LAKE PLACID - The Lake Placid News took home three awards this past weekend from the New York Press Association's 2016 Better Newspaper Contest at the organization's annual conference in Saratoga Springs, including first place for the Sharon R. Fulmer Award for Community Leadership.
At the awards dinner Saturday evening, April 8, News Publisher Cathy Moore helped hand out certificates and plaques to the winners and she hugged Editor Andy Flynn after giving him the first-place Community Leadership award. Flynn entered the newspaper's USA Luge Operation Home Team community service project for the category.
"Staff did a thorough job of identifying the issue, issuing a call to action, providing a solution and then seeing the cause all the way through," judges from the North Carolina Press Association said in their comments. "Newspaper did more than prod Lake Placid leaders. It worked with and worked on USA Luge to keep the organization in Lake Placid."
USA Luge Executive Director Jim Leahy and Lake Placid News Editor Andy Flynn Monday, April 10 pose with the Sharon R. Fulmer Award for Community Leadership. The newspaper won the award in the New York Press Association's 2016 Better Newspaper Contest for its USA Luge Operation Home Team community service project.
(Provided photo — Gordy Sheer)
With USA Luge's May 14, 2016 deadline of deciding whether to stay in Lake Placid or move its headquarters to Park City, Utah, the Lake Placid News launched a five-month campaign in January 2016 - including news stories, editorials, media sponsorship and a community care package for athletes - to raise the awareness of USA Luge's financial needs and remind the movers and shakers in Albany that they could lose USA Luge if they did not invest in Lake Placid's Olympic venues. After the campaign concluded, USA Luge decided to stay in Lake Placid.
Citing the newspaper's ongoing support, USA Luge CEO Jim Leahy's first phone call, after his board of directors' decision, was made to Flynn. Afterward, USA Luge media specialist Sandy Caligiore emailed the editor, "Many thanks for your support in this process. It was integral in getting the attention of the right people. We greatly appreciate that help."
The Community Leadership award is the only one in the Better Newspaper Contest to come with a cash prize. The winner receives a plaque and a $500 contribution to the community project or charity of their choice.
"I'm just happy Operation Home Team helped raise the awareness of USA Luge in Albany, and I'm thrilled they're staying in Lake Placid and getting the financial support they need," Flynn said. "I'm also grateful to the New York Press Association and judges for recognizing our Community Leadership project. It's always nice to be recognized by your peers."
The $500 contribution will be made to USA Luge to help the team prepare for its participation in the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
"USA Luge is extremely grateful to Andy and the Lake Placid News for all their support over the years," Leahy said Monday, April 10. "Their commitment to the community, and to USA Luge specifically, shows how important the paper is to our area. We congratulate them on the well-earned honor received from NYPA and furthermore thank Andy for donating his monetary award to support our athletes as we prepare for the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea."
The Community Leadership award was established in 2008 in recognition of the countless hours that Sharon R. Fulmer devoted to community service. As the co-editor of The Review in Liverpool, New York, she served as president of the NYPA board of directors in 2004.
Flynn also won honorable mentions for Editorial Writing and Sports Feature for his coverage on the 2016 Miracle on Ice Fantasy Camp.
"The fact that this story didn't place in the top three should show how strong this competition was," judges commented on the fantasy camp story. "This was a phenomenal piece ... one that I'm sure was a blast to write."
Founded in 1853, the New York Press Association represents more than 800 weekly and daily newspapers published in New York state. In all, 184 newspapers submitted 2,957 entries for the 2016 Better Newspaper Contest, competing for awards in 67 categories plus the Newspaper of the Year (The Sag Harbor Express), Stuart C. Dorman Award for Editorial Excellence (The Sag Harbor Express) and the John J. Evans Award for Advertising Excellence (The Sag Harbor Express).