Messenger staff win state newspaper awards

Three members of The Morgan Messenger news staff brought home editorial awards from this year’s West Virginia Press Association Better Newspaper Contest. The annual press award ceremony was held in Charleston on Saturday, August 11.

Articles published in 2017 were eligible for the awards. The Morgan Messenger competed in the largest newspaper category – weekly papers with a circulation over 4,000.

Kate Evans.

Trish Rudder.

Reporter Kate Evans won third place in the In-depth/Investigative category for her series last year about Alzheimers and dementia. The multi-article series explored the medical aspects of Alzheimers, how families deal with diagnosing dementia, what caregivers can do to sustain themselves and how local families have been affected by the diseases. Judges for the contest commented on the informative nature of the series.

Reporter Trish Rudder and editor Kate Shunney won third place in Best Government Reporting for their articles about the regulatory effort by U.S. Silica to expand their mining toward Berkeley Springs, and the concerns of residents and town officials about water supplies and mining.

Kate Shunney.

“Our annual newspaper competition always brings out the best of our state’s newspapers and journalists have to offer,” said Don Smith, executive director of the West Virginia Press Association. “From the largest daily newspaper to the smallest weekly newspaper, West Virginia residents benefit from the outstanding and dedicated work of journalists throughout the state. Community journalism remains the centerpiece of the newspaper industry in the Mountain State. The West Virginia Press Association is proud to recognize and honor the excellent work produced by West Virginia’s terrific newspapers and journalists.”

Newspapers across the state compete in four circulation groups, two each for daily and weekly newspapers. The contest has 29 categories, ranging from Coverage of Government Affairs to Reporting Generated from Public Notices and Best Editorial Page.

In 2018, 36 newspapers submitted nearly 1,700 entries.

For General Excellence, the West Virginia Press Association recognized three places in each division. The General Excellence Award winners are Charleston Gazette-Mail in Division 1, Bluefield Daily Telegraph in Division 2, Hampshire Review in Division 3, and The Record Delta of Buckhannon in Division 4.

The overall awards for General Excellence are based on total points earned in both editorial and advertising categories.

Craig Hudson Charleston Gazette-Mail received the honor for best photo of the year.

Top journalist

Perry Nardo, publisher of Wheeling News-Register and The Intelligencer, won the WVPA’s highest honor — The Adam R. Kelly Award — for his outstanding dedication to the newspaper industry, the West Virginia Press Association and his local community.

Nardo, a long-time publisher with the Ogden Newspaper Company, is a former prep coach at Shadyside High School and Bishop Donahue High School. He is a past president and board member with the WVPA. He also served as publisher of the Wetzel Chronicle in New Martinsville. He and his wife, Jayme, live in the Ohio Valley.