Commitment. Consistency. Community.

Michael Bush

June 8, 2014

Commitment. Consistency. Community.

These were the key elements enabling 20 Civitas Media journalists to win 40 awards May 18, during the Ohio APME Newspaper Awards banquet, headlined by general excellence success at the Troy Daily News and Lima News.

Last year marked the eighth straight year the Lima News has won 20 or more AP awards and the 11th time in the last 13 years it placed in general excellence.

Not only are these newspapers considered by the contest results to be leaders for their circulation size in the state, but they’re also leaders in our company. We strive for nothing less than general excellence every year and these awards simply underscore the deep commitment we have to serving our local communities and practicing quality community journalism.

Ohio isn’t the only place where our vision is proving successful. We have many award-winning journalists across the country including the Wilkes-Barre (Pa.) Times Leader, which swept America East’s 2014 Digital Media Quality Awards, taking home more honors than any media outlet in the country.

We are proud of our journalists. They do important work and are one of the pillars of a free, open society.

We are the preeminent source of local news in our community and to that end we want to tell stories that resonate with people like yourself. We want to tell stories that matter; stories that effect change.

You can ask any good journalism graduate why they went into the industry and they’ll almost always tell you one of two things: “I like to tell stories” or “I want to make a difference in my community.”

Those are the type of people we have in our newsrooms. They’re principled and well grounded.

But more importantly they care about getting it right. They take pride in what they do and that’s telling your story.

David Fong is the local expert on sports in Troy, Ohio. There is no denying that. He is the face of the Troy Daily News and a great representative of our company. Fong will continue to win awards. He has more than 50 under his belt and this year the sports department — which also was led by Josh Brown in 2013 — was named the tops in the state.

The Piqua Daily Call’s series on the 1913 Flood won an award for best explanatory reporting, which cuts to the very heart of what we do as journalists. We take community issues and explain what they mean to the average citizen and our vision is much the same for 2014.

We want our newsrooms to be partners with the local community. However, we’re also challenging them to tell stories in a more robust manner. Just like three-dimensional movies, we want all elements to come together to tell a rich, vibrant story.

If you haven’t explored our digital platforms, we encourage you to do so. Heather Rutz and David Trinko in Lima are so adept at telling stories in other ways that they took first place in the multi-media category of the contest. They’re not alone either in understanding our future.

Lora Abernathy, at the Wilmington News Journal, also won a first place in the multi-media category for telling the story of the arrest of former village of Martinsville elected officials embezzling more than $100,000 of taxpayer money for personal use.

We also want our newsrooms to tell local stories using more photographs. Luke Gronneberg at the Sidney Daily News is doing just that, as evidenced by his award for feature photography. And we want more writers who understand local business issues, like Dustin Ensinger at the Delaware Gazette.

If you’re interested in the future of your local newsroom, then we encourage you to contact your local manager and set up a time to talk. If you have a news tip, if you think we’re lacking in our coverage, or if you simply want to tell them “good job,” then we encourage you to do that also.

Michael Bush is President and CEO of Civitas Media.