NENI publications earn 17 Vermont Press Association awards

Journalists from New England Newspapers Inc.'s three publications in Vermont brought home a total of 17 first-, second- and third-place awards from the Vermont Press Association's annual member conference, held in Montpelier on Thursday.

The company earned four, first-place awards for 2016-17, and the Bennington Banner finished second to the Burlington Free Press among all Vermont dailies for general excellence.

The Brattleboro Reformer led the way for NENI `s three Vermont newspaper publications with 11 awards, including first-place honors for political columnist Becca Balint and photographer Kristopher Radder.

The Reformer's columnists swept all three awards in the daily political column category, with columns by Peter "Fish" Case and Balint placing second and third, respectively.

The Bennington Banner and Manchester Journal each won a first-place award for editorial writing, with Vermont managing editor Greg Sukiennik, writing for the Journal, and former Banner day editor Keith Whitcomb Jr. earning top honors.

The Banner, Reformer and Journal won five of six editorial writing awards for 2016-17, with Reformer Day Editor Bob Audette winning second and third place in daily editorial writing and Sukiennik getting a third-place nod for the Journal.

Entries were submitted in September and were judged by members of the New York and Maine state press associations. The awards were presented by VPA President Adam Silverman of the Burlington Free Press and VPA Executive Director Michael Donoghue, formerly of the Free Press, following the group's annual meeting and a lunch address by Gov. Phil Scott.

NENI's Vermont journalists have enjoyed success in industry contests in 2017. At the New England Newspaper Press Association awards in October, the Reformer's Radder won a Publick Occurrences award and the Journal was named a weekly newspaper of distinction.

NENI Executive Editor Kevin Moran represented the three newspapers at the conference, along with Sukiennik and NENI board member and former Reformer, Banner and Journal publisher Martin Langeveld.

"That our Vermont papers took home 17 awards for journalistic excellence shows that we are on track toward achieving our goals of becoming the finest local newspapers anywhere," Moran said. "This is a testament to the exceptional efforts put forth on a daily basis by our staff writers, photographers and contributors. Our work here is not done, and these awards only fuel our desire and commitment to serve our readers as best we can."

"We served notice on Thursday that journalism is alive and well in Southern Vermont," Sukiennik added. "While winning awards is secondary to our primary goals of serving our communities and upholding the First Amendment, we are proud to have been recognized among our peers for excellence. These honors will only encourage our newspapers in the pursuit of greatness."

New England Newspapers Inc., headquartered in Pittsfield, Mass., was purchased by a group local investors from DigitalFirst Media in 2016. The company also publishes The Berkshire Eagle and UpCountry magazine.


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