The Inter-Mountain staff was recognized for excellence once again this year by the 2012 West Virginia Press Association Better Newspaper Contest, earning 24 editorial awards and 12 awards in advertising.
The announcements were made at Stonewall Resort during the WVPA's annual convention; the advertising awards were given in a luncheon Aug. 10 and the editorial awards were given at the WVPA's Better Newspaper Contest Banquet Aug. 11.
The Inter-Mountain, which has been serving central West Virginia for more than a century, was recognized for multiple awards and earned second place in general excellence for Division II in the editorial and advertising departments. It also swept two categories: advertising web ads and editorial headline writing.
The Inter-Mountain photo by Chongo Skidmore
Members of The Inter-Mountain’s editorial staff displaying awards from 2012 West Virginia Press Association Better Newspaper Contest are from left, front row, Alec Rader, Melissa Toothman, Jane Howell, Linda Howell Skidmore, Anna Patrick and Beth Henry Vance; back row, Anthony Gaynor, Beth Christian Broschart, Casey Houser, Joe Hoover, Andew Davis and John Wickline. Not pictured are Joey Kittle and Edgar Kelley.
"I am very proud of The Inter-Mountain's staff for continuing this longstanding tradition of journalistic excellence," said Heather Henline, general manager and publisher of The Inter-Mountain. "They work hard to put together a quality newspaper for our readers. Our goal is to do that every day, and we are humbled that our paper again was ranked among the top publications in the state."
Every year newspapers from across the state submit their best editorial and advertising content to the WVPA Better Newspaper Contest. To maintain objectivity, the WVPA sends the newspapers' content to an out-of-state press association. This year the Mississippi Press Association judged the Mountain State's editorial and advertising work.
A total of 32 West Virginia newspapers submitted 1,796 entries into the editorial contest. The competition was divided among four groups, two for dailies and two for weeklies, based on circulation size. The contest includes 28 categories ranging from Best Sports Feature Writing to Best Editorial Page to Best Lifestyle Columnist.
The Inter-Mountain competed in the Division II category for daily newspapers with a circulation of less than 15,000.
The Inter-Mountain's editorial department received first-place recognition in eight categories: Best Single Issues for May 13 and July 9; Best Special Section for Mountain State Forest Festival; Best Headline News; Best Newspaper Design; Best Sports Page or Pages; Reporting of Governmental Affairs; Best Photography Feature, for "Cooling off the kids," by Anthony Gaynor; and Best Coverage of Legal Issues.
Second-place finishes in the editorial category include: Best Headline News, by Joey Kittle; Best Written News Story, by Gaynor; Reporting of Governmental Affairs by Gaynor and staff; Service to the Community; Best Photography Feature, by Gaynor; Best Lifestyle Column, by Kimberly Morgan; and Best Business/Labor Coverage, by Gaynor and Alec Rader.
Third-place awards in the editorial category include: Best Lifestyle Pages; Best Headline News, by Rader; Best Written News Story, by Gaynor; Best Photography Sports, by Joe Blankenship; Service to the Community; Best Photography Photo Essay, by Gaynor, Beth Christian Broschart and staff; Best Lifestyle Column, by Bonnie Phares; Best Business/Labor Coverage, by Gaynor and staff; and Best Cartoon Drawing/Graphic, by Linda Howell Skidmore.
Regarding the editorial department's 24 awards, Skidmore, The Inter-Mountain's editor, said, "All of our reporters truly care about our communities and bringing the news to our readers. This is something they work hard at every day. I am very proud of them and appreciate their efforts. Receiving this type of praise and recognition serves as yet another reinforcement."
The advertising contest included 1,168 entries from a total of 21 West Virginia newspapers. The Inter-Mountain received 12 awards within the Division II category.
First-place advertising awards include: Best Special Section; and Best Website Ad, by Tommy Powell and staff.
Second-place finishes include: Best Website Ad by Wes Barrickman and staff; Best Special Section Sports; and Best Process Color Ad.
Third-place advertising awards include: Best Theme Pages Retail; Best Website Ad, by Beth Myers and staff; Best House Ad; Best Spot Color Ad, by Powell and staff; Best Process Color Ad, by Barrickman and staff; Best Small Ad Campaign, by Powell and staff; and Best Classified Section, by Sue Blankenship and staff.
"I am very proud of our staff and the creativity they put forth in each project," said Michelle Hammonds, The Inter-Mountain's advertising director. "They strive to make each ad attractive and informative to our many readers. I am especially pleased that their work has been recognized for its excellence by peers at another publication."
Overall, Henline said she's proud of The Inter-Mountain's performance.
"I congratulate our employees on this outstanding achievement," she said. "I also want to thank our loyal readers and ad clients for challenging us to raise the bar every year and to surpass previous achievements. It is because of our readers and customers that we are inspired to not only excel for competition, but also in their eyes as well."