Readers, this award is for you

Published 11:26 am Tuesday, July 17, 2012

By AMY JONES / Associate Editor

The moment had arrived. As I sat at that table in the Sandestin Resort and Conference Center in Destin, Fla. on July 7 with several of my Shelby County Reporter co-workers surrounding me, the ball of nervousness in my stomach stretched, grew and threatened to engulf me.

I thought chances were good we’d win General Excellence — we had already won General Web Excellence and the Advertising Sweepstakes award as well as a slew of other honors, but nothing’s guaranteed, especially when it comes to awards season.

I watched the announcer intently, biting my lip and holding my breath. Finally, she said, “And the winner of the General Excellence award for Class C is… the Shelby County Reporter!”

I pumped my fist in the air and traded smiles with everyone around the table as our publisher, Tim Prince, went to be photographed with the award. This was our sixth year in a row to win General Excellence — an unprecedented achievement, and one that required every member of our staff to work together to serve advertisers and readers alike.

After we took a few minutes to celebrate, Tim turned to us and said, “You know that feeling you had right before the award was announced — that gravel rolling around in your belly? Keep that feeling with you all year long, to remind yourself to work hard every day.”

That shocked me back to reality, because the truth is, looking back won’t get us anywhere. We have to keep looking forward and keep working to improve.

Our goal is to produce General Excellence-quality newspapers, special sections and magazines for you, our readers, every single week.

The accolades we gained in Destin were nice to hear, but the true award — and the true reward — is the knowledge our readers trust us enough to invest in our publications. Whether you paid 25 cents for today’s Shelby County Reporter or you went online and stopped at our website, you give us the gift of your time, your money and your trust. Thank you. This award is for you.

Amy Jones is the associate editor for the Shelby County Reporter. She can be reached at