On Saturday afternoon, Arizona Newspapers Association executive director John Fearing looked across a room of journalists from around the state and called the name of Payson Roundup publisher Richard Haddad.
"Richard," Fearing said, "how many years in a row has the Roundup won Arizona Newspapers Association's Non-Daily Newspaper of the Year?"
"Seven," Haddad said.
"Well, why don't you come up here and make it eight."
The Roundup accepted the award alongside the East Valley Tribune which received the 2006 ANA Daily Newspaper of the Year for the third year in a row.
The award is earned over the year through receiving the highest honors in the ANA's Better Newspapers Contest and the Excellence in Advertising competition.
The Excellence in Advertising awards were presented in the spring and the Roundup ranked high in nearly every category for its circulation size -- 3,500-10,000 readers.
"It's hard to describe just how proud I am of the entire Roundup team," Haddad said. "They work so hard every day, many times behind the scenes, to put out the best community newspaper in the state. I'm proud to be associated with them."
Beyond winning the Newspaper of the Year award, the editorial team of the Payson Roundup took home 28 additional awards from Saturday's ceremony.
Staff writer Felicia Megdal won first place for her in-depth reporting in the article, "Arizona, Gila County rank high for suicides."
Sports writer Max Foster won first place for his profile of the career of coach Dennis Pirch in "Payson coach honored for lifetime of service."
Publisher Richard Haddad took home a first place award in news feature writing for the story, "Payson girl's death brings life to others" about Payson High School student Kayla Floyd whose organ donation was able to save the lives of others after her tragic death in an automobile accident.
Teresa McQuerrey was awarded first place for Best Lifestyle Feature for "Payson men help Kenyans get first fresh water."
Carol La Valley took home second place in the same category for "Baby arrives before midwife, EMTs." She also won second place for her Rim Review column "I'd rather be a Lady Longhorn than an Appleknocker."
The ANA awards come in the same month as the Inland Press Awards, in which the Roundup also did well.
The Inland Press Association announced its award recipients in early October. Inland is a nonprofit association of more than 800 newspapers nationwide.
Among the awards was first place to Felicia Megdal for her feature on the motorcycle culture in Rim Country titled, "Incarnation of a '60s freedom lifestyle." The article ran with a photo package by Roundup photographer Jason Pettifield.
The Roundup also received second place for the Roundup's six-part series, "Affordable Housing: Crisis or Catch Phrase," and second place for editorial writing.
Receiving national and state awards is a motivational tool for the staff of the Roundup. It re-energizes the employees for another year of researching, watching, listening, and writing about the community.
"When someone picks up a copy of the Roundup, we want them to have the best community newspaper possible," Haddad said. "That's always our goal. These awards are a benchmark to measure our progress toward that goal."
Complete list of awards
2006 Arizona Newspaper of the Year
During the association's annual conference Oct. 14, the Roundup staff earned a record 28 additional news excellence awards including:
First Place: General Excellence
First Place: Reporting and News Writing Excellence
Third Place: Departmental News/Copy Editing Excellence
Second Place: Page Design Excellence
First Place: Editorial Page Excellence
First Place: Best Use of Photography
First Place: Community Service/Journalistic Achievement
Third Place: Best Special Section (2006 Progress Edition)
First Place: Best Newspaper Web site (payson.com)
Individual Excellence Awards:
First Place: Best News Story: "Arizona, Gila County rank high for suicides" by Felicia Megdal
Third Place: Best News Story: "Racing the yellow light" by Richard Haddad
First Place: Best Sports Story: "Payson coach honored for lifetime of service" by Max Foster
Third Place: Best Sports Story: "Toss of coin turns bad for Horns" by Max Foster
Third Place: Best Team, Sport or Sports Beat coverage: "Horns clip Falcons in Homecoming upset" by Max Foster
First Place: Best News Feature: "Payson girl's death brings life to others" by Richard Haddad
Second Place: Best News Feature: "Convicted sex offender speaks out" by Felicia Megdal
First Place: Best Lifestyle Feature: "Payson men help Kenyans get first fresh water" by Teresa McQuerrey
Second Place: Best Lifestyle Feature: "Baby arrives before midwife, EMTs" by Carol La Valley
Honorable Mention: Best Lifestyle Feature: "Art show sheds light on dyslexia's dark world" by Felicia Megdal
First Place: Best Column/Analysis Commentary: "A bugle, a bus and a boy who thought he knew" by Richard Haddad
Second Place: Best Column, Feature or Criticism: "I'd rather be a Lady Longhorn than an Appleknocker" by Carol La Valley
Third Place: Best Column, Feature or Criticism: "Question not how she died, but ask how she lived" by Richard Haddad
Second Place: Best News Photograph: "Fighting fire with foam" by Richard Haddad
Second Place: Best Feature Photograph: "Shall we dance" by Richard Haddad
Third Place: Best Feature Photograph: "Our children are drowning in the bottle" by Richard Haddad
Honorable Mention: Best Feature Photograph: "Bear found near Rumsey Park destroyed" by Richard Haddad
Honorable Mention: Best Feature Photograph: "Thanksgiving Reader Challenge" by Richard Haddad
Honorable Mention: Best Feature Photo Layout: "Cats Claw Lady Horns" by Richard Haddad
2006 ANA advertising honors awarded in May:
First Place: General Excellence
First Place: Best Black and White Ad
Second Place: Best Ad Series, Black and White
Second Place: Best Ad Series, Color
First Place: Most Effective Use of Small Space
Second Place: Best Classified Section
Second Place: Best Special Section
First Place: Best Web Site Ad
First Place: Best Newspaper Promotion
Second Place: Best Classified Promotion
First Place: Best Public Service Ad
2006 National Honors
2006 Inland Press Association
National newspaper honors awarded Oct. 16. 2006 in Chicago:
Second Place: Editorial Excellence Award: Editorials by Autumn Phillips, Richard Haddad and Payson Roundup editorial board
Third Place: Best Front Page Design
Second Place: News Writing -- Explanatory Reporting: Affordable housing six-part series by Payson Roundup news team
First Place: News Writing -- Personality/Individual Profile Story: "Incarnation of a ‘60s freedom lifestyle" by Felicia Megdal
Third Place: News Picture Contest -- Illustrative Photography: "Teen Drinking" by Richard Haddad