For the eighth time in 10 years, The Columbia County News-Times was named the best Georgia newspaper in its class in the Georgia Press Association's Better Newspapers Contest.
The News-Times and its staffers received 19 awards in the contest, announced Friday at the organization's annual convention in Jekyll Island.
The awards include nine first-place awards for the newspaper and individual staffers. The newspaper won first place in General Excellence, designating The News-Times as the top newspaper among Georgia's large-circulation nondaily papers.
The awards each year are judged by members of professional media associations from other states.
"We really appreciate the opportunity to continue serving the fast-growing Columbia County community," said News-Times Publisher Barry Paschal, "but it's also gratifying for our efforts to be validated by our peers in the journalism community."
In addition to General Excellence, The News-Times received first-place awards for Local News Coverage, Page 1 and Editorial Page.
Staffers' first-place awards include:
- Donnie Fetter for Education Coverage
- Jenna Martin for Investigative Reporting, for her stories on a long-lost tombstone
- Jim Blaylock for News Photograph, for a photo of two girls singing in Brookwood Elementary School's Christmas pageant
- Two awards to Barry Paschal, for Serious Column and for Spot News Photo, for the picture of the scene of the crash that injured Greenbrier High School student Haley Van Pelt.
The News-Times also received second-place awards for Lifestyle Coverage and Headline Writing, along with a third-place award for Editorial Writing.
Staff awards included second-place for Valerie Rowell for Religion Coverage, Martin for Hard News Writing and Blaylock for Sports Feature Photo.
Third-place awards include Fetter for Education Coverage, Blaylock for Sports Photo and Feature Photo, and Rowell for Investigative Reporting.
In addition to the GPA Awards, News-Times sports columnist Ashley Brown received two awards during the weekend from the Georgia Association of Broadcasters for his work with radio station WGAC. The station also was named Station of the Year for the ninth year in a row.
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