For the second year in a row, the twice-weekly Columbia County News-Times competed with small daily newspapers in Georgia and still managed a respectable showing in the Georgia Press Association's Better Newspapers Contest.
At an awards ceremony June 6 in Panama City, Fla., The News-Times received first-place staff awards for religion and education coverage and a second-place staff award for headline writing.
Photographer Jim Blaylock won second place for photo illustration in competition with all daily newspapers in the state -- coming in second to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution -- while publisher Barry Paschal won third place for serious column writing.
"Every award in this contest is valuable because we're a community paper competing against daily newspapers from cities such as Athens, Marietta and Valdosta," Paschal said. "We're the only nondaily newspaper in Georgia competing against dailies, so we're thrilled to get even a single award."
Staff writers Betsy Gilliland and Valerie Rowell, along with former staffer J. Scott Trubey, wrote the stories that received the first-place finishes for education and religion coverage.
"Those two first-place awards are especially gratifying, because education and religion are the core of coverage for a community newspaper, and our writers do an outstanding job in serving those areas," Paschal said.
The News-Times also received six awards during the GPA's Advertising Conference in April. Those prizes included first-place awards in the health care, signature page and miscellaneous categories, along with second-place wins for full color, miscellaneous and service/institutional categories.
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