The Arizona Newspaper Association this weekend declared the Payson Roundup the best non-daily newspaper in Arizona for the 10th year in a row.
And we’re very happy about that — but we have a small confession.
We’ve been getting credit for the good work of others for far too long.
So here it is.
Oh, we took all the photographs and wrote all the stories. And we do have a wonderful team of folks here at the paper. The award included the advertising department, but encompassed the work of everyone from the front desk to the press room.
But still, we had an unfair advantage.
It’s you guys: Our readers — and the people who live in Rim Country.
Seriously — how could we fail to impress those glinty-eyed, out-of-state judges when writing about the people in this remarkable community?
So naturally, Sports Editor Max Foster won three first place awards writing about the Longhorns and the other teams playing with such grit and heart. Aren’t they playing for the state championship here soon? How could we go wrong?
And it frankly seems unfair for Teresa McQuerrey to win an award for her series on hospice care, when the patients and caregivers deserve all the real credit. We just put into words what they do every day.
And how could Dennis Fendler, when he is not running the Roundup’s press, not win for the best sports photograph when he’s sitting there waiting for the riders to come out of the chute at the World’s Oldest Continuous Rodeo?
And how could Tom Brossart not win both the feature photograph and photo layout categories, with the people and places of the Rim Country to photograph?
So how could we not sweep the news feature category, when we had a chance to write about the Tonto Creek Hatchery, Audrie Harrison and Payson wrestlers.
We probably should have hung our heads, refused the awards and expressed sympathy for all those other struggling journalists who are covering less interesting communities with less wonderful residents.
Alas, we didn’t.
We just marched up there grinning and accepted the awards on behalf of this community — and didn’t say one single thing about how wonderful it is to cover such a place.
Truthfully — we didn’t want to make them feel any worse.