Earns 10 awards in Ohio AP contest
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COLUMBUS — The Mount Vernon News won 10 awards in a statewide journalism contest Saturday including third-place in the prestigious General Excellence category for Division II newspapers. The Ohio Associated Press Media Editors awards were presented for stories published in 2017.
“The General Excellence recognition was a complete surprise,” said News Managing Editor Samantha Scoles. “It validates the hard work our staff puts into everything they do. It is through this team effort that excellence is achieved. We hope it proves to our community the importance of what we do and the value of having a locally-owned newspaper.”
The News was part of a three-way tie for third in the General Excellence category with the Medina Gazette and Zanesville Times Recorder. Cleveland Jewish News took second while the top prize was awarded to The (Newark) Advocate.
In addition, the News earned three first-place awards, three second-place awards and three third-place awards.
City Editor Fred Main topped the sports columnist category with his “Gimme a Mulligan.” Main’s submission package included “Dad makes big return to the golf course,” a column marking his father’s triumphant return to the golf course three years after suffering a stroke.
Sports Editor Bill Davis took third place in the sports columnist category with his column, “Off the Bench.” In his columns, Davis talks with readers about his own children’s involvement in sports and the evolution of student sections at high school sports.
“When writing columns, Fred (Main) and Bill (Davis) are able to take their first-person approach to sports and show us how intricately sports are woven into the fabric of their families,” Scoles said. “By sharing their family stories, our readers are able to connect with them on a personal level.”
Judges made no written comments in this category.
Scoles took home four awards on Saturday including first place for editorial writing and third place for best columnist with a judge commenting, “As a managing editor, Samantha Scoles doesn’t just shoot the breeze with her readers, she boldly takes a stand on community issues.”
She also received two second-place honors for Best News Writer, “taking on important community issues, breaking them down for reader comprehension,” a judge stated; and Best Investigative Reporting for a piece exposing the suspension of a former Mount Vernon Fire Department captain.
Ad Design Manager Joshua Worster took home first, second and third-place awards for his graphic design work. Garnering top honors for Best Full Page Design was a page featuring now retired News Photographer Virgil Shipley on his 90th birthday.“Great idea and execution,” a judge stated. “Really enjoyed the mug shots through the years. It gave a real sense of just how long he’d been working for the paper.”
Worster earned second place in the Best Graphic Artist category that included full-page designs for All-Area Cross Country awards, progress of the Woodward Opera House, Shipley’s birthday and an index page for the 2017 Looking Glass.
“A close second. The cross-country page was well done, easy to follow and balanced,” according to judge comments.
He rounded out his awards for the day with third-place accolades for a graphic explaining the different water cost options considered by the village of Centerburg.
Also Saturday, four journalists were inducted into the Ohio APME Hall of Fame for exceptional distinction and honor in the field of journalism: Ken Barhorst of The Sidney Daily News, Holly Geaman Koza of WLIO-TV, Thomas J. Mullen of The Lima News and Pershing Rohrer of the Kent-Ravenna Record-Courier.
Saturday’s luncheon was held in Columbus and featured journalists from newspaper, radio and television. Over 1,900 entries were submitted to the annual contest from 64 daily newspapers. Entries in Division II, which included 16 newspapers, were judged by editors at the Niagara-Gazette (New York) and the Cadillac (Michigan) News.
This is the first year the News has entered the contest since it earned four awards in 2009.
“These awards are certainly well deserved,” said News Publisher Kay Culbertson. “I’m proud and grateful for all the hard work that goes in to publishing the News.”
The Mount Vernon News, owned by Culbertson, is one of a small number of Ohio daily newspapers that remains independently owned and operated. Management staff of the News includes Assistant Publisher Liz Lutwick, Circulation and NIE Manager Michelle Hartman; Advertising Manager Corby Wise, Ad Design Manager Worster; Managing Editor Scoles; and Press Room Manager Dean Hammons.