General Excellence |

General Excellence

Don Rogers

For at least a few random, precious days, your Vail Daily was good enough to win a General Excellence award for daily papers with circulations between 10,000 and 100,000 throughout Colorado and Wyoming.

That’s not bad for the relative speck of a staff for a 14,000-circ paper that competes with newsrooms many times its size.

The Associated Press’ editors association for the two states bestowed the honor, a second place plaque, this year.

This is one to make a whole newsroom feel good, because it reflects the combined efforts of the entire staff. Judges looked at the stories, the photos, design, execution and their sense of the interest and relevance of editions from selected dates.

Sure, they were just journalists – not our real judges, who would be … you. And they caught us on good days this past year. Still, always nice to see good work recognized.

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Last year’s small pile of 14 or so plaudits dwindled this year to five – three for special sections, and one for photography in addition to overall excellence.

The award cycle is finicky. However deserving this year’s body of work was compared to last year’s in the judges’ eyes, the perspective in this corner was that the Daily did stronger, and more difficult, work this year.

The coverage of the Kobe Bryant case and Allen Best’s two-week series on Colorado water issues at the height of the drought in fall 2002 was the most solid in the state for breadth, depth, accuracy and context. But neither registered a blip with the judges, though objectively lesser work in the same categories won awards last year. Go figure. The feeling is not unlike when a referee misses a call you think shoulda coulda gone your way. In other words, get over it, and get back to work. That’s what counts in the end.

If bruises bloom

Don’t be surprised if the Kobe Bryant rape case turns on an O.J.-esque fit of the hand. A sort of “if the bruise fits, don’t be so quick to acquit” kind of deal.

How differently might a jury view other light injuries and a blood speck on a T-shirt if prosecutors are able to show measurements backing up the alleged victim’s recitation of the basketball star gripping her around the neck while raping her?

Bruising that was not visible the next morning may very well bloom with time. If it bloomed in synch with the defendant’s hand measurements, well, that evidence could be compelling indeed. Not saying this will happen, just deduction. But it is early for Mr. Bryant to be planning his next career move in the NBA.

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