Free Press wins 15 awards in annual VPA contest

5/5/2022, 6 p.m.
The Richmond Free Press continues its 30-year tradition of award-winning excellence.
"Wildcat Spirit" by Sandra Sellers

The Richmond Free Press continues its 30-year tradition of award-winning excellence.

The newspaper was recognized with 15 awards, including five first place awards, in the annual Virginia Press Association competition in writing, photography, news presentation and advertising.

The contest for work published in 2021 was judged by members of the Pennsylvania Press Association. The winners were announced in a series of virtual presentations last week.

Multi-talented Free Press Sports writer Fred Jeter won first place in the Illustrations category for “The art of sport,” a page featuring several of his original drawings of national and local Black athletes, from Wilt Chamberlain and Arthur Ashe Jr. to basketball player Frank Mason III of Petersburg. The package of drawings ran in the Feb. 25-27, 2021, edition during Black History Month.

“Great original way to tell stories of Black athletes for Black History Month,” the judges noted in awarding first place to Mr. Jeter.

April A. Coleman, Free Press vice president for production, won first place in the advertising design category for education, churches and organizations. Her ad was for the St. Peter Baptist Church homecoming.

Free Press photographer Sandra Sellars received a first place award in the pictorial photo category for “Wildcat Spirit,” a photo of a 4-year-old girl exuberantly jumping along the path of Wildcat paws on the sidewalk outside Armstrong High School in the East End.

“Such joy and happiness. Thank you,” the judges wrote.

Free Press photographer Regina H. Boone received a first place award in the personality or portrait category for a photograph of sixth-generation baker Joye B. Moore showing off one of her Joyebells Sweet Potato Pies at her production facility in South Side.

“The color, the joy, the pride .... spot on!” the judges wrote.

And Ms. Boone and Ms. Sellars were recognized jointly with a first place award in the picture story or essay category for three photos taken during the removal Sept. 8, 2021, of the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from Monument Avenue.

“Just three images, but they tell the story,” the judges wrote.“The raised fists with the statue being lifted in the background is visually compelling, emotional and storytelling. The other two images round a short but powerful story.”

Second place honors went to:

• Ms. Coleman for small space ads, and

• Ms. Boone for two categories— breaking news photography and picture story or essay.

Third place honors went to:

• Jeremy M. Lazarus, Free Press vice president for news enhancement, for two categories—public safety writing and feature profile writing;

•Free Press Managing Editor Bonnie V. Winston for editorial writing;

•Free Press writer George Copeland Jr., Ms.Coleman, Ms.Sellars and Ms.Boone for combination picture and story;

•Ms. Boone and Ms.Sellars for picture story or essay;

• Ms. Coleman for advertising design in the entertainment category; and

• Ms. Sellars for breaking news photography.