A great night for the little Herald

The greatest reward a newspaper editor can receive is a compliment from a reader. Same goes for reporters, photographers, etc. … etc. …
This is the God’s honest truth … I’m not just writing this to butter you up. It’s been a tough year for The Herald, what with this devil of an economy, but the long hours we put in to create this product become “worth it” when the readers acknowledge the effort.
Yes, we make mistakes. And yes, some of you absolutely love pointing them out. But don’t worry … I love you, too.
Aside from the praise or criticism from our readers, we have very few other ways of telling whether we’re doing a good job. Circulation numbers have long been a barometer for this, but even the nation’s greatest newspapers are losing readers. While fewer of you may not be buying The Herald, more of you, it seems, are reading us thanks to Web page, Facebook, Twitter and whatever else we seem to be posting to these days.
Perhaps the second greatest compliment we can receive comes from our peers. So you can understand the joy we’re feeling this week after taking home a Herald-record 14 awards from the North Carolina Press Association. Our previous best was nine — from last year — and before that, the best year The Herald has had is seven awards.
The 14 awards range from feature writing to our increasing online coverage … editorials to photography. How it works, each year North Carolina newspapers — dailies and weeklies — are asked to submit their best work in a number of categories … about 20 overall. The papers are broken down into divisions — A being the small weeklies, B the mid-sized weeklies, C the larger multi-weeklies, D the smaller daily newspapers, E the mid-sized dailies and E the big boys (Raleigh, Charlotte, Fayetteville and others).
We’re D — meaning we compete with newspapers with circulations at 15,000 readers or fewer. Our circulation is between 9,000 and 10,000 daily, and many of our competitors (about 20 overall in this division) are closer to the 15,000 range. Some of them have newsrooms twice our size.
Of those in our division, only the Shelby Star had more awards, with 19. We topped Elizabeth City, which had 11.
This year’s banquet, held at the Dean Dome in Chapel Hill for reasons I’m still trying to comprehend, brought together the prize-winning journalists from all papers. It’s kind of like our Oscars, except without the long speeches, red carpet, designer dresses, tuxedos, comedy and overproduction.
In other words, it’s nothing like the Oscars.
But The Herald was well represented, and when our 14 awards were announced, it was a proud moment for all of us. And we hope for our readers as well.
So why should it be important to you?
When it comes down to it, whether or not you’re happy with The Herald is your opinion, and you can base that opinion on anything you want.
But we think our NCPA showing the last few years proves that in cities our size, you won’t find many newspapers that are doing it better. Sure, we don’t have the staff to compete with the Raleighs and Fayettevilles, which do sell papers in our market.
But they don’t have the Sanford and Lee County news we have. So there’s that.
And they don’t an R.V. Hight, who won his first first-place writing award in his 30-plus-year history at The Herald this year.
And who doesn’t love R.V. Hight?
I want to thank our readers who continue to subscribe and support The Herald and its advertisers. We’re committed to producing a good product, one that we hope you’re proud of and satisfied with.


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