When the 2018 Scripps National Spelling Bee takes place in Washington D.C., there will be a representative from Western New York. All thanks to a pair of local newspapers in Batavia, N.Y.
This year, the Western New York Spelling Bee did not take place, due to a loss of sponsorship. So, Batavia News Group’s The Daily News and weekly sister paper The Livingston County News have stepped in to organize and help underwrite next year’s such event, sparked by their coverage of a local middle school student, Colton Judd, who won his event by spelling “macamia” but had no vehicle through which he could try and continue on to earning a spot in D.C.
From the Daily News:
Under the agreement signed recently, the Batavia Newspaper Corporation will organize a regional spelling bee open to students at public, private and home schools in the 10 western-most counties of New York — Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming; along with Allegany — outside of the 14804 zip code — and Cattaragus, Chautauqua, Erie, Monroe and Niagara.
Starting Aug. 22, schools will need to sign up to participate, and then host qualifiers among their eighth-grade and younger students. Messerly expects upwards of 100 school winners will compete in Batavia.
Kudos to publisher Michael Messerly, Daily News managing editor Tiffany Towner and colleagues for kickstarting what is quickly shaping up to be a major community event, with Genessee Community College likely to host. And of course, this type of story allows for some great ledes. Like ‘Bee-lieve it.’
P.S. The Daily News received an honorable mention in Editor & Publisher’s 2016 compilation of “10 Newspapers That Do It Right.” We’re betting they have a good chance of returning to that list in 2018.
P.P.S. Given this new Spelling Bee alignment, The Daily News might want to consider amending their online logo (pictured, above). To avoid give those young spellers the wrong idea.