BUCKHANNON — The West Virginia Press Association recently announced award winners for their 2021 annual newspaper competition, featuring numerous contributions by The Record Delta’s Editorial and Advertising staff. The contest recognizes the top journalists, advertising staff, and overall newspaper performances in the state.
The Record Delta earned first place for the WVPA’s General Excellence Award in 2021. Editorial staff also received first place overall in their division among eight publications, while Advertising staff was recognized as second place overall in their division. General Excellence Awards honor the newspapers with the most points earned by their staff members in either the editorial or advertising competition.
The Record Delta’s Editor Tara Kennedy received several awards this year for her photography and editorial content. Kennedy received two first-place awards for her articles “Quick action spares town from fire” in the category of Best Coverage of Breaking News, and “Mays enters guilty pleas to VA murders” in the category for Best Legal Affairs Reporting. She also received second-place awards for her article “Escaped wolves euthanized” and for Best Headline Writing. Additionally, Kennedy garnered two third-place awards for another Best Legal Affairs Reporting submission and Best News Photography.
Sports Editor Duane Carpenter received first-place recognition for Best Sports Event Reporting for his article “Basketball Lady Bucs win thriller late against Bridgeport, 54-51” and Best Sports Page. He also earned three, third-place awards for his articles “Basketball Bucs clock Lewis County in Big 10 Conference battle, 64-36” for Best Sports Event Reporting; “The Record Delta Sports Jan. 21” for Best Sports Page(s); and “Football Little Bucs roll in opener” for Sports Photography.
Staff Writer Kari Conaway and Kennedy received first place for their collaboration on The Record Delta’s special Halloween page, titled “Nightmare on Meade Street” in the Photo Essay category. Conaway also received first-place awards for Best In-Depth or Investigative Reporting and Reporting Generated from Public Notice for her articles, “The Skate Debate” and “Lack of subs forces remote learning.” Conaway additionally received a third-place award for her photo taken for article titled, “Community Garden thrives with little helpers” in the category for Feature Photography.
Staff Writer Karli Hamrick received two second-place awards and one third-place award in the WVPA contest. Her article titled “MannCave meets needs with hand sanitizer” received second place for Best Business, Economic or Labor Reporting. In the Photo Essay category, Hamrick received second place for her article, “UCHAA is right on target.” For the category titled Best Governmental Affairs Reporting, Hamrick received third place for her article, “Parents protest, demand choice for in-person instruction.”
In a combined effort from all Editorial staff, The Record Delta received first place for Best COVID-19 Coverage, Best Single Edition, which featured Nightmare on Meade Street, as well as Best Special Section for the 2019 Year in Review.
Production Manager Kara Keller and her graphic design department received an impressive 15 WVPA awards this year; 12 of them awarded specifically to Keller. She received seven first-place awards for Best Process Color Ad-Half Page or Less, Best Process Color Ad-More than Half a Page, Best COVID-19 Related Advertising, Best Single Newspaper Online Promotional Ad, Best Online Static Ad, Best Newspaper Promotional Campaign, and Best Political Ad. She received second-place awards in the categories Best Ad Campaign-Half Page or Larger and Best Process Color Ad-Half Page or Less. Keller also received three third-place awards for Best Ad Campaign-Half Page or Larger, Best Process Color Ad-Half Page or Less, and Best House Ad.
Keller and Graphic Designer Megan Hepburn received first place for Best Special Section, for their work on The Record Delta’s “Discover Magazine,” which featured several regional businesses and attractions for readers to “discover” the heart of West Virginia. The pair also received second place for another Best Special Section for the “Holiday Magazine.”
Publisher James Austin shared, “Our first responsibility at The Record Delta is to keep our community informed and we work very hard to bring you the best paper possible with each edition. Today, I am very pleased that all the hard work our staff has done was recognized by the West Virginia Press Association, as The Record Delta won several first-place awards for our writing, both in News and Sports. We also won first place in General Excellence. I would like to thank our Editor Tara Kennedy and her staff for a job well done, as well as Production Manager Kara Keller for our awards in Advertising.”
Along with the release of winners, WVPA Executive Director Don Smith expressed, “We are so proud of our newspapers and staff members and thrilled to announce these editorial and advertising honors… Our newspapers did an excellent job with COVID-19 editorial coverage and advertising information. Every community in West Virginia benefitted from the information featured in their local newspaper.”
Smith is hopeful that after two years of not being able to hold in-person ceremonies, that next year, the 2022 WVPA Awards will allow winners to celebrate with their peers during a full, in-person celebration and convention.