Free Press wins 21 awards
4/24/2015, 8:48 a.m.
The Richmond Free Press continues its 23-year tradition of award-winning excellence.
The newspaper was recognized with 21 awards — including seven first place awards and a Best in Show Award — at the annual Virginia Press Association competition in writing, photography, news presentation and advertising.
The contest for work published in 2014 was judged by members of the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association. Winners were announced April 18 at the VPA’s awards banquet in Roanoke.
April A. Coleman, Free Press vice president for production, received the Best in Show Award for large, non-daily newspapers in Virginia for a color advertisement, “Academic Excellence,” designed for Virginia Union University. The same ad also garnered Ms. Coleman a first place award in the advertising contest’s education and churches category for color ads.
Ms. Coleman also won first place in the entertainment category for black and white ads.
Free Press staff writer Joey Matthews won first place for his feature writing portfolio.
His entry included a trio of articles on the death last year of 8-year-old Marty Cobb who was killed trying to protect his older sister; an Albert Hill Middle School coach returning to her team after suffering a stroke; and a mother and son incarcerated at the Richmond City Jail trying to break what had become a family cycle.
Staff photographer Sandra Sellars received first place awards in two categories — breaking news and general news.
Her photo, “Kiss,” caught two women locked in embrace moments after they wed in an impromptu ceremony on the courthouse steps in Downtown when same-sex marriage was declared legal in Virginia last year.
Ms. Sellars’ photo was called “excellent” by the judges. “Captures the joy and chaos of this breaking news story.”
Her photo, “Vigil,” of three young children attending a neighborhood memorial vigil for their slain friend Marty Cobb, was described by the judges as “poignant,” capturing the pain and grief of a difficult event to cover.
“The photographer demonstrated remarkable eye for the story and skill to get the shot,” the judges wrote. The photo won Ms. Sellars top honors in the general news photo category.
Former Free Press production team member Brittany Hughes also won two first place awards in the advertising contest’s fashion and personal care and professional/technology services categories for black and white ads.
Combined, all the awards propelled the Free Press to second place in the Grand Sweepstakes among large, non-daily newspapers in Virginia. The Grand Sweepstakes winner was The Virginia Gazette of Williamsburg.
Other Free Press winners:
• Bonnie V. Winston, Free Press managing editor, editorial writing
• April A. Coleman, Sandra Sellars, Paulette Singleton and James Haskins, combination picture and story
• Brittany Hughes, black and white ads in the education and churches, professional/technology services, fashion and personal care and entertainment categories
• Sandra Sellars, personality or portrait photo
• Paulette Singleton, breaking news photo
•April A. Coleman, lifestyle or entertainment pages, and black and white ads in the education and churches and entertainment categories
• Brittany Hughes, education and churches category for color ads and professional/technology services category for black and white ads.