OVN named nation's best newspaper
Inland Press Foundation has named the Ojai Valley News as the
nation's best non-daily newspaper in the 5,000-and-under circulation
The award was given at the Weekly Publishers Conference awards
banquet at the Hilton East Hotel in Tucson on Friday. The OVN
was selected from among 90 of the nation's top non-daily newspapers
from 32 states. Bret Bradigan, OVN editor and publisher, represented
the newspaper at the ceremony.
Judges included David Nelson, co-chair of Northwestern University's
Medill School of Journalism; Patricia Colander, editor and publisher
of Lake Magazine; and William Roesgen, a retired editor and publisher.
According to the awards notification, "The judging decisions
were based on the newspaper's ability to attract readership,
its design for readability, its efforts to provide good community
coverage, and the presentation of quality writing and execution."
Bradigan said it was extremely gratifying to win the award, and
a "wonderful reflection on the quality of our small, but
extremely dedicated and talented, staff."
Three newspaper issues were selected for judging; two were judges'
selection and the remaining issue was up to the discretion of
the newspaper. "Those issues the judges selected just fortuitously
happened to match up to two of our strongest issues," Bradigan
said. One of those issues, published Sept. 11, 2002, included
an eight-page special section about Ojai's remembrance of the
Twin Towers tragedy. That issue contained more than 40 separate
contributions from the people of Ojai, including local photographer
Joe Sohm's poignant images of New York City.
"In a very real sense this is an award we are happy to credit
to the people of Ojai," said Bradigan.
Lenny Roberts, managing editor and 12-year veteran of the OVN
staff, agreed, but cited the staff's dedication and committment
to prevail as equal factors in winning the coveted award.
"When Bret took over the reins a little more than two years
ago, he set high goals for all of us, one of which was to be
the best we could be. Being named the best newspaper in the country
for our size is something for which we have all strived, and
is, indeed, a true honor. Our experienced editorial, production,
advertising and circulation staff is a very close-knit family
and a true part of the Ojai lifestyle. But we will not rest on
our laurels, and our intent is to only get better."
Judges' commented that the OVN has a "solid blend of good
local stories in each section - news, sports, business and arts
- with clean design and clear writing."
Second place was won by the The Aspinwall Herald in Pennsylvania;
third place was won by Windsor Beacon in Colorado.
Other winners were as follows. Circulation 5,001 to 10,000: First
place, Pilot & Today, Steamboat Springs, Colorado; second
place, Andover Townsman, Mass.; third place, Frontiersman, Wasilla,
Alaska. Circulation more than 10,000: First place, Portland Tribune,
Oregon; second place, Chicago Journal, Illinois; third place,
Peninsula Gateway, Gig Harbor, Wash.
The Ojai Valley News
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