The Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association (PNMA) announced the winners of its 2014 Professional Keystone Press Awards last Thursday, and the staff of the Town and Country newspaper had a successful showing, bringing home five of the awards. It was the most awards captured by the local newspaper since it moved up from Division VII to Division VI three years ago.
According to PNMA, nearly 4,300 entries were received from 142 PNMA newspapers. Entries in 27 categories across seven circulation divisions were judged by journalists from New York.
In all categories, the Town and Country staff competed against both print and digital entries (online).
According to Publisher and Editor Larry Roeder, "One of the tenets in our mission statement is that we will put forth an earnest effort to produce a newspaper that can be the pride of the community. I think all of the staff works towards that goal every week, even with limited means and a small staff. In addition to their primary jobs, each member of our staff does three or four different tasks each week to get the paper on the street, and to be recognized at the state level by a panel of New York journalists is a proud moment for everyone at the paper and in the community."
In the editorial category, newspapers were required to submit three editorials by the same author. Roeder's editorials titled, "Honest Conversations Can Be Tough," "Domestic Violence Is Not a Nuisance" and "Eternal Vigilance," captured First Place for Editorials.
In the Feature Beat Reporting category, newspapers were required to submit up to six feature stories by the same writer where emphasis is placed on thoroughness of reporting, enterprise, diversity of coverage and sources, and mastery of subjects. This award recognizes specialty reporting and writing in one beat such as travel, drama, fashion, etc.
Reporter Kelly Chandler's entries "A Little Bit of Home for the Holidays," "Greening Green Lane Park," "Lending a Helping Hand," "Pennsburg Boy Brings new Light – Life to Fight Against Cancer," and "To the Beat of His Own Drum," garnered First Place for Feature Beat Reporting.
"It really is an honor to be recognized by the PNMA for your work, especially with all the talented professionals working in the news industry across the state. As a writer you are always trying to balance informing and engaging your audience, and I feel fortunate that PNMA felt myself and the Town and Country staff should receive these awards," Chandler said.
Staff Photographer Bob Esposito, a perennial winner in the annual Keystone competition took home a Second Prize in the News Photo category for "Firefighter Remembered"; a Second Prize in the Sports Photo category for "Blocked Layup Shot" and an Honorable Mention in the Feature Photo category for "And the Winner is …"
"I've won several awards for other sports in the past, but it was the first time I ever received an award for basketball, so I was surprised by that," Esposito said. "It's nice to be recognized."
Winners will be recognized May 31, in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Press Conference in State College.