Stephen H. Cowles, left, Frank Davis, Publisher Steve Stewart, Ryan Outlaw, Associate Publisher Tony Clark, Advertising Director Mitzi Lusk and Kate Archer, all of The Tidewater News, show off the sweepstakes award the paper won Saturday night at the annual Virginia Press Association Awards ceremony in Norfolk. -- SUBMITTED/ALMETA DAVIS
Stephen H. Cowles, left, Frank Davis, Publisher Steve Stewart, Ryan Outlaw, Associate Publisher Tony Clark, Advertising Director Mitzi Lusk and Kate Archer, all of The Tidewater News, show off the sweepstakes award the paper won Saturday night at the annual Virginia Press Association Awards ceremony in Norfolk. -- SUBMITTED/ALMETA DAVIS

Archived Story

Best of the best: The Tidewater News takes top spot at annual awards presentation

Published 11:48am Monday, April 22, 2013

NORFOLK—For the second time in the newspaper’s 107-year history, The Tidewater News was honored by the Virginia Press Association as the state’s top newspaper in 2012.

Competing against the nineteen other non-daily newspapers in Virginia in its circulation class, The Tidewater News won the Sweepstakes Award, which is presented for general excellence in writing, photography, design and multimedia reporting.

The award was presented on Saturday at the VPA’s annual awards banquet, held this year in Norfolk. The Tidewater News had previously been recognized as the top newspaper in 2009.

“To simply say that I’m proud of our staff would be a huge understatement,” said Associate Publisher Tony Clark. “The award itself is special because it is a recognition handed out by our peers in the industry. But what makes it even more meaningful to me is that every single member of our team contributed in a significant way. Our entire team works very hard to put out a newspaper that not only serves our community, but also is one it can be proud of. I hope this award is an indication that we are doing that.”

The Colorado Press Association, which judged this year’s contest, gave The Tidewater News 14 awards in all, including seven first-place honors.

First place awards given for writing went to staff writer Stephen Cowles, who was recognized for his work on Business and Agribusiness pages. CPA judges commented “The business pages in particular feature nice flow, modern type and graphics.” Former staff writer Dale Liesch was recognized for his overall portfolio of sports writing, in particular his features on the James Madison University quarterback and Penn State University – Harrisburg basketball player. Former managing editor Gwen Albers’ coverage of the Eric Smith murder case was recognized in breaking news writing, notably for the stories’ “Good lead and quotes.” Associate Publisher Tony Clark took the top spot for column writing. Judges commented that he wrote “Great columns about government, schools and the important things in life, small as they may seem.”

For multimedia news reporting, the team lead by Albers and consisting of photographer Kate Archer, graphic designer Ryan Outlaw and publisher Steve Stewart won first place for the May 1, 2012 website coverage of the arrest of Jay Joyner on murder charges. Judges noted the “Exceptional site set up and functionality; clearly of vast importance to the local community.”

The entire staff was recognized in the category of special sections or special editions for the 2012 Progress Edition. The judges commented, “The Progress issue definitely carried this category. It is well conceived and executed, attractive, compact, easy to navigate and easy on the eyes.”

Designer Troy Cooper also won first place in information graphics for a January 2012 story titled “Living in Poverty.”

Second place recognition was given to Frank Davis for sports news photography and Steve Stewart for column writing.

Third place honors were also given to Davis for sports feature photography, page designer Beth Roughton for her work on lifestyle or entertainment pages and Liesch for his portfolio of government writing. Third place awards also went to the entire staff for sports pages and picture and story combinations.

In the advertising contest The Tidewater News followed up on last year’s success with another impressive showing. Led by graphic designer Ryan Outlaw and advertising director Mitzi Lusk, the advertising team won nine total awards, including five first place finishes. The staff took first place for Slick Publications for the Progress 2012 edition. Outlaw, a best in show winner last year, followed up with 3 individual first place honors for the Education and Churches, Entertainment and Lifestyles and Food and Drug categories. He also shared another first place award with Lusk for their work in the Home and Garden category. The pair shared a second place honor in Home and Garden, and Outlaw received an individual second place award for Professional/Technology Services as well as two third place honors for Automotive and Entertainment and Lifestyles.

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