I'd like to dwell this week on conveying information, exploring ideas, and the art of good writing - the latter a commodity that will never become obsolete, regardless of technology. We have some examples of the above in this issue of the paper.
Our cover story, "Remembering the 'Bush," was written by contributor Esty Dinur, who ended up in Madison from Israel. In writing this story, she got a fresh take on the American experience. The Greenbush, Madison's long-gone but not forgotten polyethnic enclave, suffered an ignominious fate at the hands of development, but in the process became a legend, with lessons for today.
Our lead arts feature is about the band Blueheels, whom the author, music writer John Mendels(s)ohn, treats with high regard. A veteran of the music-go-round himself, Mendels(s)ohn imparts his critique in the context of popular music history. Like it or no, this is not quotidian puffery.
I'm prompted to cite these articles by the results, announced this week, of the Milwaukee Press Club's Excellence in Wisconsin Journalism Competition for stories published in 2007. We are happy to acknowledge that Isthmus received, as of this writing, three first-place awards and one second place in the state's preeminent journalism contest.
The category Best Single Feature Story Over 30 Inches was won by Madeline Uranek for her "Letter From Lesotho" (08/02/07). Uranek, a Peace Corps volunteer, wrote of her experience in the southern African country. She's still there, and we don't know if word of her award has reached her yet.
And who'da thunk? Isthmus wins Best Sports Story for the cover package on the Madison Mallards (06/07/07). Jason Joyce wrote the main story, "Mr. Mallard," featuring the general manager, Vern Stenman; Linda Falkenstein contributed "All in the Family," about folks who house the players; and Bill Lueders wrote "Short for Fanatic," about Mallard diehards.
Lueders strikes again: His suite of entries won Best Topical Column. Individually recognized was his Opinion column, "Wisconsin Ethics, the Fairy Tale" (02/08/07). In that piece, written in the style, perhaps, of the Brothers Grimm, he excoriates all and sundry associated with the passage of the Wisconsin ethics reform bill passed a year ago January. Lueders also garnered a second place in the Best Public Service/Public Education Feature Story for "To Kill a Turkey" (11/21/07), his firsthand account of one turkey's journey to the Thanksgiving dinner table.
So we think we're doing some good work here, not just this week but every week. And in a real stop-the-presses moment, I've been given some late-breaking news from the Milwaukee Press Club, which I will convey next week.