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Voket Elected NENPA President, Bee Earns Awards At Winter Conference

Published: March 3, 2018

NENPA logo

BOSTON — Newtown Bee Associate Editor John Voket has been elected president of New England Newspaper & Press Association (NENPA).

NENPA represents more than 450 daily, weekly, and specialty newspapers across the six-state region. It is the professional trade organization for New England newspapers.

During the annual business meeting conducted February 24, NENPA Executive Director Linda Conway went over the association’s achievements during the past 12 months. She also led the election of the board for 2018-19, which included the nomination of Mr Voket as the association’s next president.

The full slate was elected without opposition.

Mr Voket steps into a post previously held by Michael E. Schroeder, editor and publisher of The Bristol Press and New Britain Herald, and publisher of The Chronicle in the Willimantic. The term is for one year.

Also elected to the board on Saturday were Jeff Peterson, from The Sun Chronicle in Massachusetts, as vice president; Phil Camp, from The Vermont Standard, treasurer; and Angelo Lynn, Addison Press (Vermont), secretary. In addition, Mr Schroeder is formally named past president on the board, and Devin Hamilton, publisher of The Journal Tribune in Maine, was also elected to the board.

Mr Voket remarked during the meeting that he has been attending NENPA events for nearly two decades. He joined the organization’s board of directors in 2011.

“It’s been a privilege and an incredibly interesting and rewarding journey that’s led me to where I am today, both in this business, which is so much more a calling than a job,” he said. “As president of NENPA this year, I hope to continue to play a role in not just maintaining but enhancing the relevance and value that NENPA brings to all our members, and hopefully even a few new ones out there who aren’t part of the fold yet.”

In closing his remarks, Mr Voket encouraged his colleagues to continue their individual pursuit of celebrating the fourth estate, even while President Trump continues to challenge members of the media on subjects large and small, real and imagined.

“As our President makes our industry and almost everyone in it the subjects of his ridicule, do not stop,” Mr Voket said. “Do not falter, and do not ever be dissuaded from continuing in the work we do proudly, responsibly, and bravely, with the full realization that each and every one of us makes a positive difference to the readers and communities we serve every day.”

The weekend of events, held at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel in South Boston, also included industry-focused workshops and panel discussions.

Mr Voket organized and presented two panels during the 2018 event. His Friday panel, “Stepping In — Have Mass Casualty Incidents Altered the Ethics of On Scene Involvement?” examined whether journalists should become involved assisting injured subjects who may present during coverage of mass casualty incidents.

That workshop also featured a “Stop the Bleed” training session with AMR EMT, instructor, and photojournalist Jeremy Rodorigo of Beacon Falls, Conn.

The goal of Mr Voket’s Saturday workshop, “Reporting On The Disability Beat,” was to help journalists reporting on disabled individuals — who make up about 20 percent of community populations — to do so with greater sensitivity, effectiveness, and professionalism.


Newspaper’s Awards

The Winter Convention also included a pair of awards ceremonies. Friday evening focused on advertising, while Saturday’s ceremony focused on editorial content.

The Newtown Bee earned three awards this year, two for advertising efforts and one for its 2016 Christmas cover. Entries were selected from advertising and editorial content published between August 1, 2016, and July 31, 2017.

The Bee earned first place honors for Local Online Ad, for its work on a Jennings Oil advertisement.

The ad features a large dog sleeping comfortably on a couch, with the words “We Are Committed To Your Complete Comfort” and “Installation and service to meet every family’s needs” above the image.

Judges said the online ad “requires a quick read, but the picture tells the whole story!”

The newspaper also received second place honors for Best Idea For Generating Ad Revenue, for its work on the Newtown Way/Shop Small campaign.

Judges complimented the newspaper’s sales staff for generating “reward revenue for the paper while promoting local businesses.”

Another second place award was received by the newspaper for Best Illustration, for its use of Tracy Van Buskirk’s “No Lines,” which she created specifically for the December 23, 2016, cover of The Newtown Bee. The image of a winter scene, with snowmen enjoying ice cream at a local farm, was a mixed media linoleum block print with added ink and watercolor.

Judges offered no comments on their selections for the illustrations.

The Newtown Bee has been a member of NENPA and its predecessor, The New England Press Association (NEPA), for many years. The newspaper holds one distinction that no other can claim: Publisher R. Scudder Smith; his father and previous publisher, Paul S. Smith; and retired Editor Curtiss Clark all hold positions in the organization’s Hall of Fame.

SH_NENPA recap -- Voket with gavel WATERMARKED

Newtown Bee Associate Editor John Voket was elected president of the New England Newspaper & Press Association during the group’s annual business meeting on February 24. He was gifted with a gavel and personalized block during the session, and took office immediately.
—Bee Photo, Hicks

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