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Bluefield Daily Telegraph named 2020 Newspaper of the Year by WVPA

Bluefield Daily Telegraph Report

BLUEFIELD, W.Va. — The Bluefield Daily Telegraph has been named the “2020 Newspaper of the Year” by the West Virginia Press Association.

The Newspaper of the Year award is presented annually by the press association to the top newspaper in the state of West Virginia. The award honors the newspaper with the highest total of combined points from its Editorial and Advertising contests. Bluefield won first place General Excellence in both Editorial and Advertising for its circulation division and had the most points of any newspaper in the state, Don Smith, executive director of the West Virginia Press Association, said.

This is the first year that the Daily Telegraph has won the prestigious honor.

West Virginia Press Association Executive Director Don Smith, middle left, presents the Newspaper of the Year award to the Bluefield Daily Telegraph. From left, Advertising Director Terri Hale, Publisher Randy Mooney and Editor Samantha Perry accept the award on behalf of the employees of the Bluefield Daily Telegraph. BTD photo by Jessica Nuzzo

In addition to being named Newspaper of the Year, the Daily Telegraph also was selected as the Press Association’s 2020 General Excellence Award recipient for both news and advertising. This is the third consecutive year that the Daily Telegraph has won first place General Excellence in the news category and the first year the Daily Telegraph has won first place General Excellence in the advertising category.

“I am so lucky to have been allowed to join such a team of talented professionals in 2013,” Daily  Telegraph Senior Publisher Randy Mooney said. “My wife and I accepted this position without ever visiting Bluefield and have been thrilled to be a part of both the newspaper and the community ever since. To have won first place general excellence in the news category for the third year in a row and now to have also won first place general excellence in advertising and then Newspaper of the Year is quite humbling given the strength of all of the newspapers in West Virginia. It is very rewarding to lead a group of people who make my primary job function to provide the resources they need and then stay out of their way. In all departments this is the best team I have worked with in my 40 year career.”

“I am extraordinarily proud to work with such a talented team of journalists who truly go above and beyond each day to bring community news to the residents of our two-state, seven-county circulation area,” Daily Telegraph Editor Samantha Perry said. “Winning Newspaper of the Year is an incredible honor and a testament to their hard work and dedication. It is a privilege to be a part of this amazing team.”

Each year, the West Virginia Press Association convention is the largest gathering of newspaper professionals in the state. This year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, Smith said the press association moved the 2020 convention online with video, virtual and print presentations. He said it’s a change that reflects life during the pandemic.

Perry and Assistant Editor Charles Owens swept the Best Editorial category winning first-, second- and third-place awards for editorials calling upon Mercer County Delegate Eric Porterfield to either apologize or resign for controversial comments he made regarding the LGBTQ community; an editorial urging officials to fix a sink hole along Princeton Avenue in Bluefield; and a third editorial discussing concerns about how a needle-exchange program was launched in Mercer County without the prior knowledge of county commissioners. Perry and Owens also won a second-place award in the Best Editorial Page category.

The Daily Telegraph also swept the Best News Photography category with photographer Jessica Nuzzo winning the first- and second-place categories and Eric DiNovo taking the third-place award. DiNovo also won first- and third-place awards in the Feature Photography categories. Nuzzo also won first-place awards in the Sports Photography category and Photo Essay categories.

Perry won a first-place award in the Best News Columnist category. Perry and senior reporter Greg Jordan also won first- and second-place awards in the Best Legal Affairs Reporting category.

The newspaper also won a first-place award in the Service to the Community category for editorials and columns calling for improvements to be made to a dangerous section of Interstate 77 near Camp Creek in Mercer County.

Daily Telegraph Features Editor Emily Rice also won first- and second-place awards in the Best Lifestyle Pages category and a third-place award in the Best Lifestyle Columnist category. Charles Boothe won a second-place award in the Best Lifestyles Columnist category.

Daily Telegraph Sports Editor George Thwaites and sports writer Eric Walker won a first-place award and a third-place award in the Best Sports Pages category. Thwaites, Walker and News Editor Andy Patton also won a third-place award in the Best Sports Special Section category and Thwaites won a third-place award in the Best Sports News and Feature Reporting category.

The full list of news and advertising awards won by the Daily Telegraph staff are as follows:

West Virginia Press Association Editorial Division 2 Bluefield Daily Telegraph winners:

• Best Editorial

1st Place — Samantha Perry, “Apologize or resign”

Regarding the editorial, the judges wrote, “This is the kind of uncompromising censure the local paper should deliver when a representative of the people illustrates so clearly that he is unfit for office.”

2nd Place — Charles Owens, “Fix the road!”

The judges wrote, “The editorial board ‘s plain language — “No more stalling. No more finger pointing” — sets up the equally simple call to action: “Just get the road fixed while the sun is still shining.” Local motorists will thank their local paper when the second lane reopens!”

3rd Place — Charles Owens “Needle exchange”

The judges wrote, “ It seems right, responsible and fair to concede a need for programs to curb the narcotics scourge, as the editorial board does, while advocating for the public’s right to know and the elected leaders’ obligation to advise and authorize. Well done.”

