Big night for the little Herald

Incredibly proud of everybody once associated and currently associated with The Sanford Herald in the four years I’ve been here. We did it! (Note … we made the ad BEFORE we found out about Award No. 25)

Herald named top newspaper in state in its division

CHAPEL HILL — The Herald was honored with more North Carolina Press Association awards than any newspaper in its class Thursday night, racking up 25 at the industry’s annual Winter Institute banquet.
The final award was The Herald’s first “first place” in General Excellence, an award that recognizes the best in mechanical excellence, general and departmental news coverage, literacy excellence, promotion of community interests and graphics and appearance, among other attributes.
The 25 awards top The Herald’s previous record of 14, set last year, and The Herald also took home more first place awards (10) than at any time in the paper’s history. Competing against approximately 20 other daily newspapers in the 10,000 circulation-and-under division, The Herald also won first place in general news reporting, news enterprise reporting, education reporting and appearance, among other categories.
“The number of our awards, especially the news reporting awards, is a reflection of our commitment to local news,” said Bill Horner III, The Herald’s publisher. “Everyone involved in our news product received recognition. The judges felt we put together the best newspaper of our size in the entire state of North Carolina. We feel that way, too. I’m intensely proud of Billy and our staff for the work they did, and the work they continue to do.”
Herald Editor Billy Liggett won eight individual awards, including first place in news video and graphic design, and Herald Sports Editor Jonathan Owens won four individual awards, including first place in deadline news reporting. First-year reporter Alexa Milan won three individual awards, two for education reporting and one for news video.
“Obviously, we’re thrilled with the number, but I’m happier that so many of our staff — past and present — were honored for their hard work,” Liggett said. “We’re a small paper, so for many young journalists, we’re a starting-off point in their careers. Several of the names on this awards list are at larger papers now, and Sanford was fortunate to have them when it did.”
Former Herald reporters Caitlin Mullen and Gordon Anderson won first place in “General News Reporting” for their coverage of the Shaniya Davis murder and investigation in late 2009. Owens won first for “Deadline News Reporting” for his Day 1 coverage of the Chatham County Courthouse fire in Pittsboro last April. And former Herald photographer Ashley Garner’s photo of a grieving mother at the scene of a shooting where a toddler shot his baby brother won first place for “Best News Photography.”
Current Herald reporters Alexa Milan and Jennifer Gentile shared first place for “Education Reporting” for their one-day coverage of the “Head of Class” ceremony and program implemented at Lee County Schools. Milan, a recent graduate of Elon University, also took second place in the education category for her report on low test grades and stability concerns at Southern Lee High School last fall.
The Herald’s staff won first place for “Appearance and Design” and for its “News Enterprise Reporting” on the .25-cent sales tax referendum approved by voters in November 2009 for renovations at Lee County High School. Liggett received first place nods for his graphic illustration for a “Twilight” article in 2010; for “Best Video” from a report on the filming of a zombie movie in Sanford; and for “Best Criticism” for his reviews of plays at Temple Theatre in 2009 and 2010.
Previously unmentioned second place awards included: Arts and Entertainment reporting — “Noelle Marsh: A Star is Born,” by Mullen and Liggett; Business Reporting — “Seeds of Change,” by Owens; Best Video — “Twilight midnight screening,” by Milan; Sports Column Writing by former Sports Editor Alex Podlogar; Criticism by Herald movie critic Neil Morris; Best Website, Herald staff; News Section Design, Herald staff; and Feature Section Design, by Owens.
Third place awards included: Profile Feature — “The Greatest Gift,” by Mullen; Business Writing — “Fine Arts Factory,” by Liggett; Multimedia Project — “2010 Lee Regional Fair Blog,” Herald staff; Serious Columns, Liggett; Headline Writing, Liggett; and Best Special Section — “Industrial Edition,” by Special Sections Editor R.V. Hight, section Co-Editor William “Chip” Pate and Herald photographer Wesley Beeson.
Thursday’s ceremony was held on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill. Representatives from more than 100 North Carolina newspapers were in attendance.

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