The Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber won three awards this year in the annual Better Newspaper Contest, put on by the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association (WNPA).
The Beachcomber’s awards were in first place for community service advertising for this year’s Earth Day; first prize for the art review, “Respect Your Elders: Longtime Artists Shine in a Show,” (Sept. 27, 2018) written by Arts Editor Liz Shepherd and second prize in investigative reporting for another article she wrote, “Arts center answers a $6 million question,” (June 19, 2018).
Shepherd’s “Respect Your Elders” piece was about “Festival 25: Catch Us While You Can,” a celebration of artists and musicians who have lived on Vashon for 25 years or longer. The “$6 million question” article was about how the Vashon Center for the Arts cashed out a trust it said it would use to keep the center functioning.
Kevin Opsahl, The Beachcomber’s new editor, praised Shepherd for her reporting.
“As our arts editor, Liz knows how to put a stamp on this eclectic beat,” he said. “But she also knows how to be a watchdog, as in watchdog reporting. Liz’s efforts remind us of the role that small community newspapers play in shining a light on the workings of our local institutions.”
The Beachcomber, the weekly newspaper of record for the island, has been the recipient of numerous WNPA awards in previous years.
The WNPA is a statewide newspaper advocacy organization with about 100 publications, which includes The Beachcomber and its parent company Sound Publishing, as members. Every year, the organization judges among its members which newspapers had the best advertising, news, photography and special sections. Judges also provide awards to WNPA newspapers in a general excellence category.
The Beachcomber, founded in 1957, had numerous independent owners until 1995 when it was sold to Sound Publishing.
Sound Publishing has close to 50 newspapers to its name, with publications located in Washington and Alaska. The company has a print circulation of over 661,000 from all its newspapers combined and over 2 million online viewers. Sound employs more than 600 people in over 30 locations in the Pacific Northwest.