Another involved a 20-year-later look-back at a schoolyard shooting that killed five grade-schoolers and wounded dozens of others. Pre-Columbine, pre-Virginia Tech, this retrospective of a murderous rampage and its aftermath delivered the goods. It gave the audience a perspective that only trained and disciplined journalists could bring to the effort.
The third introduced us to the son of migrant workers who became an astronaut. A feel-good, up-by-his-bootstraps story, sure, but it also told and showed the odyssey that took a poor Hispanic boy from the farm fields to the stars.
Where do you find this care, this attention to detail, this accuracy, in blogs? Or on ideology-driven TV networks? Or in the comments section of the Sun-Star online?
The best obtainable versions of the truth are available only through newspapers and a few other "legacy media" willing and able to devote the hundreds of hours of reporting (research), fact-checking, interviews and recorded images that lead to a worthy story.
We ain't perfect. And you're the first to let us know when we come up short -- along with Sun Dog, our ombudsman. We also find cool ideas on blogs, from your comments online, from your letters and e-mails and phone calls to us.
Please keep those comin' in. In the New Reality of the news business, all of us at the Sun-Star have to do more than we ever have to make sure you get as much news as we can give you, our readers. And as much value-added information as we can to our local advertisers.
To help us keep doing that, you may have noticed two new bylines in the Sun-Star: Jamie Oppenheim and Amy Starnes. We welcome them to our newsroom. Jamie covers education, and Amy covers Atwater/Livingston. You can reach them at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Their arrival, and the newspaper judging, strengthened a notion held for a long time: whether it's online, on a Kindle, on an iPad or whatever platform you decide to use next ...
We welcome all of you to walk or run or fly with us on our journey toward truth.
That's why we do it.
We have been over into the future, and it works.
Executive Editor Mike Tharp can be reached at (209) 385-2456 or email@example.com.