The Tidewater News wins at VPA

Published 4:51 pm Thursday, April 30, 2020

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The Virginia Press Association announced today the results of its 2019 News and Advertising Contest. Ordinarily, this would have published in early April soon after the awards banquet. The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) scotched that ceremony, so the decision was made to postpone a gathering to another time.

The agency stated that it “still wants to celebrate the excellent winning work … We have designated April 30 as VPA Awards Day and ask that each publication release the contest results you received in early March to your staff. VPA will post results through our online contest gallery and social media throughout the day.”

This listing below does not include who has won what the agency calls its major awards, such as Best in Show, Outstanding Salesperson and the Sweepstakes, the latter of which The Tidewater News has won several times in the past. The announcement of those winners, added the VPA, will take place in the autumn at either an in-person or virtual event.

The first-place winners for writing are staff writer Stephen Faleski for his six-part investigative series about Enviva Pellets Southampton LLC and concerns about pollution. He also earned second-place recognition for a sports photograph.

Kenya Smith, a former intern, has again taken top place for her column writing on topics that included sexual assault, hate crimes and an anti-lynching bill.

Stephen H. Cowles, another staff writer, won first place for a portrait photo and for stories in the Health, Science and Environmental Writing category, which included a story about planting longleaf pine seedlings on tribal ground. Second place awards went for stories in education and business categories; a third place was awarded for breaking news.

A few of the paper’s employees responded to the announcement of their awards.

Mitzi Lusk, advertising director, said, “Being part of such an incredible team is very rewarding, but being able to work with the local businesses to help promote their business is the best part of my job! Our local businesses are the heartbeat of our community, they offer us the ability to SHOP LOCAL and buy a wide variety of merchandise right here at home. I’m honored they choose The Tidewater News to help them promote their business!”

Cowles, who also won in second and third places, said, “It’s gratifying for my coworkers and I to be recognized by our peers. We really owe our winnings to our customers, both readers and advertisers. They are the reason we are in this business.”

Publisher Betty J. Ramsey told the staff, “Congratulations to you all. This doesn’t happen without great team work.”

First Place

Mitzi Lusk: Digital Advertising; Education – Churches and Organizations; Entertainment; Fashion and Personal Care; Lifestyles

Retta Lomax: Food and Drug; Small Space Ads

Stephen Faleski: Indepth or Investigative Reporting

Kenya Smith: Column Writing

Stephen H. Cowles: Personality or Portrait Photo; Health, Science and Environmental Writing

Second Place

Mitzi Lusk for: Digital Advertising; Education – Churches and Organizations; Entertainment; Food and Drug; Home and Garden; Professional Services (medical and healthcare-related only)

Loretta Lomax: Fashion and Personal Care: General Make-up (page design)

Stephen Faleski: Sports News Photo

Staff: Slick Publications (standalone section with a slick cover)

Stephen H. Cowles: Business and Financial Writing; Education Writing

Third Place

Mitzi Lusk: Automotive; Education – Churches and Organizations; Entertainment; Small Space Ads

Ryan Outlaw: Slick Publications (standalone section with a slick cover)

Stephen H. Cowles: Breaking News Writing