The North Carolina Press Association handed out awards Thursday to winners of the NCPA 2012 News, Editorial & Photojournalism Contest, and the Richmond County Daily Journal took home two awards.
The awards were given at the press association’s annual Winter Institute, held at the George Watts Hill Alumni Center in Chapel Hill.
The awards are given in a yearly competition among daily and weekly newspapers throughout the state belonging to the NCPA.
Daily Journal Staff Writer Dawn M. Kurry placed first in the Serious Columns category for her columns entitled “The Top Priority,” “Contain Yourself, America,” and “A Masai mask in America.” This category was judged on originality, writing quality, significance of material presented to the community and suitable handling of the topic.
The column “The Top Priority” demonstrated the need for people to focus on maintaining fertility among plants through depictions of growing up on farms, in the country and being concerned with the overall fertility among life. The column drew on Kurry’s experiences in different parts of the world, and concluded that we are what we eat, and we must treat our planet with respect.
The column “Contain Yourself, America” discussed several ways in which humans have developed shelter over the years, touching on the recession and recent burst of the housing bubble, and suggested that shipping containers could be repurposed to create new housing.
The column “A Masai mask in America” described Kurry’s experience purchasing a Masai mask from a Masai woman at a flea market, who explained the symbolism behind the mask, which Kurry then applied to America in an attempt to redesign the mask.
“Dawn is a talented writer and I am very pleased to see her rewarded for her work,” said Daily Journal Editor John Charles Robbins.
This is Kurry’s second award from the NCPA. Last year she was won a first place award in the category of Profile Feature for her story about Windblow peach farmer Homer Bynum, and his military service in World War II.
The Daily Journal also captured a first place award in the Appearance and Design category, which was judged on “attractiveness and consistency of layout, typography, use of photos, effective headlines and overall impact of the newspaper’s appearance.” The paper submitted two complete issues from April 2012; the lead-in weekend issue when NASCAR made history and returned to Rockingham Speedway, and the April 17 issue which provided complete coverage of the big event and was packed with many photographs and stories.
“I am proud to work with journalists who have been recognized by their peers for outstanding writing and design,” said Daily Journal Publisher Rick Bacon.
The award in the Appearance and Design category is given to the entire editorial staff of the newspaper.
“Our coverage of NASCAR’s return to Rockingham was impressive and thorough,” Robbins said. “It was a genuine team effort with everyone on the staff playing a vital role in documenting that historic event. I could not be more proud of our work on these special editions and I am grateful to have the work recognized in this way.”
That team coverage was led by Sports Editor Shawn Stinson, and included the work of Kurry, along with former Staff Writers Kelli Easterling and Mallory Brown, Robbins and contributing photographer Jimmy McDonald. The stories and photos of the sports and news staff were then assembled in quality fashion by former page designer Stephanie Gershowitz.
The Daily Journal competed in the division for daily newspapers with a circulation under 12,500.