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Daily Freeman Life Editor Ivan Lajara talks about journalism, living in the Hudson Valley, language, the Web, cats and even politics. But he shouldn't.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Awards season

The Grammy Awards are on Sunday and Beacon resident and folk legend Pete Seeger is up for one for his latest (and what he says will be his last) album, "At 89." And he's up against his half-sister, Peggy. Good luck to both of them.
Full disclosure: I'm rooting for Pete. And yes, I'm biased.
Also up for an award is Woodstock resident and master drummer Jack DeJohnette in the New Age category, for "Peace Time."

I'm giving you this reminder so I can shamelessly plug some awards the Freeman received on Friday by Suburban Newspapers of America, a not-for-profit, professional trade association which is made up of nearly 2,400 newspapers in the U.S. and Canada. Judging for the annual contest was done by the journalism department faculty of Loyola University Chicago.

Here are our winners:

* Best Arts and Entertainment Writing -- Feature ("At the Helm") Feb. 17, 2008, Bonnie Langston, first place;

* Best Feature Photo, "Uplifting Experience" by Tania Barricklo, first place;

* Best Headline -- ("The crimes, they are a-changin'") Aug. 3, 2008 by Ivan Lajara from a story by Blaise Schweitzer, second place;

* Best News Photo, "It's Great to be Home" by Tania Barricklo, third place;

* Best Environmental Coverage, Blaise Schweitzer for "Hot air?" (April 4, 2008); "From the ashes" (May 6, 2008); and "Troubled waters" (Aug. 17,2008); third place;

* Best Arts and Entertainment Writing -- Feature ("Film Leaves its Mark"), April 6, 2008, Bonnie Langston, third place;

* Best Arts and Entertainment Criticism/Commentary, March 17, 2008 ("For Carlin, age doesn't give him anything but an excuse") by Ivan Lajara, third place;

* Best Continuing Coverage, "Cold Case Cracked," from stories reported on May 10, 11, 14 and Aug. 10 and 13, by Paul Kirby, Kyle Wind, Ariel Zangla and Patricia Doxsey; honorable mention.

Some personal notes:

* Most news awards are bittersweet, as stories tend to be tragic in nature. The Martin case resonated with me personally, because I used to hang out with Joe's brother, Bill.

* My newsroom peeps are pretty humble. So you won't see them making a big deal out of their awards. Unfortunately for them, I'm not.

* The SNA misspelled "are" in the headline award, which will make a great memento if it's not caught when the organization makes the plate.

* As Freeman managing editor Tony Adamis pointed out in a staff meeting today, appreciation has to be given to the entire newsroom and, especially, to the faceless copy editors at the paper, who work tirelessly and never get any recognition because they work behind the scenes.

* Other newspapers that have published stories touting their awards get the usual snarky comments from loyal readers - and I'm pretty sure you're itching to write one down. So I'll spare you the writing. Here are some samples from comments taken from other newspapers when they reported their accomplishments.

1. "It's too bad they don't put more effort into their actual reporting and editing, because they're both crap."

2. "Ugh. OK. Here's the obligatory headline once again:
“Local Paper Touts Local Paper”
Now can I get back to my nap?"

3. "I'll type this so the staff will understand:
Congradulashuns. This is a overdo award. We our vary prowd to half ewe as are papar."

Feel free to add your own (we take nice comments, too).
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