabel Bernhardt, who passed away a year ago. Known to everyone in the Kenoza Lake area as Grandma Mabel, Hust himself was babysat decades ago by this loving lady, who even then was into her 70s.
The judges said of both articles, Engaging leads draw us in.
Democrat Advertising Representative Chris Murphy and the rest of the papers advertising staff won a third place award, too this one for best multi-advertiser pages in division 2 for a four-page pullout on last years summer events in Liberty.
Said the judges, Nice summer planning guide. Very informative.
Rounding out the five awards the paper won, the Democrat received praise for the second year in a row for its high-quality Web site, www.sc-democrat.com. Judges gave it a third place ranking statewide (non-divisional), saying, Nice, clear layout in masthead, with links on every page nice use of photos, good archives.