The Payson Roundup was named Arizona Newspaper of the Year for nondailies the second consecutive year the local newspaper has been awarded the state's highest honor.
The Rim Review also was named the state's Best Newspaper Supplement/Magazine by the Arizona Newspapers Foundation at its annual awards ceremony Saturday, Oct. 14.
The Roundup also won a number of first-place awards for its size category in the statewide competition, judged this year by the Kansas Press Association and the Missouri Press Association. They included General Excellence, General/ Departmental News Coverage, Page Design Excellence, and Community Service/Journalistic Achievement.
Individual first-place honors were won by Mike Burkett (Best News Story for "Ranching's Last Roundup?"), Max Foster (Best Team Sports Beat Coverage for Longhorn football), editor Katy Whitehouse (Best Lifestyle Feature Story for "Out with the Owls"), and publisher Richard Haddad (Best News Photograph for a shot of a brother and sister at a concert in the park). Haddad, Whitehouse, Foster and Rim Review editor Jerry Thebado also won a number of second- and third-place awards for writing and photography.
Haddad, who accepted the awards on behalf of the Roundup staff, said, "The Roundup has now received the first-place general excellence award in our category three years in a row, and that's exciting enough. But to be selected as the best nondaily newspaper in the state for a second year is a real compliment to the team we have here.
"It takes a dedicated group of hometown people to produce a quality hometown paper," Haddad said. "I'm honored to be working with them."
While the Roundup was competing against other nondailies, The Rim Review won over all supplements in the state, including The Arizona Republic's "The Rep" and the East Valley Tribune's "Get Out."
"I talked to the press association staff after the awards," Haddad said, "and they said the judges felt The Rim Review is easy to read, enjoyable and has the small-town charm the big supplements just don't have."
Haddad also praised the individual award winners. "Katy Whitehouse, Jerry Thebado and Max Foster have been around for many years, and they are the backbone of our newsroom. They have extensive knowledge of this community and that historical perspective is what makes their stories so insightful."
Burkett, who is about to celebrate his one-year anniversary with the paper, earned special mention from Haddad.
"Michael was a published author and a syndicated columnist before he came here, so his writing style was very different from hard news," he said. "What he has demonstrated here is the ability to get to the heart of a news story, to reach in and bring out the human element whether it's the story of Tess and Freddie, or a child who is battling cancer, or the ranchers who are struggling to hold on to their heritage."
But Haddad stressed that it takes every member of the team to put out a quality newspaper. "We have a real unique group of people here people who are self-educated, who switched careers, who have worked in three or four different newspaper departments just the right mix of people who are able to produce a useful, enjoyable community newspaper.
"My personal philosophy," Haddad continued, "is to strive to produce the best product we can, to recognize the value of the people who are making that product and the value of the people who use that product. The paper wouldn't be here if it weren't for the people who read it and the advertisers who support it because they know people are reading it.
Here is a complete list of honors received by the Payson Roundup at the Arizona Newspaper Convention:
Arizona Newspaper of the Year - First Place
General Excellence Award - First Place
General/Departmental News Coverage - First Place
Page Design Excellence - First Place
Community Service/Journalistic Achievement - First Place
Newspaper Supplement/ Magazine - First Place, The Rim Review
Editorial Page Excellence - Second Place
Best Use of Photography - Third Place
Special Sections - Honorable Mention
Best News Story - First Place to Michael Burkett for "Ranching's Last Roundup?"
Best Team Sports Beat Coverage - First Place to Max Foster for local football coverage
Best Lifestyle Feature Story - First Place to Katy Whitehouse for a feature about Mexican Spotted Owls
Best News Photograph - First Place to Richard Haddad for a photo of a brother and sister at a concert in the park
Best Sports Story - Second Place to Max Foster for a story about a local all-star competition
Best News Story - Third Place to Katy Whitehouse for a story about a fire that destroyed an historic saloon
Best Sustained Coverage or Series - Third Place to Jerry Thebado for a series on the shooting of Payson Police Officer Allen Dyer
Best News Feature Story - Third Place to Jerry Thebado for a story on Hospice called "Death with Dignity"
Best Column, Analysis/Commentary - Honorable Mention to Katy Whitehouse for a Y2K review and reflective commentary
Best News Photograph - Honorable Mention to Richard Haddad for a photo of the scene where Officer Dyer was being treated after a gunshot wound.