Note: BW: The Best in the State 

Last year was not an easy year in the newspaper business, nor was it an easy year at BW. We had a couple of highlights over the year, a new Web site and a paper redesign among them, but more often than not, I was delivering bad news to readers and the editorial staff. We implemented office-wide pay reductions, nixed our freelancer budget and then doubled our workload with the launch of boiseweekly.com. We worked hard and long week after week, without any indication that things would improve. Ushering in 2010 was like turning a corner. Four months into the year, we're happy to report that sales are up and the pay decrease has been lifted.

But, there's so much more than money, no? The Idaho Press Club held its annual awards banquet on April 17, honoring the best media to come out of the state in 2009. And BW needed a box, literally, to cart home the awards.

Competing against all media, BW took first place for Best Use of Social Media. If you're not following @boiseweekly on Twitter and facebook.com/boiseweekly, you're missing out on half of what we do here, and we're proud to be able to say that we do it better than any other media outlet in the state.

In the weekly print division, BW took home 12 awards, including seven first-place plaques. We took first in general excellence, as well as first place in Web site general excellence and swept the entire A&E reporting category.

Receiving validation from your peers that you're doing something right always feels good. But this year's awards are especially well deserved by the editorial staff here. Thanks to my team for kicking ass. I know how hard you worked to put out the best weekly newspaper in the state, and the following list of awards is proof in the puddin'.

All staff: First Web Site General Excellence, First Best Use of Social Media, First General Excellence. Deanna Darr: First Serious Feature, "Birds, Bunnies and Power"; Second Outdoor Feature, "Home Slope Advantage"; First Environmental Reporting, "Unlikely Allies." Amy Atkins: First Light Feature, "Up in Smoke"; First A&E Reporting, "Just Because You Can, Doesn't Mean You Should ... Without Some Help." Jeremiah Robert Wierenga: Second A&E Reporting: "A Provincial Production"; Third A&E Reporting, "The New Era of Opera." Tara Morgan: Third Light Feature, "What the Cluck?" Bill Cope: Second, General Column. Carissa Wolf: First Heath and Education Reporting, "The Forgotten Epidemic."

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