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Recorder named New England Newspaper of  the Year for 2012

The Recorder has been named Newspaper of the Year by the New England Newspaper and Press Association.

The association, which represents 450 daily and weekly newspapers across the region, names six newspapers annually in the daily category, each of a different circulation size.

The Recorder was judged best in the 8,000 to 15,000 category when all aspects of the paper — including news coverage and writing, photographs, page layout, advertising and overall appearance were considered.

In past years, the newspaper has been awarded the title of “paper of merit” but has never won the top award.

“We’re just thrilled,” said Editor Tim Blagg. “We always do very well in regional contests, where we are judged by our peers, but this sort of overall award is a stamp of approval that will go a long way toward making the long hours and extra effort we make worthwhile.”

“I’m very proud of our team here at The Recorder,” said Publisher Dennis Skoglund.

“We have been investing in our future here in Franklin County, converting to a new publishing system and revising our Internet product, and that’s put a strain on everyone — people have been working very hard to make the transition.

“This confirmation of the quality of this newspaper couldn’t come at a better time for all of us.”

The jury for the contest consisted of approximately 100 readers from across New England, selected from among those who answered newspaper ads placed around the region. Those volunteers were then winnowed down after filling out a questionnaire and then gathered at a central location to judge the entries.

According to NENPA, they represented all age and ethnic groups, and included regular and occasional newspaper readers.

“I’m particularly pleased because of the way NENPA chose to judge the newspapers — not by journalism professors or other editors, but by asking ordinary readers to compare the final product and make a determination of which one they like best, and would like to read on a regular basis,” said Blagg.

“That’s the real test of any newspaper.”

The presentation of the awards took place at the organization’s fall meeting, held in Natick Thursday.

The Recorder is owned by Newspapers of New England, a family run group that includes several dailies and one weekly. Other NNE newspapers were also selected for awards by the regional association.

Both the Daily Hampshire Gazette of Northampton and the Valley News of White River Junction, Vt., were awarded Publick Occurrences Awards for Outstanding Journalism. The award is named for the first newspaper published in America, printed in Boston in 1690.

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