Messenger staff receive General Excellence, editorial & ad awards at state press convention

Staff from The Morgan Messenger collected a number of editorial and advertising awards last Saturday, August 6 at the West Virginia Press Association’s annual convention, held this year in Charleston.

The Morgan Messenger was also chosen as one of three West Virginia weekly papers with a circulation of over 3,500 to receive a General Excellence award for overall quality of ads, design and newspaper content. The Messenger took a third place award.

The awards were for work published in The Messenger during 2021 and entered into West Virginia’s Better Newspapers Contest. Entries were judged and winners chosen by the Texas Press Association.

The Morgan Messenger competes against other weekly newspapers in their circulation division across West Virginia in the annual contest.

The Morgan Messenger staff pictured, from left, are reporter Lisa Schauer, Bev and Todd Buzzerd, typist Becky Cain, managing editor Jody Crouse and proof reader Debbie Fox. In front are Flip Henry and editor Kate Shunney. Not pictured are reporters Kate Evans, Trish Rudder, Jamie Harris, sports photographer Lori Younker, Morgan Buzzerd, Patty Riggleman and Tammy Henry.

Top honors at the 2022 West Virginia Press Association Convention went to the Bluefield Daily Telegraph as “Newspaper of the Year” and Parkersburg News and Sentinel Publisher Jim Spanner as the “Adam R. Kelly Award’ winner.

General Excellence recognition, which is awarded by circulation division, indicates performance in the industry’s editorial and advertising competition. The highest combined point total for editorial and advertising wins Newspaper of the Year designation.

Spanner, publisher of the News and Sentinel won the WVPA’s highest individual honor — The Adam R. Kelly Award — for his outstanding dedication to the newspaper industry, the West Virginia Press Association and his local community.

“Our annual newspaper competition always brings out the best of what 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.

Morgan Messenger editor Kate Shunney holds the newspaper’s third place General Excellence award at the West Virginia Press Association’s awards banquet on August 6.

“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,” Smith said.

General Excellence Awards

Division I (Dailies over 10,000 circulations):

1st Place: The Register-Herald of Beckley

2nd Place: Charleston Gazette-Mail

3rd Place: The Parkersburg News and Sentinel

Division II (Dailies 10,000 and under):

1st Place: Bluefield Daily Telegraph

2nd Place: The Weirton Daily Times

3rd Place: The Inter-Mountain

Division III (Weeklies over 3,500):

1st Place: Hampshire Review

2nd Place: The Times Record and Roane County Reporter

3rd Place: The Morgan Messenger

Division IV (Weeklies 3,500 and under):

1st Place: The Logan Banner

2nd Place: The Doddridge Independent

3rd Place: Wayne County News.

Messenger awards

In addition to the newspaper’s General Excellence third place, Messenger staff members won individual and staff awards for their 2021 work.

Managing Editor Jody Crouse won a First Place for Best House Ad for a colorful one-column advertisement listing the products and printing services of The Morgan Messenger, Inc.

Managing Editor Jody Crouse.

Crouse also won a Third Place for Best Color Ad of a quarter page or less for her advertisement for a Hunter-Anderson Funeral Home Halloween party last year.

Crouse and Editor Kate Shunney jointly won a Third Place for Best Editorial Page.

The entire Messenger staff won a Second Place for Best Newspaper Design.

Reporter Lisa Schauer won a Second Place for Best Business, Economic or Labor Reporting for her story “Making Power” about Mountain View Solar and the solar energy industry in West Virginia. Schauer joined the newspaper staff in 2021.

Sports columnist Jim Buzzerd won Third Place for Best Sports Columnist for his regular column, “Chip Shots.”

Two individual editorials written by Kate Shunney won state awards. Her editorial — “Out of Fingers to Point” — written about the events of January 6, 2021 at the U.S. Capitol, won First Place for Best Editorial.  You can read that editorial here: Jan. 13, 2021 Editorial

Another editorial, “It’s only Public Notice if the public notices it” won Second Place for Best Editorial.

Shunney also won a First Place for Best Governmental Affairs Reporting for her story, “I feel like we’re going to fail someone” about the Berkeley Springs Volunteer Fire Company’s warning to the Morgan County Commissioners that volunteer fire response is quickly becoming inadequate for the county.

Shunney won Second Place for Reporting Generated from Public Notice for her story “County juggles delegate district lines” about the local effort to align voting precincts with new state delegate district lines.

An article by Shunney about Morgan County’s low COVID vaccination rates, “Morgan next to last on vaccine rates in state,” won a Third Place for Best COVID-19 Coverage.

The Messenger received a Third Place for Best Lifestyles Feature for Shunney’s story, “A Paw Paw Storyteller,” about Helen Bradfield Shambaugh and her diverse work as a writer over 60 years.

The results of the annual competition, which honors excellence in newspaper journalism, were announced Friday and Saturday, August 5-6, during a banquet at Four Points by Sheraton in Charleston.