Reformer recognized for 'Andy's Journey'


BRATTLEBORO — The Brattleboro Reformer earned a Publick Occurrences award and UpCountry magazine was named specialty publication of the year in the New England Newspaper & Press Association's 2017 competition.

"Andy's journey: The struggles through ALS," a five-part series published in January, was among 19 Publick Occurrences awards given at the association's fall conference last week in Natick, Mass. Publick Occurrences awards recognize outstanding journalism annually in New England.

Read the complete series here:,496147

The series focused on Andy Leclaire's battle with the fatal disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, and the love and support he received from his wife Kathleen and his family. The series also explained the disease and examined end-of-life situations.

Photographer Kris Radder and reporter Maddi Shaw spent time with the Leclaire family over the course of a year in order to tell the stories. The series was written by Radder, his wife, Amy Radder, and Shaw.

The judges commented that "in-depth, sensitive reporting with intimate photos" gave the public a clearer understanding of ALS.

UpCountry magazine, which New England Newspapers Inc. launched in January, took top honors as magazine of the year among specialty publications in New England. The bimonthly magazine covers people, places and things in Southern Vermont and the Berkshires of Massachusetts.

New England Newspapers Inc. — the Brattleboro Reformer, Manchester Journal, Bennington Banner, Berkshire Eagle — has been locally owned since May 2016. The ownership group includes Robert G. Wilmers, Hans Morris, Judi Lipsey and Fredric D. Rutberg.

Overall, New England Newspapers Inc. publications earned seven honors at The New England Newspaper & Press Association's annual fall awards. Including the Reformer's, NENI publications took home three Publick Occurrences awards and received other nods as distinguished newspapers of the year.

"I feel thrilled beyond words that NENPA honored our papers with so many important awards," said Fredric D. Rutberg, president of New England Newspapers Inc. "While the recognition of our peers in the publishing industry is gratifying, the real appreciation must go to the talented, committed reporters and editors who turned the owners' commitment to quality into reality, and to our readers and advertisers who strongly supported our publications since the purchase in 2016."

Executive Editor Kevin Moran credited a team effort and support for the successes.

"The work that our news staffs put forward this past year and the support our ownership has provided have combined to produce some stellar journalism this past year, and we are pleased to be recognized for it," Moran said.

Alan English, publisher of New England Newspapers Inc., called the acknowledgments recognition of "a place where great work is being done."


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