Pilot & Today named nation's best newspaper

— A newspaper organization has named the Steamboat Pilot & Today the nation's best newspaper in its circulation category.

The Inland Press Association announced award winners Wednesday in the Nation's Best Non-Daily Newspaper Contest.

The Steamboat Pilot & Today won in the category for newspapers with circulations of 5,000 to 10,000.

"It is exciting to receive this prestigious award," said publisher Suzanne Schlicht. "It is about talented people, from the pressroom to the newsroom, working together with a common vision. And I certainly can't give enough credit to our readers and advertisers. Without their support, we would be unable to produce a paper that is viewed as the best by peers in our industry."

The Pilot & Today and Steamboat Today are separate publications. The Pilot & Today is a weekly, paid-circulation newspaper; Steamboat Today is a free-distribution daily newspaper.

In its circulation category, the Pilot & Today was first; the Andover Townsman in Andover, Mass., was second; and the Frontiersman of Wasilla, Ala. was third. The Ojai Valley News of Ojai, Calif., won in the category for newspapers with circulations of 5,000 or less. The Portland Tribune of Portland, Ore., won in the category for newspapers of 10,000 or more.

"I am very proud of our staff," Editor Scott Stanford said. "They work hard every week to make sure each edition of our Sunday newspaper is packed with news and stories our readers want and need. We are honored that Inland has recognized that work with this award."

For the contest, three editions of the Sunday Pilot & Today from 2002 were considered -- July 7, Sept. 8 and Oct. 20. Judging was based on the newspaper's ability to attract readers, design, efforts to provide community coverage, quality of the writing and quality of the photos.

Judges included David Nelson, co-chair of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism; Patricia Colander, editor and publisher of Lake Magazine; and William Roesgen, a retired editor and publisher who now works as a newspaper consultant.

The awards will be presented Feb. 21 during the Inland Press Association's Weekly Newspapers Publishers Conference in Tucson, Ariz.

Stanford will travel to the conference to accept the award.

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