News, ads, editorials recognized

Published 12:42 pm Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Smithfield Times Managing editor Diana McFarland won first place in the Virginia Press Association’s “ story and photo combination” competition for a story explaining the refurbishing of Dominion transmission towers in the James River.

McFarland also took second place honors for her column titled, “In the Woods” describing her hiking and campaign experiences.

Former staff writer Abby Proch won second place for in-depth, investigative reporting on the federal Davis Bacon Act issue surrounding the construction of Georgie D. Tyler Middle School.

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Graphic designer Jameka Anderson won a first and third place for entertainment and home and garden advertising.

Graphic designer Daniel Tate won a first place and two second place awards for his education and churches, food and drug and home and garden advertising. 

John B. Edwards, editor and publisher of the paper, won the VPA’s D. Lathan Mims Award for Editorial Leadership for the sixth time in 18 years.{mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

All of the awards were announced Saturday at the association’s annual meeting in Henrico County.

The Mims award, presented for work published during the 2015 calendar year, is named for the late D. Lathan Mims, a former editor and general manager of the Daily News-Record in Harrisonburg and a former president of the press association. The award was first presented in 1988 for the 1986-87 contest year. Edwards previously won the award in 1998-99, 2002, 2007, 2011 and 2014.

Entries in the Mims competition were judged by the South Carolina Press Association. Of Edward’s package of work, the judges wrote:

“These editorial and columns were well-written. The clear wording didn’t hesitate to “tell it like it is.” The writing offered good analysis of some complex issues, including the ISLE2040 project, which would change life in Isle of Wight County.

“The editorials did a great job of explaining what was happening in an ongoing process. I loved the symbolism in the ‘It’s time to kill the snake’ editorial. It was written so that people can understand the issue and ended with a strong opinion.”

“Edwards displayed strong commentary on partisan local elections. Great job of keeping the community informed and involved, as shown by letters to the editor. The quality of writing elevated this entry to the top in a very competitive contest.”

The Mims competition is for individual writers of editorials, signed commentaries or editorial page columns at non-daily or specialty publications of any size, or a daily publication with a circulation of 40,000 or less.

The award was established to memorialize Mims’ conviction that newspapers and their editors should be active, caring parts of the communities they serve. He believed that a newspaper should support those things that would make a community a better place to live, and oppose those things that detract from the quality of life.

Entries are judged on skill in writing, clarity of position, fairness in handling of issues, appropriate use of pertinent facts, and vision of the community’s needs, both present and future. {/mprestriction}