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Six story awards for Valley Record at annual Better Newspaper contest
Putting human faces on serious topics like homelessness, Medicaid, erosion—and a lighthearted one, calendar pin-up ‘Tractor Men’—helped the Snoqualmie Valley Record pick up six story awards in the Washington Newspaper Publishers’ Association’s 2012 Better Newspaper Contest.
The Record was judged among papers of similar circulation.
Staff Reporter Carol Ladwig picked up a first-place award for best long news story for “The Invisible People,” an exploration of homelessness in the Valley, published last winter.
“This in-depth news story was well-written, well-sourced and heavy on the perspective of the homeless, not the bureaucratic nonsense that it could have been filled with had the reporter taken another angle,” judges wrote.
“Invisible people” was part of Ladwig’s “Faces of homelessness” series, which claimed a second-place award for comprehensive coverage of a single issue.
“From the first sentence—’Some day soon, Joey Bradshaw is going to be warm again’—this series grabbed me,” a judge wrote. “’Invisible; is a great way to describe homelessness; most every community has its share. I’m happy that this excellent reporter and writer—her work on the gay marriage issue (“Marriage Plans” and “Power of a single word,” March 7, 2012) also was very good—gave these residents of her community their deserved moment of attention, and showed us the complexity of the issue and the people involved.”
Ladwig’s “Talking with the Tractor Men” got a third-place nod for best lifestyle feature. The story showcased the men behind the photos in a Lower Valley benefit calendar.
A judge described the piece as a “fun read that takes an ordinary subject and turns it into a unique story.”
Editor Seth Truscott took first place for government reporting for “The Hungry River,” a 2011 look at how North Bend residents were dealing with King County in an attempt to stop river erosion at their home.
“I have to be honest, when I took a first glance at this story, I was dreading it,” the judge wrote. “But it kept my attention the whole time, and incorporated great detail. Very well-written.”
Truscott took a second-place nod for best health story for “Balancing Act,” a look at Medicare-funding challenges at the local Transitional Health Center.
“Nice to put a face on government cuts to Medicaid,” judges wrote. Truscott “does a nice job of explaining the proposed legislation, the need for it, and its possible shortfalls. Well-balanced. Not over the top.”
Truscott also took second place for best environmental story for “Power of the North Fork: Builder, kayakers stake out issues on proposed hydropower plant.” The story told how a dam developer and recreationalists faced off over a proposed hydroelectric dam on the Snoqualmie’s North Fork.
“An interesting read on what could be a dry subject: power plants,” judges said. Truscott “does a good job of setting the scenes in which conversations take place.”