Herald Awards

By Jim Buchanan


Sylva Herald staff members brought home a record-tying 15 awards from last week’s North Carolina Press Association Editorial Contest.

The total matches last year’s 15 awards.

The Herald competed in Division B, representing newspapers with circulations from 3,500 to 10,000 subscribers. A record number of journalists were on hand for the awards ceremony at the NCPA’s 2020 Winter Convention at the Raleigh Marriott Crabtree Valley.

More than 4,400 entries were submitted by 100-plus newspapers and news organizations for the contest, one of the largest in the nation. Submissions were judged by members of the Arkansas, Washington and West Virginia press associations.

This year’s winners:

First Place, Arts & Entertainment reporting to Jim Buchanan for his examination of “Back of Beyond,” George Ellison and Janet McCue’s book on Horace Kephart, a “key player in Smokies lore and preservation.”

First Place, Feature Writing to Quintin Ellison for “Duck, Duck, Goose,” of which the judge wrote, “I didn’t think a story of a duck hanging out with a goose could be this interesting. I especially enjoyed the speculation on the relationship.”

First Place, Headline Writing – Jim Buchanan and Quintin Ellison.

First Place, Investigative Reporting – Tanner Hall for his investigation into hazard mapping and landslides.

Third Place, Business Writing: Tanner Hall for “Promised haven now an investor trap?” The judge wrote “Nice work investigating how residents of a housing development were duped. Aided by great quotes from some of the people affected by this.”

Second Place, Lede: Dave Russell.

Third Place, Lede: Quintin Ellison

(Editor’s note: The “lede” is the opening to a story).

First Place, Lighter Columns – Renea Winchester for her columns on a farm from the differing perspectives of animals, of which the judge wrote, “I know a lot of people would enjoy this column, from a goat protector to a mamma kitty security cat … you want to read the next chapter before it’s published – well done!”

Third Place, Lighter Columns, Jim Buchanan. The judge wrote, “I like how Jim gets to the point fast and includes some interesting insight. I, too, always wondered how you could broom dirt and not make it look dirty.”

First Place, General News Photography – Staff for “NCDOT tackles, fixes Sylva sinkhole.” The judge commented “Crisp, clean and lots of contrast. Eye-catching photos depict the story it tells well.”

First Place, Spot Photography – Quintin Ellison for her photos of a police foot chase in Sylva.

Third Place, Spot Photography: Dave Russell for his photo of a truck in a precarious spot above Savannah Creek.

Third Place, Sports Coverage: Carey Phillips, deemed by the judge as “A machine! Beautiful sections and awesome local coverage. Great job!”

Second Place, Sports Enterprise Reporting: Quentin Ellison and Carey Phillips for “Safety measures increased after spectators harass soccer official.” The judge called it a “great story about a national issue, and all the bases were covered.”

Third Place, Use of Photos: Sherry Tilley for the “strong use of photos to convey the story of an endangered species. Captivating sports images draw readers to content.”

Herald Publisher Steve Gray said, “This confirms what a great staff we have at The Herald, as their work is recognized year after year. I’m proud of each winner and congratulations.”