The work of Mountain Xpress to strengthen democracy at the local level recently received a nod from the national Association of Alternative Newsmedia. The paper’s 2020 Voter Guide earned second place in the special section category of the AAN’s annual awards, announced on July 23.
The competition included 54 publications and 598 entries from across the U.S. and Canada. “The contest promotes excellence by recognizing work that is well written, incisively reported and effectively challenges established orthodoxies. These finalists truly represent the best of the best,” the AAN wrote in a July 12 press release announcing Xpress’ nomination as a finalist for the award.
Although Xpress has produced a voter guide for many years, 2020 marked its first compilation as a print special section. The document also included more information on voter registration and voting methods to help community members navigate the process in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Over 100 readers contributed a total of more than $5,000 to support the printing and distribution of the guide across Buncombe County.
Xpress staffers named in the award include publisher Jeff Fobes; designer Scott Southwick; former managing editor Virginia Daffron; former reporter Molly Horak; assistant editor Daniel Walton; marketing associates David Furr, Tiffany Wagner and Sara Brecht; distribution coordinator Cindy Kunst; operations manager Able Allen; and former development coordinator Laura Hackett. The voter guide also earned third place in the public service category of the N.C. Press Association’s 2020 awards.