8-18-18 Hillclimb_unicycle

This photo of Derrick Hamel, 35, of Newmarket, struggling to get his unicycle up the steepest part of last August's Mount Washington Bicycle Hillclimb, took first place for Original Photography at the IFPA (Independent Free Papers of America) newspaper contest. (JAMIE GEMMITI PHOTO)

PHILADELPHIA — The Conway Daily Sun was a finalist in the General Excellence category at the the 2019 Advertising and Editorial Awards, a media contest sponsored by the Independent Free Papers of America, a national trade group of 200 publications, including newspapers and magazines. 

The Sun also picked up three first-place awards in individual categories.

The awards were announced at the IFPA conference, which took place Sept. 28 in Philadelphia.

General Excellence, which reflects the overall quality of a publication, is considered the most prestigious category. The Sun came in third.

This summer, the Sun took first place in the same category in the New Hampshire Press Association’s annual Distinguished Journalism Contest, beating both the Concord Monitor and Union Leader, which were finalists in that category.

The Sun and its sister paper, The Laconia Daily Sun, are the only free daily, community newspapers east of the Rockies. There are a few free dailies that distributed in cities and on college campuses, but none represent their communities in the way the Sun does, which is the way traditional paid dailies serve their subscriber base.

As such, the Sun can compete against traditional paid dailies and also free publications, of which there are thousands. 

In this latest contest, two high-end, glossy magazines took first and second place in the General Excellence category.  

Conway Daily Sun publisher Mark Guerringue noted that as a daily printed on newsprint, it is difficult to compete in presentation with glossy monthlies.

“It can’t be denied that the magazines look really good, but the content is different than our daily. It’s flattering that the judges recognized the strength of our community journalism,” Guerringue said.

The contest attracted more than 900 entries in both editorial and advertising categories.

Individual awards the Sun took home were First Place, Internet Banner Ad, Rob Struble (for the Best of the Valley promotion); First Place, Original Photography, Jamie Gemmiti; and First Place, Self Promotion Ad, Patty Tilton ("Your Local News ... Available to Go"). 

"We appreciate the recognition,” said Guerringue, “and it shows we can compete on a national level.”

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