Review named West Virginia’s top big weekly
CHEAT LAKE — For the 2nd year in a row — and 10th in the last 11 — the Hampshire Review has been judged the best big weekly paper in West Virginia.
The Review’s strength was evident across the board. The paper was honored in 23 of the contest’s 29 categories, winning 9 of them, taking 2nd 17 times and 3rd 7 times.
All 3 awards given for feature writing went to Review staffers Ed DeWitt (1st and 3rd) and Joel Whetzel (2nd). The Review also took 2 of the 3 places in 7 other categories.
“We are blessed to have the talented people we have working here,” Editor Sallie See said. “But this is about more than plaques and certificates. It’s validation from other professionals that we’re doing a good job for the people in Hampshire County.”
Editors in New Jersey judged this year’s West Virginia Press Association contest. Past victories have come from judges in Montana, Utah, Mississippi, South Carolina, Arkansas, Alabama and Georgia.
“We try hard to do our best on every page in every issue,” See said, “whether it’s a great feature like Ed DeWitt’s look at Jim Morris and his instrument making or Sydney Maurer and Joel Whetzel’s coverage of Purgitsville’s water issues.”
“History Resonates” was DeWitt’s 1st-place lifestyle feature. Maurer and Whetzel took 1st in governmental affairs reporting for their Purgitsville pieces.
The honors showed a wide degree of excellence with 1st-place awards also going to Senior Editor Jim King (news columnist) and staffer Milda Marie Mullins (headline writing).
“More important were the categories that we won as a staff — where everybody contributed — in areas like lifestyle pages, sports pages, front page and service to the community,” King said.
The Review was judged to have produced the best single issue of a big weekly in the state, the Feb. 28 edition that covered the teacher strike, Dustin Swisher’s state wrestling championship and the opening of a new military-grade firing range.
The Review won in the large weeklies category, which includes 18 papers around the state. The Times Record of Spencer finished 2nd and the Spirit of Jefferson in Charles Town finished 3rd.
Other general excellence winners were the Charleston Gazette Mail in the large dailies category, The Bluefield Daily Telegraph among small dailies and the Moorefield Examiner among small weeklies.
The Charleston Gazette Mail was named West Virginia’s newspaper of the year. The title is awarded to the daily or weekly that has the highest combined score in the WVPA’s editorial and advertising contests.
Sandy Buzzerd, publisher of the Morgan Messenger, was honored with the Adam R. Kelly Premier Journalist Award. The award is the highest individual honor bestowed by the WVPA.
A photo essay by Craig Hudson for the Charleston Gazette-Mail received the honor for best photo of the year.
The results of the annual competition, which honors excellence in newspaper journalism, were announced Saturday during a banquet at Lakeview Resort near Morgantown.
Earlier on Saturday, John Ailes, the longtime publisher of the Review, was inducted into the WVPA Hall of Fame.
And on Friday, the Review’s advertising staff took 3rd place in general excellence for their work during 2018.
The Review swept all 3 places in the contest for best classified ads section and had a pair of other 1st-place finishes, for the Hunting and Hampshire County section and for Veterans Day pages.
“Our annual newspaper competition always brings out the best of our state’s newspapers and journalists have to offer,” said Don Smith, executive director of the West Virginia Press Association. “The West Virginia Press Association is proud to recognize and honor the excellent work produced by West Virginia’s terrific newspapers and journalists.”
In 2019, the state’s newspapers submitted 1,451 editorial entries.
The overall awards for General Excellence are based on total points earned in the 29 categories.
The Review’s awards:
Best special sports section – 1st place, Staff, Hunting and Hampshire County. 3rd – Staff, Legends Forever.
Best retail theme page(s) – 1, Staff, Veterans Day.
Best classified section – 1, Staff, issue of Sept. 26. 2, Staff, issue of Feb. 14. 3, Staff, issue of March 14.
Best special section – 2, Staff, Christmas Greetings.
Best classified theme page(s) – 2, Hospice, staff.
Government affairs reporting – 1, Sydney Maurer and Joel Whetzel, Purgitsville's water woes. 2, Sydney Maurer, creating an ambulance authority.
News columnist – 1, Jim King, This Life. 3, Ed Lombardi, Truth or Consequences.
Lifestyle feature – 1, Ed DeWitt, “History resonates.” 2, Joel Whetzel, “Bon appetit!” 3, Ed DeWitt, “Written in stone.”
Front page – 1, Staff, issue of April 18.
Lifestyle page(s) 1, Staff, Panhandle Living, Jan. 3. 2, Staff, Panhandle Living, June 20.
Sports page(s) – 1, Staff, Sports and Outdoors, Sept. 12. 2, Staff, Sports and Outdoors, Aug. 8.
Headline writing – 1, Milda Marie Mullins. 2, Ed DeWitt.
Single issue – 1, Staff, issue of Feb. 28
Service to the community – 1, Staff, Warm the Children.
Coverage of breaking news – 2, Jim King, “Trampled farmer in ICU.”
Business, economic or labor reporting – 2, Ed DeWitt and Jim King, “Rains soak crop hopes.”
Lifestyle columnist – 2, Dr. Patrick Turnes, “Healthy Hampshire.”
Sports event reporting – 2, Joel Whetzel, “State champ.”
Sports news and feature reporting – 2, Joel Whetzel, “One man, 2 uniforms.” 3, Joel Whetzel, “Staggs nails Devil's Hole monster.”
News photography – 2, Ed DeWitt, fireman's funeral.
Feature photography – 2, Milda Mullins, Sole-ful gifts cover feet of 344 Romney students
Illustration, cartoon or drawing – 2, Joel Whetzel, Trojan countdown.
Editorial page – 2, Staff, issues of Oct. 3, 10 and 17.
Sports special section – 2, Staff, Legends forever.
Newspaper design – 2, Staff, issues of April 18 and Dec. 26.
Reporting generated from public notice – 2, Jim King and Sydney Maurer, Capon Bridge sewer woes. 3, Milda Mullins, name changes.
Sports columnist – 3, Joel Whetzel, Whetzel's Word.
Photo essay – 3, Milda Marie Mullins and Jim King, “Right down Santa Claus Lane.” o