Herald Staff Takes Eight Awards, ‘Irene’ Coverage Was Best in State
The Herald of Randolph had its best year ever in this year’s newspaper contest organized by the Vermont Press Association. At the awards ceremony in Montpelier last Thursday, The Herald nabbed eight awards, tops in the state, four of them plaques for first place achievement.
The Herald’s haul was nearly matched by Seven Days among nondailies, with seven awards.
First place awards for The Herald included a win in a special category, coverage of Tropical Storm Irene and its aftermath. Photographer Bob Eddy won a first for a news photograph and Katie Jickling, now at Hamilton College, won the prize for “Best Rookie Reporter.”
Eddy also won top prize in the state in the prestigious Donoghue Award for arts criticism.
Both the Donoghue and the Rookie Reporter awards included competition from daily newspapers across the state, not just weeklies.
Tim Calabro won the latest in his many awards, this one a second place in sports photography. Associate Editor Sandy Vondrasek won a second in newswriting for her coverage of a rocky year at Vermont Technical College; and editor Dick Drysdale won a second place for an editorial contrasting police action in two dangerous standoffs, one of which ended in a fatal shooting.
In addition, the whole staff won a third place in the “General Excellence” category.
“This is a good community paper favored by intelligent story selection, strong writing and photography, and sharp page design,” the judges wrote. “The Herald is a lively paper with good graphics …”
Irene Coverage Cited
The Herald editor told the gathering that credit for winning the top award among weeklies was due not only to the Herald staff but to the Herald’s readers and friends throughout the White River Valley.
“The Herald has just three reporters and two photographers in the office,” he noted. “But in the first two issues after the flood, stories about the disaster were contributed by no fewer than 18 writers, and photographs were produced by 14.
“This was an award for the entire community,” Drysdale pointed out.
The judges were enthusiastic in their praise for the Herald’s coverage in those first two newspapers after the flood.
“Martha Slater’s reports from isolated Rochester were compelling,” they wrote. “Her first-person account, ‘Another World Heard From: The Route 100 Valley,’ was journalism to the core; she captured the essence of reporting.”
Slater’s article, the judges said, “was perhaps the strongest individual day-after storm story submitted in the contest.”
Also praised was the page one lead photograph by Zach Nelson, as well as photography by Tim Calabro (“taken from the edge of destruction”) and Jerry LeBlond in Rochester and articles by the Herald editor.
Other weekly newspapers praised for their Irene coverage were the Woodstock Standard (whose offices were destroyed in the flood) and The Commons of Brattleboro. Dailies awarded in the category included the Burlington Free Press, Times Argus, and Valley News.
Among weeklies, the Addison Independent in Middlebury garnered six awards, and the Vermont Standard five.