Seven Days, Vermont’s free, independent newsweekly, won 14 first-place awards in this year’s New England Better Newspaper Competition, including top honors for its reporting and writing, website, headline writing, design and presentation, and video journalism. The paper also won nine second-place awards and four third-place awards — 27 total.
NENPA members submitted more than 3,000 entries, distributed among five categories: daily newspapers with circulation up to 30,000; daily newspapers with circulation more than 30,000; weekly newspapers with circulation up to 6,000; weekly newspapers with circulation more than 6,000; and specialty publications. Seven Days — which distributes 36,000 copies every week — competed against numerous other large New England weeklies.
Seven Days’ 14 first-place awards included:
• Three for “Stuck in Vermont” senior multimedia producer Eva Sollberger in the video categories. “A high-quality production with top-notch sound and graphics. A+!” wrote one contest judge. The winners were:
• Overall Design and Presentation, for the Seven Days design team. “Tops in presentation,” noted one judge.
• Crime and Courts Reporting for Mark Davis, for his “Death by Drugs” package that recounted fatal opiate overdoses in Vermont. A judge cited the “masterly article” that “brings home the opioid crisis by profiling 14 victims.”
• Local Personality Profile, also for Davis, for his story about former Vermont judge Ed Cashman, who was attacked for his handling of a sex offender’s case. “Details are rich and the pacing is excellent,” a judge wrote. “It is a solid, engaging and informative read.”
• Commentary, for political editor Paul Heintz, for “Rutland First: Vermont's Homegrown Opposition to Syrian Resettlement.” A judge concluded, “This examination of one group’s resistance to immigration was even-handed and made its points most effectively.”
• Arts & Entertainment reporting, for Dan Bolles, for “From Phish Shows to Breweries, Builder Russ Bennett Makes Magic.” Gushed a judge, “Storytelling devices he used created a smart and engaging piece packed with character and detail.”
• Human Interest Feature Story, for Sasha Goldstein. His “Lucky Bums” piece about Vermont’s pioneering skiing enthusiasts included “well-told profiles of the interesting characters whose lifelines made the region what it is,” a judge commented.
• Racial or Ethnic Issue Coverage, for Kymelya Sari, for her story, “Deaths Prompt Review of Safety, Swimming Programs for New Americans.” A judge called it a “well-written and enlightening report” that “brings together relevant voices and insights.”