Thursday, January 29, 2009

A good day at the day job

Wednesday night is usually my night to not think about The St. Louis American. Deadline has been met, the paper is at the printer, and there's not much that can happen in the next 24 hours that will still count as news by next Thursday.

But tonight I'm left lingering over the paper in a good way, owing to good things that all happened today. I'll share them in the order of impact.

The media rep for the Obama campaign who took such good care of our paper and who knows our value - who was hired for the transition team and then the inauguration team - has landed a job at The White House!

Leave it to Barack Obama to hire an African-American communications staffer who specializes in minority media! We are still one phone call away from Obama! We will still get the speeches before they are delivered, just like the big boys! I am very happy.

Relatedly, today our publisher, Donald M. Suggs, was admiring a spread in the conference room of all our major front pages about Obama, starting back in the spring of 2007. He called me in to look at them with him. He was proud. I was proud. We were a part of a history. We knew it.

He was talking about the little extra effort that goes into doing a job right, and that he sees me trying to put into the paper.

"It's like when you go for that far back stitch," he said (he's an oral surgeon). "The patient will heal without it, but it's better that they have it, so you peel the cheek back and dig back in there and you put in that far back stitch." I do indeed feel like I put in the far back stitch on the Obama campaign coverage.

And then there is this news:


(Jan 28, 2009) The St. Louis American has been named second best weekly newspaper in the nation by Inland Press Association, an industry association with more than 1,200 member newspapers.

“The purpose of the Inland Press Foundation's Nation's Best Weekly Newspaper Contest is to recognize non-daily newspapers' efforts in producing high-quality editorial material; presenting innovative, attractive packaging of that material; and serving their communities effectively as a source for news and information. The contest is open to all U.S. newspapers published for general circulation at least weekly but not more than three days per week.”

Judging criteria:
1. Quality of writing
2. Story Selection
3. Design and Presentation
4. Community Focus

Nation’s Best Weekly Newspapers
First Place The Taos News, Taos, NM
Second Place The St. Louis American, St. Louis, MO
Third Place Shawnee Dispatch, Shawnee, KS

Inland Press Association was founded in 1885, and is a pioneer in newspaper research and standards. (The American is not a member of Inland Press).


I often say I don't put any stock in awards - except the ones we win. Or the ones where we place second.

(Vintage newstand shot from The Library of Congress.)

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