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Valley View editor takes first place in state newspaper contest

  • Written by Deborah Stone
Valley View’s own Lisa Allen was recently named a first place winner in the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association’s 2012 Better Newspaper Contest.

The longtime editor and writer for the publication, a sister newspaper of The Woodinville Weekly, received the top award in the category of Best General Feature Story-Short for her story entitled, “Duvall Rotary re-creates ‘Great Piano Drop’ of 1968.”

Judges from the New York Press Association distinguished Allen’s story noting that it was “a nice mix of history, comedy and community centered around a cheerful piece of nonsense making this particular sample of the ubiquitous community fundraiser story stand out.”

The contest, which drew 2,229 entries from 73 participating newspapers, awarded prizes in a variety of different categories including news, advertising, arts, lifestyle, sports, editorial, investigative reporting, business, education, government, comprehensive coverage, general feature, special section and the environment, among others.

Winners were selected in a reciprocal partnership with another state’s press association and newspapers competed against their peers with like circulation.

Allen was pleased to hear that her story had been chosen and surprised to learn that it had earned top honors.

“I’ve won twice before,” says the local woman. “The first time it was for a photo essay of the Evergreen State Fair and the next time it was for a crime story. But in each case, the highest I got was third place. Getting first is very special.”

Allen enjoyed writing about the piano drop fundraising event, as she knew its prior history and was acquainted with the man who initially came up with the idea.

“The event became quite a legend,” she says, “and it was fun to see it re-created years later.”

She adds, “It proved to be a success, as lots of people came and they were able to raise $3,500 for Muscular Dystrophy and $4,000 for the Duvall Rotary, to go toward local community projects.”

Allen received a certificate designating her award, which she promptly framed and hung on her kitchen wall.

And somewhere in her house are a few pieces of the famed piano, which serve as a memento of the unique event.

“We are always delighted when one of our writers or editors receives recognition for their work,” comments Julie Boselly, publisher of The Woodinville Weekly, Northlake News and Valley View newspapers. “Lisa has been with us for many years and she continues to distinguish herself professionally with such honors.”

The Washington Newspaper Publishers Association represents about 130 community newspapers. The organization is the successor to the Washington Press Association, which was founded in 1887.

Awards for this year’s winners were presented at the Better Newspaper Awards Contest Dinner held on September 28 in Yakima.

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