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Golden Dozen Award

07/03/2012 at 4:21pm

Sand Paper Editor Earns
Golden Dozen Award

The Island Sand Paper’s Editor Missy Layfield was honored last week with a Golden Dozen Award by the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors (ISWNE). She also was awarded the Houstoun Waring Scholarship by the ISWNE Foundation, named for one of its founders.

Meeting in Bellingham, Washington, the organization, consisting of 250 editors and publishers of weekly community newspapers located around the globe, was represented by representatives from Scotland, Ireland, Australia, Great Britain, Canada and the United States.

ISWNE was founded in 1955 to help weekly newspapers improve standards of editorial writing and news reporting and to encourage strong, independent editorial voices.

The Golden Dozen Award is earned by twelve ISWNE editors each year through a blind judging process. The awards are given to those editors whose work meets the standards of the ISWNE:

"Encouraging the writing of editorials or staff-written opinion pieces that identify local issues that are or should be of concern to the community, offer an opinion, and support a course of action.”

Layfield was honored to receive the award.

"As someone who is new to both journalism and the editorial role, I’m very humbled to be honored for an editorial written during my first year as Editor of the Island Sand Paper. Though new to the world of journalism, I am not new to the commitment, dedication and concern of small communities. Being part of a weekly community newspaper is an honor in itself for it allows me to be a part of a vibrant and exciting community. That is the real prize-being a member of the Fort Myers Beach community! The Golden Dozen Award is only possible because of that.”

Lyle E. Harris Sr, journalism professor emeritus of Western Washington University served as judge this year, assisted by a panel of five WWU journalism professors. Harris’ journalism resume includes the UPI, Washington Journalism Center in Washington DC as well as the University of Missouri.

During the presentation of the Golden Dozen, Harris commented on the importance of editorial writing.

"Who will tell the people? In reading the many entries I was impressed, indeed, very impressed, with the number of editors who took on the key issue of challenging governmental agencies that tried to prevent public participation in public matters or who put up road blocks to the press in covering public issues.

The many community editors who submitted entries this year showed overall a respect for their craft by taking the time – many long and demanding hours – to continue the historic role they have of not just delivering the news, but putting their personal voice in ink on a printed page and calling for action on important public matters. That takes passion, persistence and stubbornness to succeed.

"That’s how the people are told.”

Layfield’s winning editorial was published on January 21, 2011 and titled, "Is This What We Really Want?”

In noting the reason he made this editorial one of the Golden Dozen, Harris said, "Missy Layfield develops details and dollars into a lengthy editorial in support of a planned library expansion for Fort Myers Beach, Florida. She strongly opposes groups who want to stop the expansion by providing the history of the plans for expansion and even commenting on a state statute that relates to the issue. She also notes that the project is fully funded. Her job in the editorial is to explain the background of the planned expansion, provide specifics on funding and development and convince her readers that the project should go forward. Her argument is thorough and convincing. Her final comment: "Build it!”

Layfield’s Golden Dozen Editorial can be found on the Sand Paper website,