Archived Story

Farm Bureau lauds Tidewater News for agricultural coverage

Published 11:35am Wednesday, December 4, 2013

RICHMOND—The Tidewater News on Tuesday received the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation’s 2013 Journalism Award in the weekly newspaper category for “Most Comprehensive Agricultural Coverage in Virginia.”

Stephen H. Cowles, left, staff writer at The Tidewater News, is congratulated by Greg Hicks, vice president of communications for the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. The newspaper was one of two weekly publications honored Tuesday for comprehensive agriculture coverage in Virginia. -- NORM HYDE | VIRGINIA FARM BUREAU FEDERATION
Stephen H. Cowles, left, staff writer at The Tidewater News, is congratulated by Greg Hicks, vice president of communications for the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. The newspaper was one of two weekly publications honored Tuesday for comprehensive agriculture coverage in Virginia. — NORM HYDE | VIRGINIA FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

Stephen H. Cowles, staff writer, accepted the honor on the newspaper’s behalf at the VFBF’s annual convention, which began Tuesday in Richmond. The Tidewater News was not the only award recipient in its group. Jay Pinksy, formerly of the Faquier Times, was the other honoree.

“Being recognized for our agricultural coverage is validation that The Tidewater News makes a positive impression in the category,” said Cowles.

He credits Extension agents Chris Drake for Southampton County and Janet Spencer for Isle of Wight County among the people who have been especially helpful to the staff.

“We need to continue seeking out and reporting on issues and features that matter to the farming community of Western Tidewater,” Cowles added. “I am hopeful that more people will contact us as well with concerns and story ideas.”

During the ceremony, judges’ comments about each publication were publicized in a video presentation. They noted that The Tidewater News “obviously covers agriculture on a regular basis. Covering Southampton County, the newspaper featured county soybean growers and provided a special supplement that celebrated agriculture. The newspaper included a rotating cycle of interesting, helpful columns by extension staff, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Virginia Peanut Growers Cooperative Marketing Association.

“It’s obvious that farming is a large part of the community, and this paper is dedicated to covering it,” the judges said.

“In addition, the staff reported on the feral hog problem and provided seasonal updates on the county’s cotton, soybean and peanut crops during the growing year.”

The Roanoke Times and Candace Sipos of the Daily News-Record in Harrisonburg won in the daily newspaper category, and the Roanoke newspaper also received the top recognition, the Ishee-Quann Award

Jonathan Parker of the Star-Tribune in Chatham received the Members’ Choice Award. Farm Bureau members make the nominations for Member’s Choice.

WHSV TV 3 in Harrisonburg won in the TV category for the third straight year.

Ryan Cornell at the Northern Virginia Daily and Allison Williams and Adrin Snider at The Daily Press in Newport News received honorable mentions.

“As usual, we were amazed at the depth and creativity of our award winners,” said VFBF President Wayne F. Pryor. “It’s heartening to know that there are still reporters and editors who understand the importance of our $79 billion industry and report it from all sides.

“And this year’s winners represent virtually every region of the state—from the sandy soils of peanut and cotton country to the rolling hills and valleys of livestock country, and all points in between.”

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