Winners and losers

Daylight saving time notwithstanding, it’s always darkest before the dawn — an adage that proved true once again this week in our offices.

Last week, we twice published correct dates to make up for an error the week before in which we listed the original rather than rescheduled week for a high school play.

Still, we endured a tongue-lashing on social media over the weekend. Forgetting that there were competing college basketball games, a frenzy of Facebook followers blamed our original error for less than stellar attendance on the second night of what was, by all accounts, a stellar production.

Truth is, we did screw up two weeks ago, and we failed to do everything we planned to correct it a week later. However, the poison-pen postings of people who rarely have a good word about anything were nowhere near the hair shirt we put on ourselves for that error and another, when 5- and 6-year-olds gave wrong names both to a reporter who was writing a story and later to their teachers, when we were trying to correct the error.

We won’t bore you with the four pages of changes we’re implementing to try to stop such errors in the future. What we will tell you is that in the middle of our internal inquisition came much-needed good news: an announcement from Kansas Press Association that we had won 12 major statewide awards.

Most gratifying was first place for community service — something that, despite what naysayers might contend, is our sole reason for existence. It’s the second time in three years we won in that category — strong testament to the work of news editor Adam Stewart and his superb staff.

We also won both first and second place in feature photography, first place in column writing (tremendous recognition for reporter Jennifer Stultz), first place in story/photo package, first place in news photography and first place in advertising design (for an ad for The Lumberyard).

In addition, we won second place for news and writing excellence, best editorial pages, and best photo package in the state. We also won both second and third place statewide for coverage of youths — something you wouldn’t have guessed we were any good at had you been reading the Facebook feeding frenzy over the weekend.

All in all, we’ve won an unprecedented 43 statewide awards in the past three years. The latest honorees, in addition to Jennifer (who also had a second award), include Ben Kleine (twice), Janet Post, and Melvin Honeyfield.

Sad as we might be when we mess up, it’s nice to know that someone, somewhere appreciates the tireless and typically excellent work of our staff.

— ERIC MEYER

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