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Caroline Progress earns press awards

Posted on Monday, April 22, 2013 at 9:39 am

The Caroline Progress was honored with five awards from the Virginia Press Association at the organization’s annual conference and meeting.

The newspaper, competing in a group of more than 50 weekly newspapers of comparable circulation size throughout Virginia, won five awards in the association’s annual news contest – including two first-place awards.

The awards were presented Saturday evening last week during the association’s annual conference and meeting, which was held in Norfolk.

The newspaper received awards in the three main areas of the contest: writing, design, and photography. The awards were based on editions that were published in 2012.

Two members of the newspaper staff were recognized along with a Caroline County woman who previously worked as a freelance writer.

The newspaper won first place for government writing, an award that was shared by editor Tim Cox and reporter Eric Miller. The award was based on an entry of three articles – a report written by Cox about a government agency rejecting Caroline’s application to refinance bonds, a report by Cox about employees of Sheriff Tony Lippa who appeared before the Board of Supervisors to speak in support of his budget request, and a report by Cox and Miller about a proposed admissions tax that targeted the State Fair of Virginia.

The other first place award was in the category of combination of picture and story. The entry was a feature story written by Micala West, formerly of Ruther Glen, about two young Caroline women who became friends while earning veterinary technician degrees from a community college and now are employed as veterinary technicians – one on a family farm and the other for an animal hospital. Cox edited the article, took the photographs for it, and designed it for publication. West and Cox shared the award. The judges commented, “A simple but highly effective layout that allows the photos to speak loudly for this in-depth story. Good use of varying shapes an sizes of photos.”

Cox was recognized with two more awards, and Miller earned another.

Cox won second place for editorial writing. His winning entry was three editorials – one about Supervisor Calvin Taylor criticizing the newspaper and threatening to cancel legal advertising, another about a decision of the Board of Supervisors to increase the National Automobile Dealers Association value used to calculate personal property tax bills, and another about actions by state government in recent years to shift more financial burdens onto local governments.

Of the newspaper’s entries for editorial writing, the judges wrote, “Kudos for pointing out that your newspaper’s opinions are not for sale. These editorials are succinct and well written. Good job.”

Cox also won a second place award in the category for breaking news photograph. The photograph was of an accident on Interstate 95 and was taken from the Cedon Road overpass over the highway. It depicted the accident scene with rescue personnel, traffic backed up behind the wreck, and a helicopter hovering above the highway as it prepared to depart with a victim.

Miller won a third place award for in-depth or investigative reporting. His report was about a decision by Caroline Circuit Court Clerk Ray Campbell to hire a deputy clerk although he knew she had been charged with breaking a law related to keeping public records while she was employed as a deputy in Fredericksburg Circuit Court. The judges commented, “Good job of ferreting out this story, laying out the facts and letting people decide for themselves.”

The newspaper competed in a division consisting of 54 non-daily newspapers with circulation under 5,000.

The association’s annual news contest also includes groups of larger non-daily newspapers as well as daily newspapers.

The annual Virginia Press Association news contest was judged by journalists who are members of the Colorado Press Association.