Sweet 17 for winning Sun staff
The Anna Maria Island Sun has won first place in its division for Best Overall Performance in the statewide 2012 Florida Press Association Better Weekly Newspaper Contest.
Judged on its total number of first-, second- and third-place finishes, The Sun received the prestigious honor last week at the Florida Press Association/Florida Society of News Editors annual convention in Orlando.
The contest singles out The Sun’s year-long performance as the best among weekly newspapers in its class in the state of Florida. Division B includes all weeklies with circulations of 7,000 to 15,000.
Eight staff members combined for a record 17 awards this year, including six first place honors.
“It still hasn’t quite sunk in yet,” Sun publisher Mike Field said. “To be judged the best weekly newspaper in your statewide division is an honor I never dreamed of when we started the newspaper nearly 14 years ago. I am really proud of the staff, not just for the awards they won, but for the high quality of newspaper they produce every week on Anna Maria Island.”
The Sun was the only Island newspaper honored in the contest.
And the winners are:
• Sweepstakes Award for Overall Performance – first place.
• General Excellence – third place.
• Editorial – first place, for “Tap tourist tax for beach,” suggesting that the county use tourism resort tax funds allocated for marketing to clean and improve the beaches that attract tourists. Judge’s comment: Has a specific recommendation and builds the case for it well. It’s the kind of editorial that can accomplish something in a small town.”
• Feature Story (Profile) – first place, for “It’s a small world after all,” about neighbors and golfing buddies Jim Finn and Dick Rowse, who took an Honor Flight together and discovered they had been in the same World War II battles in Okinawa and Saipan. Judge’s comment: “A tight and engrossing profile that presents a fascinating story of youthful achievement made more poignant by present day challenges and coincidences.”
• Portfolio Photography – first place, for “Annual mullet run is on,” a mullet roundup by commercial fishermen; “Decisions, decisions,” picturing a white egret at an arrow in the road; “Kids find summer fun on the water,” with kids learning to surf; “Rescue me,” showing lifeguards in a water rescue training exercise; and “The colors of Christmas,” featuring a poinsettia farm’s crop. Judge’s comment: “Timing and angle on these shots are excellent…great work!”
• Agricultural and Environmental – second place, for “Manatees help scientists do research,” about hearing tests on manatees at Mote Marine Laboratory.
• Feature Photo – second place for “Decisions, decisions.” Judge’s comment: “How often would you see this happen? Great shot, great headline too!”
• Photo Series in an Issue – third place, for “Debby bruises Island,” showing the effects of Tropical Storm Debby on Island beaches. Judge’s comment: “The photographer was everywhere. Nice shots and layout.”
• Feature Story
(Profile) – second place, for “Kelly ready for new challenges,” about Executive Director Pierrette Kelly’s departure from the Anna Maria Island Community Center after 22 years. Judge’s comment: The writer depicts the journey of her subject in a manner that elicits empathy, admiration and hope for the future.”
• Arts, Entertainment and Review – third place, for “Art League shocker; Island Art League closes,” about the sudden, unexpected closing of a historic Island art institution. Judge’s comment: “Good headline; good lede – I’m sure this story was well-read.”
• Local Government Reporting – third place, for “Dogged reporting on a key moratorium proposal,” about temporary building moratorium proposed in response to short-term vacation rental problems in newly- constructed big-box houses in Anna Maria. Judge’s comment: “Dogged reporting on a key moratorium proposal.”
• Spot News Photo – first place, for “Right on cue,” picturing Tampa boaters trying to keep their boat upright during a storm in the Gulf. Judge’s comment: “Great shot. You can see how frantic the people were to get the boat righted.”
• Feature Story (Non-Profile) – second place, for “Ruling prince simply ‘The Man,’ ” about a cat that frequents three shopping centers where business owners feed him and pay for his medical care. Judge’s comment: “Captures the affection the community has for a cat that can’t be tied down to one place, but calls the entire commercial strip his home.”
• Feature Photo – first place, for “Bottle boaters,” capturing the fun of the DeSoto Bottle Boat Regatta in Palma Sola Bay. Judge’s comment: Looks like the kids had great fun! Photographer caught them just at the right moment. Great shot!”
• Outdoor and Recreation – second place, for “Tailor angling plan,” advising recreational fishermen to be flexible in their expectations as fishing conditions change. Judge’s comment: “Terrific page layout and graphics gave this piece an edge.”
• Spot News Photo – third place, for “Officials ponder beaches’ future,” an aerial photo showing brownish red algae blooms in the water on the bay side of the Island and a clear green Gulf side. Judge’s comment: “Wow….I’m surprised this didn’t make national news, the difference in the water is stunning.”
Mike Field, Ricardo Fonseca
• Overall Graphic Design – third place. Judge’s comment: Interesting page designs, nice breadth of coverage, fun read.”