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.