The Columbia County News-Times brought home 19 statewide journalism awards Saturday, including second place statewide for similar publications, from the Georgia Press Association’s annual Better Newspapers Awards announced in Sandestin, Fla., during the five-state Southeastern Press Convention.
The second-place prize for General Excellence rates the newspaper among the top three for newspapers that print two or three times a week.
“Our staff has done an outstanding job producing Columbia County’s community newspaper,” said Barry Paschal, The News-Times’ publisher. “Ranking second place in the state gives us a lot to be proud of and a goal for aiming higher next year.”
Receiving first-place awards this year are:
• Photographer Jim Blaylock received first place awards for a photo essay and sports photograph, all from pictures taken during Little League playoffs. Blaylock also won three second-place awards and a third-place award for feature and sports photography.
• Staff writer Valerie Rowell received a first-place award for business coverage, along with first- and third-place awards for spot news photography for photographs from crash scenes.
• Former news editor Donnie Fetter, who recently was promoted to managing editor of The Athens Banner-Herald, received first-place awards for education coverage and hard news writing, along with a second-place award for feature writing.
• Paschal was awarded first place for serious column writing, while staff writer Jenna Martin received a second-place award for hard news writing, and was one of the writers receiving a staff award for second place in business coverage.
The newspaper also received a first-place award for headline writing, second place for sports writing and third place for local news coverage.