Yes, I'm a bottom-feeding blogger. I'm more suited to diving head first into garbage cans, looking for dirt, than wearing a suit and acting all dignified. But the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association has just handed me a major award. Believe it or not, it's for journalism.
In this year's Keystone Press Awards, I've been awarded first place for investigative reporting. This is for my stories about Northampton County full-time Controller, Steve Barron. He was caught playing hooky at Northampton Community College three days a week in the middle of the work day. Twelve hours a week. Barron eventually quit his teaching gig.
Actually, there were 11 major awards for my newspaper, The Bethlehem Press. It's a small weekly that was up against powerhouses like The Abington Journal and Dillsburg Banner. We won our division sweepstakes with 11 awards total.
Believe it or not, this is my second major award. I got one last year for my NIZ stories.
Other Bethlehem Press winners include the following:
Jason Rehm - First place - column writing
Mark Reccek - Second place column writing (for Whitehall-Coply Press)
Staff (Dana Grubb, Nate Jastrzemski, George Taylor) - Second place - JFK special project
Bud Cole - Honorable mention - sports columns (Focus)
Paul Willistein - Second place - news feature story
Paul Willistein - First place - headline writing
Nate Jastrzemski - First place - business story
Carol Smith - Second place - business writing
Karen Samuels - Honorable mention - feature beat reporting
Linda Anthony - First place - photo story
Ed Courrier - First place- graphics/illustrations
The Morning Call is in a much more competitive division. It's more like NCAA Division 1. The paper still grabbed six awards for sports coverage and design.
The Express Times picked up three major awards, too. Brad Wilson, whom I've never met but whose breezy sports stories are the best I've ever seen anywhere, picked up a second place in sports beat reporting that should have been a first. I hope the fame doesn't go to his head.
All award winners get a real heavy plaque.