BECKLELY, W.Va. — West Virginia South magazine and Register-Herald photojournalist Rick Barbero recently received prestigious “Best of CNHI” awards, honoring their work as the best in the newspaper’s parent company for 2016.
Barbero, a 36-year employee of the newspaper, received the award for “Best Video” for his video story on the cadaver dog search for Mykala Phillips, a 14-year-old White Sulphur Springs girl swept away and killed in the devastating June flood.
Judges said Barbero, who won the same award last year for a video on the Don Blankenship verdict, produced a “great piece of video journalism,” as he overcame multiple challenges in order to capture the emotional story.
“I am honored to have won this award two years in a row competing against a large variety of very good newspapers around the country,” Barbero said. The video was produced by mixing photos in with interviews. “I was just trying to give the viewership a feel for the emotions that came from devastation of the tragedies.”
In the days and weeks following the flood, Barbero and other reporters and photographers from The Register-Herald visited the affected areas daily, but on the day he captured the video, Barbero was on his own.
“I drove up and down a variety of side streets in White Sulphur and everywhere I went it was total disaster,” he said. “Homes demolished, homes lifted off foundations, cars overturned and debris everywhere. As I was capturing my images I saw the North Star International K-9 Search & Recovery Unit and they told me they were searching for Mykala. I did not have a reporter with me and felt like video now was my best option to tell the story of this team trying to find Mykala.
“The story that came from the rescue team was heartbreaking, but I felt like it needed to be told to help find Mykala.”
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It is also the second win for West Virginia South, which was named “Best of CNHI” in 2012.
Judges said the magazine, which underwent a redesign in 2016, was easy to navigate and praised it for its “knockout photographs,” “excellent use of color and typography,” and writing that is “entertaining, inviting, light and fun.”
West Virginia South Editor Michelle James said many hours of hard work go into each issue of the magazine, as she, contributors and designer Zack Hartsog strive to produce a publication pleasing with both its stories and its design.
“It’s truly a team effort,” James said. “Southern West Virginia is a special place, ripe with unique individuals, artisans, businesses and outdoor adventures. Our goal in each and every issue is to transport our readers, no matter how far away they might be, to this very special place.
“We’re very proud of the magazine and of the changes we’ve made and we’ll continue to evolve going forward,” she continued.
“And we’re incredibly proud and honored to receive this this award.”
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