Great Journalism, "Free as the Wind"
Driving toward Whitneyville at dawn last June, Wellsboro photographer Linda Stager was stunned by an “amazing technicolor dreamsky” forming over a distant barn by some miracle of fog and sunrise, and raised her camera for Mountain Home. Photographer Bernadette Chiaramonte was rounding a hill in Tioga County when two little foxes dove into the sluice pipe under a road. Bernadette waited patiently as if they were just two boys, Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, whose curiosity would get the best of them and “Yes!”–the young critters “peeked out and posed for me, a moment I will never forget.” Up along Cayuga Lake, science writer Alison Fromme took a sip of the finest champagne-style hard cider in New York, “the color of pale sunshine,” at the Finger Lakes Cider House in Interlaken, while in Horseheads our legendary food writer Cornelius O’Donnell dreamed of the Easter hams his mother used to make, and in Waverly our humor columnist Maggie Barnes tried not to kill anyone with her annual attempt at baking. “My coworkers fell on those cupcakes like a hobo on a hot dog,” and happily none reported “sudden onset stomach pain, fever, or visual hallucinations.”
Linda’s technicolor dreamsky won the First Place Keystone Award from the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association as the best Feature Photo in any weekly or monthly Pennsylvania publication in 2018. Bernadette won Third Place for her “Fox Tots” and Second Place for a breathtaking photo of snow-frosted trees in Ives Run, which prompted our managing editor Gayle Morrow to quip, “Mother Nature delivers once again.” (And Linda and Bernadette deliver a clean sweep). Alison won Second Place for a business story for her cover story, “We Love NY Cider.” Gayle, when she wasn’t editing these stories, won First Place for her outdoor column, while Maggie won First Place and Cornelius Second Place for column writing.
These seven awards were among ten Keystone Awards for excellence in journalism that Mountain Home picked up in May in Harrisburg, including the “Best Niche Publication” in Pennsylvania for the ninth year in a row.
Life isn’t always a plate of cupcakes in the Twin Tiers, and Alison was there, too, to chronicle Pete Sides’ heroic and triumphant battle against Lyme disease in “The Piano Man’s War,” a story that won First Place among all feature stories in the state; Brendan O’Meara’s story of Troy large animal veterinarian Seanna Brown’s triumph over a benign brain tumor took a second place.
When my wife Teresa Banik Capuzzo and I founded Mountain Home magazine in 2005, we never dreamed the magazine would win more than 120 state and international journalism awards and be called one of the best magazines in America. You can blame these talented folks for that.