Opinion

Kyle Troutman: A touch of inspiration

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

They say all good things come to an end, and that is what happened on Saturday when the Cassville Democrat, for the first time since my arrival, failed to win a Gold Cup in the Missouri Press Associationís Better Newspaper Contest.

For six years in a row now, we have been honored to be named the best small weekly newspaper in Missouri, but for at least one year, that is a crown we cannot wear.

This year, the honor went to the Maryville Forum, a paper that has in the past competed in the division above us, mid-size weeklies. We showed well this year, but they showed better, and the award was well-deserved.

Though I was slightly disappointed in the outcome, there was a humbling moment that occurred after all the awards had been doled out.

Jacob Warden, whose family owns the Maries County Advocate in Belle, sought me out to congratulate and thank me. He said in years past, his newspaper always came up short to the Democrat in Gold Cup points, but he was never discouraged.

He said looking at our designs and coverage served as an inspiration to make his paper better and to compete with us for that top honor. At the awards luncheon, all winning entries are spread on tables around the room, and people may freely take any printouts that catch their eye for one reason or another.

Warden said at his office in Belle, he has a whole file of Cassville Democrat printouts, specifically some of our more artistic front page designs.

He said for the past few years he had been intending to shake my hand and tell how much of an impact the Democrat has had on him. I thanked him for his kindness, and we parted ways.

The moment caught me a bit off-guard.

I am competitive in nature and enjoy winning awards, and I enjoyed hoisting the Gold Cup as I had every year before during my tenure here. However, I am not used to being told our work is an inspiration or that other papers intentionally model themselves after us.

It was humbling to think we could have that big of an impact on someone we had never met.

In turn, as I drove home from the Kansas City event, I couldnít stop thinking about how that moment is an inspiration to me.

No matter what you do, people are always watching. It may be easy to slack off or get in a groove of expectancy. But, itís those moments where you go above and beyond that you shine and, in turn, light the way for others.

Personally speaking, this year was actually the lowest-producing I have ever had in terms of awards ó only two firsts, second place in general excellence (behind the Advocate I might add), and no Gold Cup.

While the awards themselves were thin this year, I donít think I have ever been as proud of myself and our paper as I am right now.

I hope we continue to find ways to inspire. I hope we inspire our colleagues if they find our work is worthy; I hope we inspire our readers with our stories; and I hope we inspire ourselves to keep producing content worthy of being the six-time winner of the Gold Cup.

Maybe with enough inspiration, we can give Maryville a better run for their money next year.

Kyle Troutman has served as the editor of The Cassville Democrat since 2014. In 2017, he was named William E. James/Missouri Outstanding Young Journalist for daily newspapers. He may be reached at 417-847-2610 or editor@cassville-democrat.com.

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