A tip of the cap to…..us!

Published 11:00 am Tuesday, March 14, 2017

It’s an event that no matter how many times you’re fortunate enough to attend, it never grows old.

On Thursday of last week, Roanoke-Chowan Publications was among newspaper organizations, large and small from across the state, honored by the North Carolina Press Association during their annual Winter Institute.

The Advertising, News, Editorial and Photojournalism Contest – along with numerous informative seminars for us newspaper types – was held at The Sheraton in downtown Raleigh. There, Roanoke-Chowan Publications garnered a total of 11 awards….the most we have ever received in a single year; at least while this old reporter has been part of the newsroom team.

Congratulations are in order for our “rookie” advertising and page designer Crystal Parker. This year’s event marked the first time she had ever entered her work….basically because she’s new to this job. However, our newcomer was a hit with the judges as Crystal came home with five individual awards and she played a significant role in another.

Her work claimed two first-place awards – Best Color Institutional Ad (for Garrett-Sykes Funeral Service), and Best Real Estate Ad in a Niche Publication (for Kee Builders).

Crystal was also recognized with a pair of second-place awards: Best Food Ad (for her work on the Baker’s Peanuts ad that is published in our newspaper), and Best Use of Color (for the Red Barn Market ad).

She picked-up a third-place award for the Best Black and White Institutional Ad (Albemarle Urgent Care).

While it was listed as a Staff entry, Crystal did the lion’s share of the work through her overall design of our 2016 Breast Cancer Awareness tab. And for her efforts, we collected a second-place prize for Best Special Section.

Our ad staff collected another award (third place) for Best Real Estate Ad in a Niche Publication (for Duke Roofing).

All totaled, newspapers from across our state submitted 1,025 entries for the Advertising Contest. As you can see from that amount of entries, the competition is fierce just to place among the top three in any category.

On the news and editorial side of the awards ceremony, you couldn’t wipe the smile off this old man’s face with a wire brush….not for my individual awards, but rather for the one collected by my friend and colleague Gene Motley.

While Gene is a gifted and trusted writer (in both news and sports), I’m his biggest fan when it comes to the weekly personal column he pens. His work there mirrors the tedious efforts he always maintains in his news/sports writings.

The judges (our work was perused by the New York Press Association) agreed by awarding Gene first place in the category of Serious Columns. Three columns are submitted in this particular category and in Gene’s case the judge wrote: “Each sample addresses issues that have received heavy national coverage, yet I learned something new about each issue from these columns that made me think about the subject matter in a way I hadn’t before.”

For the record, Gene’s trio of entries were: “Do we need a Rooney Rule in Hollywood” (from Jan. 23, 2016); “Making mistakes: We’ve all been there” (from June 4, 2016); and “Stand or sit? I have the right to do either” (from Sept. 3, 2016).

Yours truly collected a pair of honors from the NCPA. Ironically, both were in the same category: General News Reporting – 1st place for “Victim becomes villain” (from Jan. 28, 2016); and 2nd place for “Divided We Stand” (from March 26, 2016).

As a news staff, Roanoke-Chowan Publications was awarded third place for Best Special Section for our collective work on Crossroads – 2016.

Across the seven divisions (each based on circulation) of the News, Editorial and Photojournalism Contest, there were 3,892 entries received. With that number in mind along with my personal knowledge of the outstanding work of my peers across the state (yes, I do read a lot of newspapers), Roanoke-Chowan Publications feels very fortunate to have been recognized.

Congratulations to all the winners – to include our sister publication, The Washington Daily News for winning first place for General Excellence in their division – and, pardon the self-serving comment, a tip of the cap to us!


Cal Bryant is the Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact him at cal.bryant@r-cnews.com or 252-332-7207.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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