Editorial: What our Community Leadership Award means
Last week, we received word that the Daily Herald has earned the Inland Press Association's 2015 Community Leadership Award for large-circulation newspapers.
As anyone would be, we are flattered by awards. Recognition feels good, and it affirms the good work our staff tries to produce every day. So no false modesty here; yes, we're flattered by awards. We like getting them.
But we're particularly proud of Inland's Community Leadership Award. And prouder still that it marks the eighth time in the past 12 years that we've been honored with it.
We hope you're pleased with it too.
It reflects a tradition of devotion to the good of the community.
A good newspaper does a lot of things. It informs. It entertains. It records history. It acts as a forum for ideas and debate. It plays a role in the commerce of a community. And yes, in order to exist to do all of that, it must make money.
But above all else, a newspaper's reason for being is public service. That's why we're here. No other reason when it gets down to it.
This year's award honors Generations At Risk/Our Promise to Our Kids, an initiative we've taken on in collaboration with WBEZ Chicago's Linda Lutton that began last June with an examination of the relationship between income levels and academic performance.
Our dedicated team includes staff writer Melissa Silverberg, data journalism editor Tim Broderick, assistant managing editor Renee Trappe and staff photographers Bob Chwedyk and Brian Hill.
Working with a groundbreaking tool Broderick developed to compare data over the course of several years with a depth that never had been done before, they discovered that the links between income levels and school performance are much more striking that previously imagined and that the challenge to do something about them is more overwhelming than some might believe.
This is really an issue of making the American dream a reality for everyone. And the implications for all of us if it's not.
We haven't stopped simply by identifying the problem. Our team's gone out in search of creative solutions.
In June, we told some of them -- one school with a unique outreach to parental involvement that's had success; another school with a zero tolerance approach to student discipline that has been effective.
The work on this initiative is just beginning. We hope to do more, and we welcome your thoughts, suggestions and contributions.
Ultimately, the job of making our communities better is an obligation for all of us.
We are dedicated to doing our part. We hope you are too.