The Inter-Mountain took top honors in its division, winning the general excellence award for journalism and nearly three dozen others at the recent West Virginia Press Association's annual convention at Oglebay Park in Wheeling.
The Inter-Mountain, competing in the toughest of four circulation categories, beat The Times West Virginian, Exponent Telegram and a field of other noteworthy publications to bring home the prestigious award that recognizes exemplary work within the state's newspaper industry. In addition to earning the first-place general excellence ranking for its editorial submissions, The Inter-Mountain's advertising efforts also scored well. The paper placed second in general excellence in the ad contests.
General excellence rankings are determined by the total score of awards. The Inter-Mountain won 35 honors in addition to the two general excellence distinctions.
The Inter-Mountain advertising staff includes, from left, Sue McCarthy, Beth Myers, Lori Smith, Joyce Becker, Rob Fink, Jackie Schrader, Philip Hawken, Tommy Lopez, Tommy Powell, Sue Blankenship, Michelle Hammonds and Chongo Skidmore.
"I am so proud of the staff's efforts and know the hard work and dedication they put in behind the scenes to make The Inter-Mountain the best community newspaper possible for our readers and advertisers," said Inter-Mountain Publisher and General Manager Heather Goodwin Henline. "It is such an honor to be recognized by leaders within the industry as having a quality core product, and I believe newspapers are alive and well, still playing vitally important roles in the communities we serve. In addition to recognizing my staff, I also want to thank our loyal readers and advertisers, because they are why we strive every day to do our very best."
The newspaper's advertising department claimed 15 awards: five first places, four second places and six third places.
First-place advertising winners were:
- Best Special Section, Holiday Greetings, staff
- Best Theme Page Classified, Let the Work Begin, staff
- Best Theme Pages Retail, Business Showcase, staff
- Best Website Ad, Beverly Pike Animal Clinic, staff
- Best Political Ad, WANTED - David Taylor, Tommy Lopez and Philip Hawken
Second-place advertising winners were:
- Best Process Color Ad - Over 1/2 Page, Slammin Savings - Performance Motors, Beth Myers and Philip Hawken
- Best Special Section -Sports, Full-Court Press - Basketball Preview, staff
- Best House Ad, We Always Have the Best Scoop, Erin Quint
- Best Theme Pages - Retail, Football Friday, staff
Third-place advertising winners were:
- Best Small Ad Campaign, Randolph County Solid Waste Authority, staff
- Best Single Ad - Black and White - Under 1/2 Page, Dodd's Florist, Tommy Powell and Jackie Schrader
- Best Spot Color Ad Under 1/2 Page, Elkins On Trac Express, Tommy Powell, Chongo Skidmore and Jackie Schrader
- Best Theme Pages Classified, Public Service Directory, staff
- Best Theme Pages Retail, Mountain Quilt Quest, staff
- Best Website Ad, Randall Elmore, staff
"I am extremely proud of my entire staff," said Michelle Hammonds, advertising director at The Inter-Mountain. "The awards we won not only exhibit our commitment to the community, but also show what real teamwork can accomplish."
The newsroom of The Inter-Mountain received 20 total awards: six first-place awards, five second-place awards and nine third-place finishes.
First-place editorial winners were:
- Best Headline News, Heather Goodwin Henline
- Best Lifestyles Columnist, Bonnie Phares
- Service to the Community, staff
- Reporting on Governmental Affairs, Anthony Gaynor
- Best Photography - Feature, Melissa Toothman
- Best Coverage of Legal Issues/Courts, Brad Johnson and Katie Kuba
Second-place editorial winners were:
- In-Depth or Investigative Reporting, Brad Johnson and Melissa Toothman
- Best Written News Story, Anthony Gaynor and Casey Houser
- Best Sports Feature Writing, Beth Christian Broschart
- Reporting on Governmental Affairs, Brad Johnson
- Best Sports Page or Pages, Edgar Kelley and Alec Rader
Third-place editorial winners were:
- Best Headline News, staff
- Best Front Page, Alec Rader
- Best Sports Section, Staff
- Best Lifestyles Columnist, Lauren Ragland
- Best Cartoon Drawing/Graphic, Matthew Burdette
- Best Sports Feature Writing, Edgar Kelley
- Reporting on Governmental Affairs, John Wickline
- Best Lifestyles Page, Matthew Burdette
- Best Coverage of Legal Issues/Courts, Brad Johnson
"I can't say enough positive things about the editorial department staff," said Executive Editor Matthew Burdette. "The hard work and dedication they have exhibited over the past year is a major factor in the success we all are seeing now. I am proud and humbled to be a part of this award-winning group of journalists that have such a passion for reporting the news to this great community.
"Receiving awards from our peers in the newspaper business is an amazing honor, but perhaps the greatest recognition we earned this year was the Service to the Community distinction. Our commitment to our readers is unrivaled, and we strive to provide them with the most up-to-date and accurate report on the happenings in Central West Virginia every day. Our No. 1 priority has and always will be our faithful readers."
Newspapers across the Mountain State competed in four circulation divisions, two each for daily and weekly newspapers in both the advertising and editorial divisions. The editorial contest had 25 categories, ranging from Coverage of Governmental Affairs to Best Sports Feature Writing and Best Editorial Page. In 2013, 40 newspapers entered 2,216 entries in the editorial portion of the competition, while 29 newspapers entered 1,324 items in the advertising competition.
The Inter-Mountain competes in Division 2, along with nine other daily newspapers throughout the Mountain State with a circulation of less than 16,000.
Several other distinctions were handed out during the three-day convention, including the induction of two outstanding journalists into the West Virginia Press Association's Hall of Fame.
Francis R. Hollendonner, a former publisher at The Parkersburg News & Sentinel, as well as Lyell Clay, a former publisher of the Charleston Newspapers, both were praised for their commitment to the newspaper industry during induction ceremonies. The News & Sentinel is a sister publication of The Inter-Mountain.
Also, Ed Given, the publisher of the Braxton Citizens' News in Sutton, was honored with the Adam R. Kelly Premier Journalist Award by the WVPA. The award is the highest individual honor bestowed by the press association, and is given in recognition of service to newspaper industry and for service to the community.
"This competition displays the quality of journalism in West Virginia. From the largest daily newspaper to the smallest weekly newspaper, West Virginian residents benefit from the outstanding and dedicated work of journalists working in the Mountain State," said Don Smith, executive director of the West Virginia Press Association.
"Community journalism remains the centerpiece of the newspaper industry in West Virginia. The West Virginia Press Association is proud to recognize and honor these outstanding journalists and newspapers."