By Scott Robertson
Every year around this time, the publisher of Johnson City News & Neighbor, Bill Derby, writes an article recognizing members of this publication’s staff for the awards they have earned at the Independent Free Papers of America – Southeastern Advertising Publishers Association Conference. This year the honor of recognizing our staff’s fine work falls to me because for Bill, modesty forbids.
Continuing a four-year run for News & Neighbor, Bill received first place in a Best Original Writing category: Personal Column. Bill’s June 29, 2016 column entitled “Learning Geography the Hard Way,” a recollection of Miss King’s 1958 North Side Elementary School sixth-grade geography class, brought home that award. Bill’s many regular readers will no doubt be pleased to see his work honored, as his humorous columns have brought smiles to their faces every week for years.
News & Neighbor’s graphics and production team of Judd Shaw and Paula Giovanetti Godwin received three honors, including one of particular note. They brought home the award for Front Page Design, the highest design award given for editorial design this year. The winning entry was the March 2, 2016 issue, which featured the front page stories, “Moms’ club brings the world to Towne Acres second-graders” and “Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome: Long road ahead as region grapples with epidemic.” Photographs used in that front-page layout of Yumi Smith, Huili Hong and Dumisa Nyarambi; as well as a photo of Dr. William Devoe; were shot by Staff Writer Sarah Colson, who penned both stories.
News & Neighbor also received first place in the category of Promotion, Guide or Planner, Separate Section for the Family Owned Business special section published Aug. 19, 2015. The cover story featured Snyder’s Memorial Gardens.
Finally, Shaw was honored with a second place award for the creation of an Internet banner ad for the Johnson City Symphony Orchestra’s concert featuring banjo virtuoso Bela Fleck. The ad, which ran on jcnewsandneighbor.com in the weeks leading up to the show, was subtle and sophisticated, and was part of a marketing campaign that led to tickets for that particular concert selling out.
Derby said of the awards, “Our staff works so hard on each edition trying to include the best stories and photography, sometimes we forget to enjoy what we publish. The awards our people earn year after year give us the opportunity to see our efforts recognized by the industry. I am so proud of our talented writers, graphic artists and sales department who put it all together, it’s a total team effort. A special thanks to our advertising customers who support our paper and make publishing possible. We try hard each week to publish a newspaper that mirrors our community.”
This year exactly 1,000 entries were submitted in the IFPA Awards from publications in the United States and Canada. And, as in years past, the IFPA Awards this year have recognized News & Neighbor as being among the top papers in North America in the fields of layout and design, photography, advertising quality, print quality and editorial content.
Only three other publications took home as many honors as News & Neighbor. Our congratulations go out to the Southeast Sun in Alabama, Winona Post in Minnesota and to PFW Publications in Kaslo, British Columbia for their fine work. Those companies clearly share our passion to constantly improve their publications in order to better serve their communities.
As always, we thank you, our readers for the opportunity to present to you the good news of Johnson City and Washington County. While we are grateful for the recognition bestowed by this association of our peer publications, it is your weekly decision to bring us into your homes, to patronize our advertisers, and to share your stories with us that reinforces our passion week after week. We look forward to seeing you again next Wednesday.