Jeff Vorva's Editor's Notebook: Analyze this – we’re hoping to offer a few more think pieces


JVC pixThis series of photos involving Chicago Christian volleyball players in a regional match from last fall is a finalist in the Illinois Press Association contest. Phots by Jeff Vorva.

We probably won’t have two news analysis pieces on our front page as we did last week with Cardinal Francis George and Worth Mayor Mary Werner, but from time-to-time they will be popping up.
Although it’s not new by any stretch of the imagination, it’s new to my writing repertoire and I’m liking this news analysis thing for a couple of reasons.
jeff columnFirst, it allows us to delve into a topic from a different slant than a regular news story. The who-what-when-where is not as important as the why. The topic can be expanded and it gives the readers something extra to think about. We in the biz call it a think piece.
Second, sometimes it almost feels like writing a term paper. You usually have to do your research on any story you write, but you have to do a little extra homework on an analysis if you want to do it right.
Another old-time vehicle that we haven’t been driving is the local editorial on Page 6 and now we’re breaking out and doing that a little more in recent weeks. Upper management suggested we get on the ball and do some local editorials but I felt a little skittish since I didn’t know the lay of the land as well as I would have liked.
Now that I’m close to eight months into the job, I’m getting confident in my knowledge of some area affairs and the folks in the office are more than happy to suggest “You should write an editorial on…” Folks on the street are happy to make suggestions, too.
The local editorials and news analysis, coupled with this crazy column and Bob Rakow’s insightful B-Side columns that are usually found on page 6 are ways we hope to add a little spice and personality to the paper. Straight news stories, colorful features and information about pancake breakfasts, church happenings and other items will still take up a majority of this paper but we hope these added bonuses make for some great reading.
Yay from the IPA
Now it’s time to pat ourselves on the back.
The Illinois Press Association announced the winners of its 2013 awards and the good ol’ Reporter will take a few Division B trinkets home in June. We don’t know what place we will finish in until then, but it’s fun just to be a finalist.

Sports Editor Ken Karrson is a winner in the sports feature category for a piece he did at the beginning of the football season on the Illinois High School Association’s crackdown on contact in summer practices.
Karrson also won for best column and best headline writing. With those three awards under his belt, that brings Kenny’s award total to about 8 or 9 million.
The IPA judges must have been drunk out of their minds because yours truly also won some stuff in categories I’ve never entered before.
Look, I can usually hold my own in writing categories, but I was hoping I wasn’t wasting the company’s money when I entered some photos and headlines.
The judges enjoyed a three-picture series from a Chicago Christian regional volleyball match.
In the first photo, Anna Kamp and her teammates thought they won the match and celebrated. But a referee called Kamp for being in the net and the second photo is of Kamp saying “who me?” while a teammate gave the ref a “how dare you” look. The Knights won on the next point and the third photo showed them all happy and celebrating again.
I was also lucky enough to win for headline writing and will go up against Kenny, just like we did in the Football Forecast contest in the fall. That didn’t work out so well for me.
Last year, Karrson and former Reporter Editor Jason Maholy went head-to-head in headline writing. An editor from the East Peoria Times-Courier spoiled our party and won it all but Karrson finished second and Maholy third.
Say what you want about the rest of our paper, but we are heads up when it comes to headlines.