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News MVP Winners Bring Passion to Their Jobs, Provide Leadership in a Difficult Year

Solutions-oriented. Passionate. Committed.

These were common traits in the winners of the Corporate News Department’s inaugural News MVP awards.

The winners showed strong commitment to excellent journalism, collaboration among departments and the launch of new initiatives.

Fifteen Gannett Information Center staffers were selected as News MVP winners. They played at an extraordinary level. They rallied their teammates. And they made the big play when necessary.

Each of the 51 nominees handled challenges in 2009 with superior results. And the judges – Vice President/News Kate Marymont, News Executive Ann Clark and Digital News Executive Maribel Perez Wadsworth – wrestled with the final decisions.

The News MVP awards recognized individual newsroom staffers or supervisors who led special efforts in readership, innovation, reorganization, multi-platform approaches or other efforts.

The winners are:

    Enid Arbelo, Young Audience Editor, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
    Jay Jefferson Cooke, Associate Editor, Courier News, Bridgewater, and Home News Tribune, East Brunswick
    Anjanette Delgado, Managing Editor, The Californian, Salinas
    Tricia DeWall, Specialty Publications Manager/Features Editor, Iowa City Press-Citizen
    Mary Dolan, Deputy Managing Editor/Features, The Journal News, Westchester
    Meg Downey, Managing Editor, The Tennessean, Nashville
    Michael Eckert, Assistant Managing Editor, Times Herald, Port Huron
    Amy Goldberg, Deputy Director/News & Operations, The Cincinnati Enquirer
    Dave Hennigan, News Editor, The Greenville News
    Chris Joyner, City Hall Reporter, The Clarion-Ledger, Jackson, Miss.
    Jim Kirchner, Operations News Manager, The Courier-Journal, Louisville
    Chad Livengood, Local Reporter/News, News-Leader, Springfield
    John Penney, Community Conversation Editor, Poughkeepsie Journal
    Gary Schoening, Managing Editor, Asbury Park Press
    Matthew Tully, Columnist, The Indianapolis Star

Enid Arbelo, Young Audience Editor, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
Enid is recognized for her work to connect with Rochester’s young professional audience; efforts to serve the Hispanic community; and to bring efficiencies to the production of Insider, a young reader publication, and the Metromix Web site. As lead editor of the “Surviving and Climbing” guide for young professionals looking to succeed, Enid drew together a core group of young professionals to seed forums and blogs, offered expert advice through videos and shared compelling stories from those who were experiencing success. She applies those same approaches to the newspaper’s business coverage. Enid also contributes to the newspaper’s weekly ConXion e-newsletter, targeted to the Hispanic community.

The judges said: “Enid’s expertise and understanding of the important young adult audience has resulted in special enterprise reports, targeted niche Web sites and a smart, effective focus on the Sunday edition. Her fresh and innovative approach serves the Rochester audience well.”

Jay Jefferson Cooke, Associate Editor, Courier News, Bridgewater, and Home News Tribune, East Brunswick
Jay is recognized for his work as lead floor editor for a team of nine reporters based in Bridgewater. The team refocused its local report on hard news, and Jay’s leadership assured that coverage was varied, robust and complete. He also took time to lead tours of scouts and other groups in the newspaper’s new location in Somerville. Jay’s guidance of newer reporters resulted in stronger work being produced overall, as well as a significant investigative report on a local landlord. Jay’s twice-a-week local column, Color in Black and White, addresses controversial local topics presented in a straightforward approach. Jay sits on the editorial boards of both newspapers. To balance the hard-news efforts, Jay launched a “Superior Sandwich Search,” a summer-long fun campaign that drew dozens of suggestions from readers and additional advertising revenue.

The judges said: “Jay understands the importance of local news, and he worked with his staff to bring strong results. His mentoring of younger reporters to strengthen their reporting and writing skills in daily and investigative efforts was significant. And he balanced his firm hand with a little fun through the sandwich search.”