Let’s give a round of applause to the editorial team of Lehighvalleylive.com. In fact, they deserve a standing ovation; it was recently announced that the team won the 2021 Toner Prize for Excellence in Local Political Reporting for the project “Swing County, Swing State”.

The series studied the political essence of Northampton County and its role as bellwether, not only in the 2020 presidential election, but in races throughout the last century. Its goal was to show residents just how much their votes matter in deciding the election and to demonstrate to national campaigns the key role played by the region. According to judges, “It is elegant writing, before we even get to the tough-minded journalism. These entries beckon you in, invite you to sit and listen.”

Washington  SU awards Toner Prize to syracuse.com affiliate

“…We can even produce the kind of journalism that’s the envy of much larger metro newsrooms.” – Nick Falsone, editor of lehighvalleylive.com

This national competition is open to print, broadcast, radio and web and is awarded annually by Syracuse University. Only two prizes are given each year. Current and previous winners include The Atlantic (which won the National Reporting category this year), The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, WBEZ (the NPR affiliate in Chicago) and The New Yorker.

In his acceptance speech, Nick Falsone, editor of lehighvalleylive.com, celebrated the importance of local journalism and the “level of local expertise that can only be achieved by devoting years, in some cases decades, to covering the same community.”

“We’ve never flown on Air Force One, or travelled overseas on assignment, and we don’t get many calls to appear on the Sunday morning talk shows,” said Falsone, who oversaw the editing of “Swing County, Swing State” and also contributed opinion columns to the project.
But, he added, “at times we can even produce the kind of journalism that’s the envy of much larger metro newsrooms.”

Congratulations to the project team: editor Nick Falsone; lead reporters Sara Satullo and Steve Novak; contributing reporters Desmond Boyle, Pamela Sroka-Holzmann, Connor Lagore, Jonathan Salant, Josh Axelrod, Samantha Marcus and Rebecca Everett; photographer Saed Hindash, designers Cassidy Grom and Arjun Kakkar. Special thanks to John Best, Donna Fisher, Matt Smith and Yan Wu, freelancers who also contributed to the winning work.

This is just one of the most recent examples of how the editorial team continues to raise the bar for journalistic excellence.

In early February 2021, Brad Wilson, veteran sports reporter for The Express-Times and lehighvalleylive.com, was named the next recipient of the prestigious Bob Dellinger Award, recognizing the nation’s top wrestling writers and considered one of the oldest sports writing prizes in the nation.

In March 2021, the team learned that they swept the competition at the New Jersey Press Association’s 2020 Better Newspaper Contest, taking home a total of 22 awards including the general excellence award for The Express-Times.

Congratulations to the Lehighvalleylive.com + The Express Times editorial team on all of their achievements!

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