Former N&O publisher Frank Daniels named NCPA's North Carolinian of the Year

N&O wins 43 state press awards

bcain@newsobserver.comMarch 2, 2012 

  • The News & Observer and its community publications won 43 awards this year from the N.C. Press Association. The awards were presented Thursday night in Chapel Hill.

    Among the honors received were the Media and the Law Award, presented to reporters J. Andrew Curliss and Joseph Neff for coverage of the Durham district attorney's office; first place in Online Breaking News, given to the staff for reporting on Hurricane Irene, and the award for Distinguished Newspaper Work in Higher Education, for a staff entry featuring several stories about area universities.

    Columnist Barry Saunders received first place in Lighter Columns; business writer John Murawski won first place in Business Writing; features writer David Menconi won first place in Arts & Entertainment Reporting; former staff writer Yonat Shimron won for Excellence in Religion Reporting, and former staff writer Sarah Avery won first place in General News Reporting.

    Curliss won first place in Investigative Reporting for the series "Twisted Truth," about the Durham DA's office. The N&O also took second and third place in Investigative Reporting, respectively, for Dan Kane and David Raynor's "Washed Away" series and a staff entry on the UNC football scandal.

    Among The N&O's community papers, The Durham News won two first-place awards in its division: Mark Schultz for Arts & Entertainment Reporting and Carl Kenney for Serious Columns.

    North Raleigh News writer Nate Taylor won first place in Sports News Reporting in the community division, and D. Clay Best and staff members from The Herald in Smithfield won first place in Sports Coverage in the community division.

    Other second- and third-place awards by The N&O and its community papers:

    General Excellence Award, second place: Staff.

    Public Service Award, second place: Staff.

    News Feature, second place: Mandy Locke.

    Profile Feature, second place: Andrea Weigl.

    Education Reporting, second place: Jane Stancill.

    Feature Photography, second place: Scott Sharpe.

    Sports Feature Photo, second place: Ethan Hyman.

    Appearance and Design, second place: Staff.

    Sports Coverage, second place: Staff.

    News Section Design, second place: Staff.

    Special Section, second place: Staff.

    Education Reporting, third place: Jay Price.

    Sports News Reporting, third place: Nate Taylor.

    Sports Photography, third place: Robert Willett.

    Best Video, third place: Travis Long.

    Lighter Columns, third place: Josh Shaffer.

    Editorial Page, third place: Staff.

    Feature Section Design, third place: Jennifer Prevatt and former staff members Teresa Kriegsman and Sherry Howe.

    General News Reporting, Community Division, second place: Andrew Kenney of the Cary News.

    Sports Columns, Community Division, second place: J. Mike Blake of the Cary News.

    Use of Photographs, Community Division, second place: Staff of the Cary News.

    Editorials, Community Division, second place: Dave Hart of the Chapel Hill News.

    Serious Columns, Community Division, second place: Colin Campbell of The Herald in Smithfield.

    Appearance and Design, Community Division, third place: Staff of the Cary News.

    Sports Feature Photo, Community Division, third place: Aaron Moody of the Eastern Wake News.

    Sports Photography, Community Division, third place: Aaron Moody of the Eastern Wake News.

    General News Reporting, Community Division, third place: Colin Campbell of The Herald in Smithfield.

    Feature Writing, Community Division, third place: Chelsea Kellner of the North Raleigh News.

Frank Daniels Jr., the former president and publisher of The News & Observer, received the North Carolinian of the Year Award on Thursday from the N.C. Press Association.

Daniels, whose family owned The N&O from 1894 until the paper's sale to the McClatchy Company in 1995, said he was honored and surprised when he got the news.

"It's really great coming from newspaper people," said Daniels, 80. "I'm only the second newspaper person who has been recognized. That means a lot to me."

"It's also the benefit of living a long time," he added.

The award was presented during the NCPA's Winter Institute in Chapel Hill, where newspapers from across the state were honored for their work. The N&O won 43 total awards, including second place for general excellence.

"Frank Daniels has spent his life serving his community - from the pages of the newspaper to his support and leadership of many of the major civic organizations that move Raleigh and North Carolina forward," said Beth Grace, NCPA executive director. "The NCPA board of directors wanted to honor and recognize him for making our world in North Carolina, and beyond, a better place."

The only other newspaper person to receive the North Carolinian of the Year Award was Gene Roberts, a former managing editor of the New York Times and executive editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Roberts grew up in North Carolina and also worked at The N&O.

Other past North Carolinian of the Year winners have included former UNC system president Erskine Bowles, Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson and former chief justice of the N.C. Supreme Court Henry Frye.

Daniels, asked to make a speech at the NCPA ceremony, said he would touch on the future of the newspaper industry.

"It's a tough time," he said. "The News & Observer newsroom today is about the same size it was in the 1950s. I don't think anybody appreciates what the growth in classified advertising did for the whole newspaper, because that's what funded all of our expansion of news and news coverage."

Despite the reduced staffing, Daniels said, "You gotta be feeling pretty daggone good with some of the stories y'all have been running and some of the stories that continue to be run throughout the state. And still keeping a daggone good eye on government officials."

Daniels has served as president of both the NCPA and the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association, and has been chairman of the board of the Associated Press and chairman of the American Newspaper Publishers Association Foundation. He was inducted into the N.C. Journalism Hall of Fame upon his retirement from The N&O in 1996. His grandfather, Josephus, his uncle Jonathan and his father, Frank, achieved that honor before him.

His community service includes the Triangle United Way, the United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County, the Greater Triangle Community Foundation, Rex Hospital and the Governor's Committee for a Competitive North Carolina.

Cain: 919-829-4579

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