No matter how busy we are around the holidays, it's impossible not to get caught up in the emotion and think back on all that has happened in the past year.
As it was for most of you, this has been a year of great ups and downs in our Daily Herald family. We lost some of our own, including longtime legal affairs writer Tony Gordon. Our hearts ached over the far-too-many stories of tragedy we had to cover. We, too, dreamed of a better economy.
But, also like you, we enjoyed some of our happiest moments in 2012. Some of us celebrated the births of, we hope, budding future journalists. We danced and laughed along with colleagues who marked new stages in their careers and -- as for some to whom 2012 brought wedding bells -- their lives.
Our commitment to community journalism in the suburbs was recognized with several awards: The international Inland Press Association honored us -- for the fifth time in nine years -- with its community service award, along with recognition for other projects. The national magazine Editor and Publisher called us one of 10 newspapers in the country that "do it right," for innovation. Illinois AP cited us for best website, and our reporters, photographers and artists took home a variety of honors from journalism organizations.
We especially rejoiced as two sports writers earned Hall of Fame inductions -- Barry Rozner into the Northern Illinois University Hall of Fame and Marty Maciaszek into the Illinois High School Sports Writers Hall of Fame.
We hosted competitions recognizing suburban residents for a range of activities from musical talent to cooking, and, in particular, cheered until we lost our voices in our Fittest Loser competition. In that life-altering program, winner Michael White of West Dundee lost 84 pounds and his five fellow contestants lost nearly 320 pounds more. We love it when we get to be a part of helping improve the lives and health of our readers.
As the year drew to a close, you added to the community spirit by joining our first Daily Herald Hope for the Holidays toy drive, launched with the help of Walt Meder of Arlington Heights who challenged us with a $1,000 donation. Your donations made it possible to buy roughly $30,000 worth of toys and equipment for children at Palatine-based Wings, a nonprofit agency that provides emergency shelter, temporary housing, education and job help for suburban women and their children.
We cherish moments like these because we live, work and breathe in the suburbs just like you, which brings us to the point of a caroling video we put together.
This year, we decided to share the holiday spirit with you in song. Some of the lyrics may seem a bit lighthearted, but the message of service and community commitment is deeply heartfelt.
We apologize in advance for our singing voices (we are print journalists for a reason). But in the end, we hope our carol conveys our best wishes for a bright holiday season and our deepest thanks for allowing us to be a part of your life this year. Travel safely, and may 2013 bring only happiness and health, for our Daily Herald family and yours.
Here are the lyrics of our "Hark! The (Daily) Herald Sings" written by our managing editor Jim Baumann and Jim Davis, who heads up the DuPage County and Fox Valley bureaus.
Hark! The Daily Herald sings, News to you we daily bring
Peace on earth we may not find, but we'll stimulate your mind.
Joyous all ye suburbs rise, village meetings we'll reprise.
Fearing God and telling truth. Making money, so we choose.
Hark! The Daily Herald sings, News to you we'll daily bring.
Hark! The Herald angels sing. We believe that truth is king
Stories straight, our photos sharp. Tell it straight, right from the heart.
Joyful all ye readers try us: Tablet, phone or newsprint style.
Burt and Marni tell great tales. Our ad reps will spark your sales.
Hark! The Herald angels sing. We believe that truth is king.
Jake our Watchdog has your back. Mike and Kerry know the hacks
Suburban Standouts -- no plain janes. Dann and Jamie entertain
Imrem, Rozner -- they won't bore. And you athletes, they adore
Niche, Reflejos, Business news. Cook up one big Herald stew
Hark! The Daily Herald sings. We believe that truth is king.
Paddocks form our family tree -- gave a plan to clearly see
Hosea, Charles and Stu and Bob, told us to complete the job
So we have a Facebook page, tweeting daily, all the rage.
IT, HR, Advertise. Circulation, that's still wise.
Hark! The Daily Herald sings. News to you we daily bring.