Local paper best in state
Citizen named best weekly in annual GPA contest
By Tara DeRock Mahoney
Senior Staff Writer
The Morgan County Citizen staffers celebrated a win for “General Excellence” at the Georgia Press Association 2008 Better Newspaper Contest award presentation in Panama City Beach, Fla., last week. The Morgan County Citizen was named the best weekly in Georgia for 2008 at the contest.
“General Excellence” is the top award for state publishers, and is given to the best paper in eight different circulation categories. The Morgan County Citizen won the top award for newspapers with a circulation of up to 5,000 papers per week. “Recognition by your peers is always gratifying,” said Patrick Yost, publisher and editor. “But more importantly is the recognition by the community through increasing circulation numbers. The incredible talent we have assembled here speaks volumes. We are blessed to have a devoted and creative staff that understands the importance of our stewardship of this community’s newspaper.” Six members of the Citizen staff went to Panama City to accept the awards on behalf of the newspaper. The Citizen won a total of seven first-place awards, in education coverage, feature writing, general excellence, hard news writing, photo essay, sports column and spot news photo for 2007.
Five writers and photographers garnered second- and third-place accolades in feature photograph, feature writing, headline writing, lifestyle coverage, photo essay and sports writing.
“It has taken all of us, each working hard in different facets of this organization, to bring the Citizen to what it has become—an award-winning publication. We’ve all worked extremely diligently, and everyone is more than deserving of first place in General Excellence,” said Managing Editor Kathryn Purcell. Staffers won the following: • Photo Essay: First and Second Place, Angelina Bellebuono; Third Place, Josiah Connelly • Feature Photograph: Second and Third Place, Angelina Bellebuono • Spot News Photograph: First Place, Greg Sullivan • Education Coverage: First Place, Tara DeRock Mahoney • Feature Writing: First Place, Meg Ferrante; Second Place, Staff • Hard News Writing: First Place, Staff • Headline Writing: Third Place • Lifestyle Coverage: Second Place • Sports Column: First Place, Greg Sullivan • Sports Writing: Second Place, Greg Sullivan • General Excellence: First Place. Graphic Artist Becky Snowden also won several awards at the Georgia Press Association Adverstising contest, contributing points to the Citizen’s top honor. Snowden placed first in the Home Furnishings and Appliances division and second in the Service division. Free–lance graphic artist Katie Davis placed first in the contest in the Newspaper Promotion division.
Completing the General Excellence category in the Citizen's division, The Jones County News, out of Gray, took second place and The Oconee Enterprise, out of Watkinsville, took third place.