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News, writer of the year awards for Valley Record team
Hunters braving a snowstorm to thin out the Valley's burgeoning elk herd. Breadwinners out of work for months or years, struggling to make ends meet. Medical patients turning to a legalized but still controversial pain remedy. They were the faces of a vibrant, real Valley. All we did was report on them.
Judges with the Washington Newspaper Publisher Association's annual Better Newspaper Contest, however, liked our coverage enough to hand out strong kudos at the contest awards night on Friday, Oct. 7, in Everett.
Valley Record Staff Reporter Carol Ladwig capped the honors list, netting a second-place finalist spot for News Writer of the Year. The award recognizes the top tier of writers among all competing papers, of any size, in Washington state.
Ladwig got the nod for several of the pieces she covered in her first five months on the job. Among the pieces considered in her entry was "Alternative medicine," a look at Preston's recently opened medical marijuana collective; "A growing hunger," a December 2010 look at the needs met by three Valley food banks; and "Out of work," a January 2011 look at life as lived by Valley residents on long-term unemployment; "Police warn teens of cyberspace dangers," a look at concerns about social media use by Mount Si High School students—that happened to be her first assignment at the Record.
Judges commented on Ladwig's eye for good topics. One noted, "If I were a regular reader, I'd watch for this byline."
Ladwig's "Alternative Medicine" story won her up a third-place award for best long news story, while "A Growing Hunger" netted her a second place award for best short news story.Judges praised Ladwig's appreciation of the details, saying she "really humanizes the faces of hunger."
Continuing the two-thirds-sweep of the short news story category, Valley Record editor Seth Truscott garnered a third-place award for best short news story for "Hunting to save the herd," a Dec. 2010 look at how master hunters were thinning the local elk herd in hopes of putting the animals on a more sustainable footing. Judges said he did a good job explaining the reasons behind the project to non-hunters.
The Valley Record's editorial staff looks forward to continuing our award-winning coverage as we continue the paper's 98th year.
Read our winning stories online: