News & Neighbor takes second place in national competition


Johnson City News & Neighbor was named first runner-up for the Vic Jose General Excellence Award at the international meeting of the Independent Free Papers of America Sept. 26 in San Antonio, Texas. The award honors the top free community publication in North America. The first place General Excellence Award went to Arcadia News in Phoenix, Ariz.

In addition, News & Neighbor won four national awards this year. Scott Robertson’s April 22 column, “It’s not about fair…” won the award for Best Original Writing, Editorial. This marks the third straight year Robertson has won for best editorial. The first place award for Best Color Automotive Ad went to News & Neighbor for a Wallace Subaru of Johnson City ad created by Graphics Director Judd Shaw with assistance from Paula Giovanetti. The ad featured a Subaru Forester, a mother and an infant along with the tagline “Built to hold your most precious cargo.”

In addition, News & Neighbor took second place in Best Local Business Coverage for Jeff Keeling’s article on the Mountain States – Wellmont merger announcement. took third place in Best Internet Banner Ad for the Texas Tenors ad created for the Johnson City Symphony Orchestra.

Bill Derby, News & Neighbor publisher said, “When I was notified we were one of three finalists in the nation for the General Excellence award I was thrilled. Even though we came in second place to the Phoenix paper that averages over 70 pages per issue, it’s a great honor. Our team has worked so hard this year to make the Johnson City News & Neighbor a better community newspaper and it showed by placing second in the nation.” “The General Excellence award is very competitive since we can only enter two editions from months the judges select. We work every week towards making our paper better to serve our communities. Our goal has always been to present the best news that reflects all the good in our community. The General Excellence award shows we are meeting those goals.

“I would also like to congratulate Scott Robertson for again winning first place for his outstanding editorial. Scott’s thought-provoking editorials demonstrate a keen insight and love for his community as well as respect and knowledge for our government system and dedicated public servants,” Derby continued.

“Jeff Keeling won second place for his in-depth reporting on the Mountain States – Wellmont merger. Many of Jeff’s stories broke first in our newspaper, outpacing both the electronic and other local media.

“Jeff’s news sources are the best in the Tri-Cities and they trust him for his accurate and timely reports, both in our printed edition and online,” Derby said.

“The creativity and talent of Judd Shaw, our graphics director, were showcased in his design and layout for a Wallace Subaru half-page color ad and his web banner ad for the Johnson City Symphony. When national judges notice an ad designed in Johnson City, Tenn., that’s letting our advertisers know we have a talented staff, second to none.

“The General Excellence judges look at our whole publication: page layout, photography, advertising, news and feature stories, and printing quality. Our entire staff is responsible for this national honor and deserves the credit. I am very proud of them,” Derby concluded.

This year 987 entries were submitted for the IFPA Awards from publications in the United States and Canada.


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