Herald second in ‘General Excellence’

Well, it was a surprising night, to say the least, for The Herald at the annual North Carolina Press Association Awards.
In addition to the six awards we knew we were getting, the surprise of the night came when it was announced we were chosen second out of nearly 30 papers in our circulation division for ‘General Excellence.’
General Excellence is the “biggy” and it grades your newspaper as a whole — News, Sports and Features. I’ll admit, we expected a better showing in the individual awards (we were possibly overconfident), but getting the group recognition makes up for everything. First place went to fellow Paxton newspaper The Henderson Dispatch, so we offer them congratulations (and a “watch out” for next year).
This year’s award was The Herald’s first GE award since 1989, when we won third place. I’m not sure how we did before that.

As for the ceremony itself, I almost left mid-way through. I have developed a mini-case of the flu, and last night, I did my best to stay alert through the whole thing. They save the General Excellence announcements for last, so the rest of the ceremony seemed to drag on (note, journalists aren’t the best speakers … remember that next time you ask me to speak to a crowd).
You’ll be happy to know that when they did announce The Herald, we were one of the few papers to actually “WHOOP!” it up. Even R.V. Hight got into it with his famous “twist” dance afterward.

Congratulations to the entire news staff at The Herald — Kevin Degon, R.V. Hight, Alex Podlogar, Jamie Stamm, Jonathan Owens, Gordon Anderson, Chelsea Kellner, Randy Quis, Brooke Wolfe, Kim Edwards and Marie Webster. There’s definitely a celebration in order.

OK, enough bragging. Back to being sick.

Pictures to come later

The following story appeared in today’s Herald.

CARY — The Herald was winner of seven North Carolina Press Association awards handed out Thursday night at the NCPA’s Winter Institute including second place in the general excellence category.
The seven awards are The Herald‘s most in a single year since 2000.
Each year, newspapers are judged in a number of categories, ranging from news reporting to sports photography, and winners are chosen in specific circulation categories. The Herald falls under the 15,000-or-less daily circulation category and competes each year against nearly 30 other newspapers annually.
Herald reporter Jonathan Owens received two awards Thursday, one second-place award for headline writing and a third-place award in sports writing for a story on Tobacco Road being named the 10th most difficult golf course in the nation.
Community Editor Jamie Stamm won second place in the criticism category for her book reviews. Brooke Wolfe received a third place award in news photography for a photo she shot of a family that had just escaped a house fire in Sanford.
And Herald movie critic Neil Morris won first place in the criticism category for his reviews, including “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.”
The Herald news staff received a third-place award in the feature writing category for a series of stories it did about cancer survivors for the Relay For Life event.
The highlight of the evening was the general excellence award, which honors the newspaper as a whole.
“Our newsroom was pleased with the recognition, and we’re hoping to increase our numbers in the coming years,” said Herald Editor Billy Liggett, who joined the paper in February 2007. “Our individual awards show we have a talented staff here, but the general excellence award shows we work well as a team.We’re very excited about that.”
The NCPA Winter Institute awards ceremony was held at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Cary. A complete list of winners from all North Carolina newspapers in all categories can be found online at www.ncpress.com.


8 thoughts on “Herald second in ‘General Excellence’

  1. We done came up like Seven-Up, baby!

    Seriously, though, I plan on blogging about this later in the day, but this should be at least a little proof that, No, Sanford, your paper doesn’t suck anymore.
    Not that it ever did suck, but I do encounter residual sarcasm from some in the community often when I tell them where I work. Just the other day Gordon and I had a spirited, if not borderline offensive, conversation at the bar with a local business owner (who was our age) who tried to big-league us for working at the Herald, when we were just enjoying a cold one and watching the Tar Heels.
    But you know what? I love the Herald, and I think we are the best small daily in the state. Right now I wouldn’t want to work anywhere else.
    We really do have 12 hardworking professionals in the newsroom that strive to put out a strong paper each day. Yes there are spelling errors on occasion. But I dare anyone in the area to assemble 10 of his friends and put together a better paper.
    And kudos to Billy. He has really worked hard to turn this paper around in the last year, and it has shown, perhaps never brighter than Thursday night at the awards ceremony. He is an asset we need to keep around for a while.
    Next year, we get at least 10 awards and a first-place GE. The gauntlet has been thrown.

  2. My hope is that the Herald and the community of Sanford appreciate the talent of Billy Liggett.

    I wish the Herald and Billy all the best in the future. I have said it before, Sanford your gain is our loss here in Louisiana.


  3. Congratulations to the whole staff at the Herald and a special Whoo Hoo to Billy. Knowing how competitive he is, I’m sure that number of awards will only increase in number and rank as the years go by.

  4. Your desire for excellence has always been
    the driving force in all you do. And I am so very proud of you Billy. Congratulations to
    you and your wonderful staff on a job well done.

    Now get to feeling better.

  5. Congratulations to all of you! I love the improvements you have made to The Herald and I am so glad you received recognition for all of your hard work! I do hate that you got oubsed by The Henderson Dispatch…you probably would have gotten first if you had just left poor Dennis alone.
    Hope you feel better!

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