Editorial staff wins nine LCNI awards

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Throughout its history of community service, the lobby, hallway and newsroom of The Lancaster News and Carolina Gateway office on North White Street have become lined with awards plaques, service awards and certificates of appreciation from charitable agencies.

There are even a few resolutions from local government in display, as well as front pages ranging from the 1959 death of textile magnate Col. Elliott White Springs to the flight of Apollo 16 astronaut and moonwalker Charlie Duke in 1972, to the tragic December 1979 fire at Lancaster County Jail and local reaction to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

“Putting a newspaper together doesn't just happen,” said Barbara Rutledge, editor of The Lancaster News. 

“It takes talent, skill, teamwork and commitment by everyone involved to get the newspaper in your hands or in our online version. And everyone in our newsroom has those traits.”

The effort – to provide the best news coverage possible for the citizens of Lancaster County – has now resulted in another round of accolades.

The combined editorial staff of TLN and Carolina Gateway garnered nine awards in the annual writing and design contests held by its parent company, Landmark Community Newspapers Inc. (LCNI).

“They’re dedicated and work hard to bring community news to our readers, which is what a community newspaper is supposed to do,” Rutledge said. “Yet, it’s humbling to be recognized by our peers at LCNI for that responsibility. 

“I congratulate them on winning the awards. I'm very proud of them and appreciate what they do every day,” she said.

This includes one first-place award, as well as the top three places in one category and second place for community service. 

According to the judges, The Lancaster News easily swept the competition in General Page Design. 

“It’s quite a well-done small paper. Keep up the great work,” one judge wrote. 

“It’s such an honor to be recognized among our LCNI peers,” said Susan Rowell, publisher of The Lancaster News. 

Benji Hamm, LCNI editorial director, and former editor of The Lancaster News, said the entries were judged by the staff of the Roanoke Times, in Roanoke, Va. 

The Roanoke Times is a former Landmark publication bought by Warren Buffet’s BH (Berkshire Hathaway Inc.) Media in May.

“We appreciate our friends in Roanoke for completing their judging despite a major disruption caused by the paper’s sale,” Hamm said. “We’re grateful for their strong support of LCNI through the years.”

Founded in 1966 and headquartered in Shelbyville, Ky., LCNI is a subsidiary of Landmark Communications. Its holdings include more than 50 paid newspapers in 13 states, ranging from small weeklies to daily publications with circulations of more than 30,000. Its properties in the Palmetto State include The Lancaster News, Carolina Gateway, Chester News and Reporter and the Pageland Progressive Journal.   

LCNI also publishes 40 free newspapers, including Carolina Gateway, as well as shoppers, seven collegiate sports publications and 30 specialty publications, such as real estate guides and home magazines. LCNI also operates 15 offset commercial printing plants.

“Winning these awards where we compete with community newspapers in our own company confirms our desire to achieve excellence,” Rowell said. “I’m extremely proud of our editorial staff and their commitment to representing this community through excellence in journalism.”

All material submitted in the contest ran during the 2012 calendar year.

The Lancaster News, which is published three times a week, was judged in the triweekly and semi-weekly division. 

Carolina Gateway, which is published each Wednesday, was judged in the weekly category.

Here is a rundown of the awards and what judges said about the entries:

The Lancaster News 

First-place awards

  • Best General Page Design – Gregory A. Summers. The judges lauded Summers’ good eye for simple, clean design that is gimmick-free. 

“The pages are all nicely organized and make it immediately clear to the reader which is the centerpiece package. I especially liked the 4-H Showcase page as an example of using a large photo to make a bold impact while also leaving plenty room within it for the story. He makes the job look easy.”

Second-place awards

  • Best General Page Design – Athena Redmond. Judges especially appreciated the graphic designer’s penchant for thinking outside the box. “There’s a fine line between pushing limits and going over the top to chase a fun design, but she’s careful not to cross it. Redmond knows what she can get away with regarding print registration – often, type set on photos can get blurred in the printing process, but these look great.”
  • Best News or Feature Story Series – Christopher Sardelli and Gregory A. Summers, “Brooklyn Avenue, Then and Now.” Judges were impressed by Sardelli’s tour of  the once-thriving neighborhood with local elected leaders. “One of the important parts of stories that focus on problems is also pointing out possible solutions and what can be done to make it better,” they wrote.   
  • Community Service – TLN staff, “Crumbling Roads.” Judges said TLN staff tackled the problem of bad roads in the county – roads in such poor shape that they can damage cars or cause wrecks in a three-part series. The newspaper also offered 10 consecutive issues that featured some of the county’s worst roads, along with the maintenance status of each one. 
  • Excellence in Feature Photography – Aaron Morrison. Judges said Morrison captured some great moments. “The photo of Venus over the moon was beautiful,” they wrote.
  • Excellence in Sports Column Writing – Robert Howey. “The columns about his mother, his 35 years as a sports writer and the death of a longtime, local sports fan give readers a sense of history, as seen through the eyes and ears of a veteran sports journalist. Howey has the ability and experience to provide context to today’s stories by incorporating details from the past,” judges wrote. 

Third-place awards

  • Best General Page Design – Laura Caskey. “I appreciate this designer’s effort to think beyond the typical ‘lede photo, headline, story’ hierarchy that many others get bogged down in,” a judge wrote. “Her use of a collage to illustrate the Rotaract Club story was especially well done, and I was impressed by her abilities with headline fonts and sizes, though she must take care to match the headline strength to each particular story.” 
  • Excellence in Column Writing – Robert Howey. “When CNN aired a story that reflected negatively on Lancaster, 

Howey responded with a thoughtful defense of his community – a reasoned, balanced, honest defense,” one judge said. “He resisted the temptation to raise his indignant voice with loud and sharp complaints. His response served its purpose and represented his community very well. His other columns, about a fan who gets to be football coach for a day and his family’s visit to the Democratic National Convention activities, show a good range in styles and topics.” 

Carolina Gateway

Third-place award

  • Best General Page Design – Jane Alford;. One of the judges praised Alford’s clean, simple, modular layouts that were easy to follow with logical progression. “My eyes went to the lead art on each page and moved naturally to the main head, secondary type and then the story,” the judge wrote. “One could argue that smaller tabloid pages lend themselves to a one-story per page emphasis, but on pages with more than one story, there was never any doubt about where to start.”