Since the last time I communicated with you, a half-dozen staff members, I among them, ventured to Miami, Fla., for the annual convention of the Association of Alternative Newsmedia. It was cooler there.
We weren't spending our days in the sun, in any event. We were spending our time in the conference facilities of the Intercontinental Hotel. If you've had the experience of a convention hotel in a warm climate, you know it can get downright chilly in those sessions. But we survived. As a matter of fact, we thrived.
In the AAN Awards competition, Isthmus snagged a first and a third place, which was a pretty good result for our three submissions out of over 900 spread over the various categories. We were slotted in the large-paper category, over 50,000 circulation, which contains papers from much bigger markets.
Our third place, in the feature story category, was "Collaterally Damaged," our cover story on April 5, 2012, from contributor Nathan J. Comp. It's about an Iraqi immigrant living in Madison who was still traumatized by the U.S. invasion of the country. Since then, Comp has been doing crime reporting for the Rio Grande Sun, in New Mexico. He plans to leave there, follow Phish around for a while, and return to Madison in the fall.
Our first place, in the innovation/format buster category, was our memorable My Madison Day mega-project, which involved 20 staffers, contributor Stu Levitan, and UW professor Lucas Graves' J 335 intermediate reporting class. Readers will remember that it catalogued all sorts of activities in our town from 6 a.m., Sept. 21, to 6 a.m., Sept. 22, last year. The competition was judged by the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University. Thanks to the judges and congratulations to all the perpetrators of My Madison Day. You can check out the online component at MyMadisonDay.com.