Business

Award-winning year for Valley's newspaper

 Julie Censullo and Sean Byrnes, student editors of Mount Si High School’s student newspaper, suspended publication last fall due to prior restraint concerns. Publication resumed after editors and school staff came to a compromise. Denise Miller’s story took a first place state award. - Denise Miller / Snoqualmie Valley Record
Julie Censullo and Sean Byrnes, student editors of Mount Si High School’s student newspaper, suspended publication last fall due to prior restraint concerns. Publication resumed after editors and school staff came to a compromise. Denise Miller’s story took a first place state award.
— image credit: Denise Miller / Snoqualmie Valley Record

The Snoqualmie Valley Record picked up a slate of seven awards in the Washington Newspaper Publisher’s Association Better Newspaper Contest.

The Record was among 24 Sound Publishing’s newspapers that garnered recognition at the Oct. 2 WNPA conference in Olympia.

Editor Seth Truscott and former reporter Denise Miller took first place in the Best Breaking News Story category for their quick coverage of the Nov. 12, 2008 flood, in “High water wallops Valley.” Judges said the Record’s team covered a lot of areas that the flood hit. The story also told what could have happened — but didn’t.

“We’re very grateful for recognition of our efforts in the award,” said Record Publisher William Shaw. “It was a total newspaper effort. Everybody pitched in and did their part, and more. Everyone rose above and beyond the call of duty.”

In other flood coverage, the Record took third place for Best Editorial Page for its Jan. 14 and March 18, 2009, editions. The January edition included letters from residents as well as school superintendent Joel Aune. The centerpiece of the page was a column by Shaw on his experience during the January flood. It was his first op-ed piece — ever.

The column included two photos taken by Shaw during his night spent in the flooded downtown district, stitched together to create a watery panorama.

“This is the infamous panorama shot taken from the corner of my office,” he said. “I was spending a portion of the night perched on the windowsill of the paper clutching my camera as the high water was coming up to my dangling feet.”

Shaw wrote about the community’s perseverance and strength in disaster’s wake.

“I saw a community coming together — young, old, new transplants and third generationers — every aspect of the Valley,” he said. “The only thing that mattered was pitching in and helping their neighbors, whether they knew each other or or not.”

The March 18 editorial page included a letter by middle school students as well as North Bend columnist Bob Edwards’ musings on bizarre local weather conditions.

The Record picked up first place in its circulation category for Best Sports Page. That issue included stories by longtime contributing writer Rhett Workman and photos by staff photographer Mark Lowry.

Judges liked the page’s excellent use of photos, and appreciated the small cut-out photo in the section flag, drawing readers into the mix.

Great stories

First place for Best Education Story went to Denise Miller for her coverage of Mount Si’s high school newspaper. Editors of Cat Tales suspended their publication last year when faced with prior review by school staff. Judges described the story as “an excellent and informative piece about the most grassroots form of journalism,” and noted that Miller did a good job of “fairly explaining a situation that could have easily lend itself to bias.”

Valley Record intern Jenny Manning took a second-place nod for Best news of the weird for “Raucous rooster round-up,” her look at a rowdy bird that terrorized a North Bend neighborhood last summer.

“Definitely entertaining,” judges wrote. “A quick, punchy read.”

Former reporter Dan Catchpole took third place for Best Education Story with his engaging piece on Knowledge Bowl at Mount Si High School, “State competition no trivial matter.”

“A catchy lead, followed by excellent narrative,” judges wrote. Catchpole’s photos did a great job of portraying the students’ serious competitive efforts.

Editor Seth Truscott took a third place nod for Best News Story with “More families to feed,” coverage last November of growing needs at the Mount Si Helping Hand Food Bank.

“A national story localized to great effect,” judges commented.

“You don’t have to be a big newspaper to be a great one,” Truscott said. “These awards just go to show that our community continues to have great stories to tell.”

“This newspaper remains committed to informing and educating our readers on what is going on in the Valley,” he added.

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