Now Accepting Nominations for the 2018 NJ Pen Townie Awards


Tell us about the people, places, and members of your community that make it what it is, and we’ll share those stories with our readers.

By Matt Skoufalos | April 18, 2018

Next month, NJ Pen will begin its fifth year in business as an independent, paywall-free, local news service.

In the five years since we’ve launched, we’ve published almost 1,300 stories, grown our readership from the ground up, and met hundreds of you in person in the course of doing this job.

And yet there are so many stories left to tell; so many of the greatest pieces of our neighborhoods still yet to be revealed.

In the publishing world, spring is typically “best of” season, where ballot-stuffing popularity contests pivot into marketing devices. And while readers are still learning the necessary value of putting their money behind the publications they believe in, it’s a forgivable sin.

(Hint: now’s as good a time as any to help keep our operations going.)

But the obsession with recommendations and ratings and quantifiable metrics is a hollow one. It doesn’t tell you much about the people involved, their stories, and whether any of this data is at all meaningful.

So, as an antidote to the typical, we want to offer our version of local recognition. We’re calling them The Townie Awards. The vehicle we’ve chosen to do this is the same one we’ve always used: our news service. And the only prize we offer is the thing we do best: storytelling.

We’re asking our readers is to help us identify the people and places on which we should shine a light to tell those stories better.

Here are the categories:

  • The Local Hero – Tell us about someone in town whose contributions to your community make it a better place to live.
  • The Small Business That Changed My Life – Businesses come and go; some make lasting impressions. Who are the local entrepreneurs and servicepeople who made a difference to you?
  • The Most Welcoming Space – “Third places” that aren’t work or home are vital to community life. What are the best in this area?
  • The Outstanding Public Employee – Public services are powered by people who put themselves into the job. Who are the difference-makers in your town?
  • The Teacher Who Made a Difference – Teachers, tutors, instructors, and coaches—all help kids grow. Who’s your favorite?

Eligible nominees will hail from the towns in our coverage area: Audubon, Cherry Hill, Collingswood, Haddon Heights, Haddonfield, Haddon Township, Merchantville, Oaklyn, and Pennsauken.

You can submit your entries in our form below. The only thing we’ll require is your full name and a good e-mail address for us to reach you.

Your information will not be disclosed, but we may contact you to help tell the story of your nominee. Enter as often as you like.

The deadline for submissions is May 1, 2018 at 5 p.m. EST.

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