Sullivan County Democrat
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Democrat Photo by Dick Sanford

ATTENDING THE NEW York Press Association’s annual Spring Convention in Saratoga Springs this past weekend were, from the left, Sullivan County Democrat Sports Editor Rob Potter, Advertising Director Linda Anderson, Editor Dan Hust, Advertising Representative Connie Spafford and Publisher Fred Stabbert III (sitting).

Five Staffers, Nine
Awards, One Great Time

By Dan Hust
SARATOGA SPRINGS — April 6, 2004 – The staff of the Sullivan County Democrat came home this past weekend with new knowledge, new resources – and 9 new awards.
Publisher Fred Stabbert III, Editor Dan Hust, Advertising Director Linda Anderson, Sports Editor Rob Potter and Advertising Representative Connie Spafford trekked to Saratoga Springs on Friday for the spring convention of the New York Press Association (NYPA).
Stabbert, NYPA’s president-elect and a longtime board member, also chaired this year’s convention.
The two-day event featured 64 informative workshops, several sumptuous meals, and multiple networking opportunities with 586 staff members from New York State’s community newspaper industry, representing 185 publishing companies.
One of the highlights of each convention is the Better Newspaper Contest, which occurred throughout the two days at the Gideon Putnam Hotel at the Saratoga Spa State Park.
The 3,937 entries from 193 New York newspapers were judged in 61 different categories by members of the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association.
The Democrat garnered 9 awards in various categories, competing with newspapers of the same circulation. The Democrat’s paid circulation (number of subscriptions) is just over 8,400, placing it mostly in competition with community newspapers from the metropolitan and suburban areas of the state.
At the top of the awards list was Reporter/Photographer Jeanne Sager, who also pens “Inside Out,” a weekly column detailing the oft-overlooked life of a newspaper reporter.
Sager won First Place for Best Column, with the judges remarking about their enjoyment of her column, calling her “outstanding.”
She also won Second Place for Sports Feature for a story in the February 14, 2003 edition regarding Liberty High School wrestlers Lauren Michaud and Andrea Stabak. Sager was praised for her “compelling profile of two lives bucking the trend by competing in wrestling,” said the judges. “Nice job of showing their relationship with their coach, teammates and each other. Nice lead.”
Reporter/Photographer Ted Waddell was again recognized for his journalistic prowess, earning five different awards.
Waddell won Second Place for Picture Story for his August 1 photographic essay on the Civil War re-enactment at Walnut Mountain in Liberty. Judges said his work featured “good image quality with compositional subtlety.”
Continuing his winning trend in photography, Waddell won Third Place for Spot News Photos for his June 3 image of a fire at a duck farm in Mongaup Valley. Judges said it was a “solid fire picture.”
For Sports Action Photos, Waddell garnered Third Place for a June 27 picture of swimmers in the Highland Triathlon, with judges commenting, “Nice try for something different.”
Waddell’s writing capabilities were also lauded, with judges saying the subject was treated well in his December 5 article about Debi Terwilliger and World AIDS Day – for which he won Third Place for Feature Story.
And he won Third Place for Coverage of Crime/Police/Courts for his series of stories last year about convicted murderer Hal Karen of Bloomingburg. Judges said, “Particularly in the December 19, 2003 edition, Waddell took a lot of evidence and broke it down to manageable chunks with great detail and color as well.”
The advertising department wasn’t overlooked by judges, however.
Citing its “clean ads [and] uncluttered layout,” in addition to “plenty of space separating ads” and saying it “flows well,” judges gave a Third Place award for Best Special Section Advertising to the paper’s ad department for the “Business and Professional Women” section published in November – its first since the special section earned a first place award in its debut year of 1983.
And another Third Place award came the paper’s way in Special Sections for its September section on the Sullivan County Volunteer Firefighters’ Association Parade in Livingston Manor.
Regarding the “Firemen’s Parade” pullout, judges gave one of the best compliments an advertising staff could ever hear:
“Any newspaper that can drive this much revenue from a parade event deserves to be a winner!”

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