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Item wins a New England Newspaper & Press Association award

Former newsroom editor Roberto Scalese, former reporter Bridget Turcotte, writer-at-large Steve Krause, newsroom editor Cheryl Charles, and reporters Bella diGrazia and Gayla Cawley pose with the Publick Occurrences Awarded awarded to The Item at the New England Newspaper Conference on Thursday. (Carolina Trujillo)

WORCESTER — Some days this job takes a lot out of me. Then there are other days, when we get recognized for the work that we do. 

My colleagues and I headed to the AC Marriott Hotel in Worcester early Thursday morning. There, we were honored with a Publick Occurrences Award from the New England Newspaper & Press Association for our work on a six-day, 23-story series, Hunger: Hiding in plain sight, that we ran last summer. 

It was beyond inspiring to be in a room filled with award-winning journalists who seek the truth and share the stories that need to be heard. 

The Publick Occurrences Award, in recognition of New England’s most outstanding journalism in 2019, was established in 1990. It’s meant to recognize individual and team merit at New England newspapers to mark the 300th anniversary of the founding of Publick Occurrences, the first newspaper published in America. Four days after the country’s first paper appeared in Boston in 1690, it was suppressed by the royal governor.

While this is not the first time The Item has won this award, this was my first experience being a part of the winning team. As we walked toward the front of the room to accept the award, I remembered why I chose to work in this industry.

This was an ambitious project for our staff, which included myself, fellow reporters Thor Jourgenson, Bridget Turcotte, Gayla Cawley, Steve Krause, Daniel Kane, Bill Brotherton, and Thomas Grillo, news editors Cheryl Charles and Roberto Scalese, photographers Jim Wilson, and Spenser Hasak, and designer Mark Sutherland.

Journalists are here to tell the stories of our communities. We are here to share the stories of people, or topics, that serve a bigger purpose. We are here to seek information the public deserves to know and give it to them. We are here to represent your First Amendment rights.

It was an honor to be honored at the New England Newspaper Conference. And, it was even more of an honor to be in such great company. 

The winning publications were the Marshfield Mariner, Mount Desert Islander, The Martha’s Vineyard Times, UpCountry, The Bristol (CT) Press, The Daily News of Newburyport, The MetroWest Daily News, Republican-American, The Republican, The Berkshire Eagle, Telegram & Gazette, The Eagle-Tribune, Seven Days, The Herald News, Concord Monitor, The Sun, The Keene Sentinel, Cape Cod Times, Worcester Magazine, Sun Journal, Bennington Banner, Worcester Business Journal, The Standard-Times, Foster’s Daily Democrat, New Hampshire Union Leader, and the Addison Independent.

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