DAVIS, W.Va. - The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register captured 13 awards during the West Virginia Press Association's 2014 Better Newspapers Contest, held Saturday at Canaan Valley Resort & Conference Center.
Also during the event, Perry Nardo, general manager of The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register, was honored for his term of service as president of the West Virginia Press Association.
The awards honored editorial and advertising work from 2013. The newspapers compete in Division 1, which includes all the state's large daily newspapers.
The newspapers earned four first-place awards, five second-place awards and four thirds. The Alabama Press Association judged this year's contest.
Judges awarded first-place honors in the following categories:
- Best Coverage of Legal Issues/Courts. This honor came for the work of reporter Tyler Reynard for his detailed coverage of the Steubenville rape case and the trial that led to juvenile offenders Trent Mays and Malik Richmond being found guilty in the August 2012 rape of a Weirton girl.
Reynard's coverage focused not only on the trial and related protests, but also on how the matter split the Steubenville community - and continues to do so to this day.
- Best Single Editorial. Executive Editor J. Michael Myer captured this award for his editorial "Right to Know Under Assault." In the editorial, Myer urged West Virginia lawmakers to reconsider an attempt, during the 2013 regular legislative session, to exempt certain public documents under the guise of privacy concerns.
An excerpt of the editorial reads, "West Virginia already has started down the slippery slope of allowing a handful of legislators and other public officials to decide what state residents should know and what should be kept secret from us. ... If this one succeeds, what is next?"
- Best Sports News Writing. Managing Editor John McCabe earned this award for his work on the story "WVU Will Rebid Tier 3 Media Rights." The story highlighted the players involved in West Virginia University's Tier 3 media rights battle - namely IMG and West Virginia Media - and presented, in one strong package, comprehensive coverage of the issue along with an easy-to-read explanation of just what Tier 3 media rights are and how they came into play in this dispute.
- Best Headline News. Copy editors Joseph Hauger, Paul Campbell and Scott Hanson presented a series of headlines led by the catchy "Historical Society Set to Party Like It's 1863" in preparation for last year's sesquicentennial celebration in Wheeling.
Second-place awards came in the following categories:
- Best Written New Story - "Valley Grove Home Destroyed by Pipeline Drilling" by Fred Connors.
- Best Sports Columnist - Sports Editor Shawn Rine, "Stephens Taught Nailers Many of Life's Lessons."
- Service to the Community - "Bark for Your Park," staff.
- Best Progress Edition, Advertising Staff.
- Best Classified Section, Advertising Staff.
Third-place honors came in Best Headline News, Hauger, Campbell and Hanson; Best Photo Essay, Scott McCloskey; Best Editorial Special Section, "A New Direction;" and Best Process Color Advertisement under 1/2 page, Advertising staff.
"We are very proud of our accomplishments, particularly with capturing first-place awards in four very competitive categories," McCabe said. "Our coverage of the Steubenville rape trial - both in print and online - was excellent, as was our coverage of the WVU Tier 3 media rights issue, which placed that matter into a context that no one had done previously.
"Effective newspapers provide a leading voice for their communities, and capturing a first-place award in the best single editorial category reaffirms to us that The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register continue to provide that voice for the Upper Ohio Valley."