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Recorder earns 10 press awards

  • Sandy Kahn in her Erving home runs her Old Leather Books business. This photograph, by The Recorder's Paul Franz, won first prize in the Personality Photograph category at the New England Newspaper & Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest. Recorder/Paul Franz<br/>

    Sandy Kahn in her Erving home runs her Old Leather Books business. This photograph, by The Recorder's Paul Franz, won first prize in the Personality Photograph category at the New England Newspaper & Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest. Recorder/Paul Franz

  • Poet's Seat Tower appears through water droplets on a truck windshield after an afternoon shower. This photo, taken by Paul Franz, was selected the first-place winner for Feature photographs in the annual New England Newspaper & Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest.

    Poet's Seat Tower appears through water droplets on a truck windshield after an afternoon shower. This photo, taken by Paul Franz, was selected the first-place winner for Feature photographs in the annual New England Newspaper & Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest.

  • Mike Phillips took third place in the Feature Photograph category at the annual New England Newspaper & Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest. Recorder/Mike Phillips

    Mike Phillips took third place in the Feature Photograph category at the annual New England Newspaper & Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest. Recorder/Mike Phillips

  • Sandy Kahn in her Erving home runs her Old Leather Books business. This photograph, by The Recorder's Paul Franz, won first prize in the Personality Photograph category at the New England Newspaper & Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest. Recorder/Paul Franz<br/>
  • Poet's Seat Tower appears through water droplets on a truck windshield after an afternoon shower. This photo, taken by Paul Franz, was selected the first-place winner for Feature photographs in the annual New England Newspaper & Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest.
  • Mike Phillips took third place in the Feature Photograph category at the annual New England Newspaper & Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest. Recorder/Mike Phillips

BOSTON — The Recorder has won 10 awards in the annual New England Newspaper & Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest.

Three of the prizes were for first place, five were for second place, one was for third place and one was an honorable mention.

According to NENPA officials, the judges received more than 3,200 entries this year from more than 250 newspapers across the region. The Recorder competes in a category designed for daily newspapers of less than 30,000 circulation.

Here are the stories and photos that won, followed by the judges’ comments:

First Place: Feature Photo — Paul Franz, for a shot of Poet’s Seat Tower in Greenfield, reflected in a series of raindrops: “Well done by seeing the potential in the raindrops, then capturing a sharp drop collage!”

First Place: Personality Photo — Paul Franz, “Very nice composition! You have turned a dull assignment into art! Very well done!”

First Place: Serious Columnist — Tim Blagg, for several columns, including one on protecting our schools: “In a crowded and competitive field, Tim Blagg’s columns stand out for their forthright, logical arguments with just the right dash of a man who knows what he’s writing about. His columns have an air of authority, yet remain eminently readable. He can even admit ‘I’ve changed my mind’ on an issue, lending more credence to his logic.”

Second Place: Arts & Entertainment category — Gregory Tyler, for a Life and Times page featuring a local artist. “Who puts a dead fish on the front page of their entertainment section? The layout for the Recorder’s Arts and Entertainment section immediately captures attention.”

Second Place: Science/Technology Reporting — Richie Davis, for a story about the conflict between the environment and political in-fighting: “The story reports a UMass climate scientist’s assertion in a local talk that two different oil-state congressmen appeared to have mounted intimidation campaigns after scientific research documented a two-decade rise in average global temperatures based on measuring trapped air in glacial ice layers. Even-handed follow up report supplemented the scientist’s initial public talk. A compelling example of public policy debate at the local level.”

Second Place: Social Issues Feature Story — Chris Curtis, for his five-part series on the heroin epidemic in our area: “This compelling reportage pulls back the curtain to expose the enormity of a scourge that’s killing our kids.”

Second Place: Arts & Entertainment Reporting — Trish Crapo, for a feature on local book illustrator Astrid Sheckels: “This was a feature I could not put down. Tons of information crafted into a compelling profile of a young and inventive local artist. Great work coaxing elements from the interview and effectively working them into this great report.”

Second Place: Niche Publication — Chris Harris for her work on Valley Kids, a Recorder magazine aimed at local parents.

Third Place: Feature Photo — Mike Phillips, for a shot of two birds scuffling over some feed: “How did you find two cooperative bird models? Nicely done!”

Honorable mention: Sports Column — Chip Ainsworth, for several of his columns: “A story from the sidelines shows the deep hole a fan can fall into. Ainsworth writes about people whose gambling on sports nearly ruined their lives, often more than once. His anonymous subjects reflect a side of sports rarely reported on or even discussed — even though gambling is as common as the office NCAA pool.”

“We are very pleased at being recognized by our peers in the newspaper business for our quality reporting, writing and photography,” said Recorder Editor Tim Blagg.

“We think this sort of consistent recognition of the quality of The Recorder’s news coverage indicates the level at which we routinely operate. We’re a very small newspaper, and the region’s high quality of work from its fine small newspapers makes the competition tough.

“The fact that we continue to do well in them just confirms my feelings about the quality of the work we’re doing. We’ve got a great staff.”

Recorder Publisher Dennis Skoglund, who is also publisher of the Daily Hampshire Gazette in Northampton, noted that both of his newspapers were prominently featured in the contest. The Gazette also won 10 awards, in a variety of categories.

“And our sister paper, the Valley News (Lebanon, N.H.) was awarded first place in the General Excellence category,” said Skoglund. “Our company (Newspapers of New England) is in the top ranks of New England’s small dailies.”

NENPA is the result of a merger between two older groups — the New England Press Association and the New England Newspaper Association, and its annual contest is the premier competition of the region.

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story gave incorrect information about the page designer for the Arts and Entertainment prize.

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