• Best Legal Affairs Reporting

1st Place — Samantha Perry, Greg Jordan, “Decapitation trial”

2nd Place — Samantha Perry, Greg Jordan, “Coon Branch trial”

• Best Lifestyle Pages

1st Place — Emily Rice, “Flavors of the past”

The judges wrote, “Emily Rice’s anchor story on the Crab Orchard Museum exhibit is well-written with elements of history and food in the region. Her column on friendship and personal growth is nicely done.”

2nd Place — Emily Rice “A slice of heaven on Beagle Ridge”

The judges wrote, “Wonderful feature story by Emily Rice, who turns a double play with a great piece of column writing.”

• Best News Columnist

1st Place — Samantha Perry, “Baby Jeremiah,” “Porterfield,” “Thirty bucks”

The judges wrote, “Excellent narrative and beautifully written. A prime example of storytelling as the columnist draws the reader in and shows them an unpopular opinion with ease.”

• Best Newspaper Design

1st Place — Staff, April 20, July 14

• Best Sports Pages

1st Place — George Thwaites, Eric Walker 

The judges wrote, “Excellent variety of sports coverage, great photos, strong writing. Deserves the top spot in the category.”

3rd Place — George Thwaites, Eric Walker

• Service to the Community

1st Place — Staff, “Turnpike improvements”

The judges wrote, “The newspaper’s persistent and thorough push for turnpike improvements helped save lives, the ultimate service to the community.”

• Feature Photography

1st Place — Eric DiNovo, “Festival dinosaur”

3rd Place — Eric DiNovo, “Veterans Day parade”

• News Photography

1st Place — Jessica Nuzzo, “Pleas for justice”

The judges wrote, “The expressions on the faces in this photo are effective. The photographer captured them at the exact time for optimal reaction, from paper readers and I am certain those in the courtroom. Fantastic coverage.”

2nd Place — Jessica Nuzzo, “Total loss”

3rd Place — Eric DiNovo, “Candlelight vigil”

• Photo Essay

1st Place  — Jessica Nuzzo, “Crucifixion”

The judges wrote, “Very interesting slice of life here, with good character studies of the participants. Some of the facial close ups really show how seriously the participants take their reenactment.”

• Sports Photography

1st Place — Jessica Nuzzo, “Tears for Lil’ Tony”

The judges wrote, “What a beautiful close up of an emotional moment. The photographer did a great job capturing this.”

• Best Business, Economic or Labor Reporting

2nd Place — Emily Rice “Intuit bringing ‘a little bit of Silicon Valley into Bluefield’”

• Best Editorial Page

2nd Place — Samantha Perry, Charles Owens, November 10, 11 and 12

• Best Illustration, Cartoon, or Graphic

2nd Place — Tom Bone, “Gnat attack”

• Best Lifestyle Columnist

2nd Place — Charles Boothe, “Language, tolerance, wonderful”

3rd Place — Emily Rice

The judges wrote, “We liked this youthful perspective on achieving one’s goals at an early age after having navigated some inevitable hardships.”

• Best Single Issue

2nd Place — Staff 

• Best Headline Writing

2nd Place — Andy Patton, “Lost souls,” “Pleas for justice,” “Timeline to murder”

• Best Front Page

3rd Place — Kilie Pauley, – October 11

• Best Sports Special Section

3rd Place — George Thwaites, Eric Walker, Andy Patton, “BDT Blitz”

• Best Sports News and Feature Reporting

3rd Place — George Thwaites, “Rival teams are big fans of Narrows cheerleader”

The judges wrote, “Last time I checked, cheerleaders don’t get their names in the paper too often, so it’s nice to see communities rally around one in her moment of need and it’s great that the newspaper took notice.”

West Virginia Press Association Advertising Division 2 Bluefield Daily Telegraph winners:

• Best Newspaper Promotional Campaign

1st Place  — “Excellence in Education”

• Best Theme Page Retail

1st Place  —  “April Fools”

• Best Recruitment Ad

1st Place — “Cole Harley Casting Call”

• Best Classified Display ad

1st Place — “Cole”

• Best Agency Advertisement

1st Place — “Dominion Energy”

2nd Place — “WVU Tech”

3rd Place — “Break Barriers”

• Best Political Ad

1st Place — “Capito”

2nd Place — “Working on your dime”

3rd Place  — “Vote YES”

• Best Process Color Ad – Half Page or Less

1st Place — “A Matter of Trust”

2nd Place — “WHIS Newstalk”

• Best Spot Color Ad – Half Page or Less

1st Place — Princeton Rescue Squad

3rd Place — “Arbor Pro”

• Best Online Static Ad — 1st Place

• Best Classified Section

1st Place — for date 1-6-19

2nd Place — for date 5-19-19

• Best Promotion of Public Notice

2nd Place — “View Public Notices Online”

3rd Place — “Legal Notices Online”

• Best Newspaper Promotional Campaign

2nd Place — “Dog Days”

• Best Ad Campaign – Half Page or Larger

2nd Place The Bluefield Daily Telegraph — “Cole Petting Zoo”

• Best Theme Page(s) – Classified

2nd Place — “Back to School”

3rd Place — “Halloween Tips”

• Best Classified Display Ad

2nd Place — “WV Motorsports”

• Best Special Section

3rd Place — “Christmas Greetings”

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