2017-08-09 / Front Page

Messenger staff wins awards in state editorial contest

Several Morgan Messenger articles from 2016 won awards in this year’s West Virginia Press Association Better Newspaper Contest. Awards were presented at the Press Association’s convention banquet, held on August 5 at the Canaan Valley Resort.

Newspapers across the state compete in four circulation groups, two each for daily and weekly newspapers. The contest has 28 categories, ranging from Coverage of Government Affairs to Best Sports Feature Writing and Best Editorial Page. In 2016, 33 newspapers submitted more than 2,000 entries. The overall awards for General Excellence are based on total points earned in the basic categories.

The Morgan Messenger competed in Division 3 -- weekly newspapers with a circulation of over 4,000 -- with the state’s largest weekly newspapers.

Sports columnist and publisher Jim Buzzerd won first place as Best Sports Columnist for his “Chip Shots” columns, writing on state and national sports issues.

Editor Kate Shunney won first place for Best Lifestyle Feature for her story “Message in a bottle delivered after 27 years” on a local couple who found a handwritten note in a plastic soda bottle while fishing and tracked down the sisters who wrote the note.

Reporter Kate Evans won a third place for Best Lifestyle Feature story for her article “Kleiss remembered as war hero & teacher” on the former Berkeley Springs High School teacher and naval captain Jack “Dusty” Kleiss.

Shunney and Messenger graphic designer Jody Crouse won third place for Best Editorial Page in August 2016.

West Virginia newspapers earned first-place General Excellence awards, which honor outstanding achievement by circulation division.

The General Excellence Award winners are The Charleston Gazette-Mail in Division I, The Inter-Mountain of Elkins in Division II, The Times Record and Roane County Reporter of Spencer in Division III, and The Record Delta of Buckhannon in Division IV.

With the top point total in both editorial and advertising of newspapers in West Virginia, The Charleston Gazette-Mail earned the Newspaper of the Year honors.

Ed Dawson, editor and publisher of the Herald-Dispatch in Huntington, won the West Virginia Press Association’s highest honor: The Adam R. Kelly Premier Journalist Award.

Also honored during the Press Association convention was Gazette-Mail reporter Eric Eyre, who won the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting this year. His work uncovered data that showed massive quantities of opiates were shipped into West Virginia by drug wholesalers as the state saw its drug overdose rates rise to the highest in the nation.

“Our annual newspaper competition always brings out the best 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.”

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Congratulations! I love my

Congratulations! I love my Messenger.