COLUMBIA — Carolina Gateway and The Lancaster News both received top overall recognition at the S.C. Press Association’s annual banquet Friday, March 10, at the Cooperative Conference Center in Columbia.
Carolina Gateway received first place for General Excellence in the weekly newspaper division for publications with circulations of 3,000-6,500. The Lancaster News received second place in the same category. The editorial staff of TLN also won six other awards.
“Quality overall coverage presented in a well-thought-out and laid-out newspaper,” one judge wrote of Carolina Gateway. “I felt like I knew the pulse of the community after reading these entries. Good job.”
The general excellence criteria includes every aspect of journalism, including content, writing, design, editing, headlines, use of photos, editorial page quality and sports and lifestyle coverage.
“I am just thrilled to have both of our newspapers — Carolina Gateway and The Lancaster News — win first and second in General Excellence, which judges everything in the paper except advertising,” said Jane Alford, editor of both papers.
“It’s a tribute to the high quality of journalism we hold ourselves to here. Although we’ve seen a lot of changes here in the last year or so, that’s one thing that hasn’t changed,” she said.
“I’m also proud of all of our staff and freelancers’ individual awards. Competition is stiff in the weekly contests, so it means a lot to have our work recognized as among the best in the state.”
There were 2,700 entries from 68 papers in this year’s competition, which was judged by the Georgia Press Association.
Former reporter Greg Summers received first place in Profile Feature Writing for his May 4 story, “Luckiest man on Earth,” which profiled Apollo 16 astronaut Charlie Duke, a Lancaster native.
“The amount of detail that went into this story is simply amazing,” one of the judges wrote. “Although long, I could’ve read it for pages and pages. You have a real gift for storytelling and painting a detailed picture.”
Sports editor and reporter Mac Banks received second place recognition for his Growth and Development Beat Reporting.
“It’s always nice to win something,” Banks said. “I never take it for granted, because it is extremely difficult to place in the top three with the number of other journalists out there vying to win something.”
Robert Howey, the paper’s former sports editor, also won second place for Sports Headline Writing and Sports Column Writing.
“I consider it an honor to receive awards at the annual S.C. Press Association awards banquet,” Howey said. “It’s nice to receive a first, but a second or third makes you proud because each category is competitive with a large number of entries. Over the years, I have seen the quality and quantity increase.”
Alford won second place for Feature Page Design for the front page of the Senior Lifestyles section.
Freelancer and former TLN reporter Mandy Catoe won third place in Profile Feature Writing for her story on artist Fran Gardner in Today’s Woman.
“I am extremely proud of Jane (Alford) and our newsroom on their awards. They work hard to keep our readers in Lancaster County informed and it is nice to see them recognized by their peers,” said Dale Morefield, publisher of both papers.
“I am especially proud of the General Excellence awards since they take into consideration the entire newspaper, over a period of time. Lancaster County is fortunate to have this team of award-winning journalists covering the county.”
Morefield had a lot to celebrate beyond the eight awards for Carolina Gateway and TLN. He is also publisher of The (Chester) News and Reporter, which won 17 awards, including the Montgomery/Shurr Freedom of Information Award, and The (Camden) Chronicle-Independent, which won one award.
“Thank you for all that each of you do every day to make our newspapers great and relevant in our communities,” Morefield told the staffs of each paper. “Please know it is appreciated and recognized. Congratulations to those honored last Friday. We are all proud of your accomplishments!”
Howey extended his congratulations to his local and regional colleagues.
“I also congratulate my fellow winners on their awards,” Howey said. “The awards won by the Carolina Gateway and The Lancaster News and their staff members let me know the job is getting done at a high level. Also, kudos to The Chester News and Reporter on their awards.”