The Easton Courier has received four regional awards for “Excellence in Journalism” from the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ). The SPJ is the oldest U.S. organization representing professional journalists with over 300 chapters and 6,000 members. According to its mission statement, the SPJ is the “nation’s most broad-based journalism organization, dedicated to encouraging the free practice of journalism and stimulating high standards of ethical behavior.”

The Courier—which has published over 1,400 articles since its launch in Feb. 2020—competed in the hyperlocal media division and took home a first-place award in the reporting series category for its articles on Easton farms.

The Courier won another first-place award in the continuing coverage category for the “History Corner” articles written by Elizabeth Boyce and Bruce Nelson. The Courier also received second-place awards in the education category for the Joel Barlow High School graduation video and in the photo essay category for its Easton farms photos.

To ensure objectivity and to avoid conflicts of interest, all entries from Connecticut publications and media outlets were evaluated by SPJ members from regional chapters outside of Connecticut.

“It is especially gratifying to receive external validation from a leading organization of professional journalists,” said Easton Courier News Director Jim Castonguay. “I’m extremely grateful to our executive editor, Nancy Doniger, and our entire editorial board, as well as all of our contributors and readers who have made this experiment in community journalism such a resounding success.”

The full list of Excellence in Journalism award winners are listed here.

Details of the Courier awards are as follows:

Home to more than 20 working farms, Easton is an oasis of rural charm in busy Fairfield County.

First Place

Reporting Series, Farm series; Easton Courier; Kelly Wendt, Karen Brewer, Nancy Doniger, Jane Paley, Rick Falco

History Corner takes original documents and uses them to tell true and compelling stories about the people and events that shaped the town of Easton.

Continuing Coverage, History Corner; Easton Courier; Bruce Nelson, Elizabeth Boyce

The Covid pandemic prevented traditional graduation ceremonies for the class of 2020, and a car parade let the students know that they and their accomplishments still mattered.

Second Place

Education, Video: Barlow Class of 2020 graduates in historic car procession; Easton Courier; Tomas Koeck, Richard Falco

Silverman’s Farm in Easton attracted more visitors than ever during the pandemic.

Second Place

Photo Essay, Easton Farms; Easton Courier; Rick Falco

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