The staff of the Garner-Cleveland Record won three awards in the 2015 North Carolina Press Association News, Editorial and Photojournalism Contest.
Sports Editor D. Clay Best won first place for Sports News Reporting for his coverage of the Garner Magnet High School Trojans 2015 4A championship in boys basketball.
“Clay is a Garner High School graduate,” Record Managing Editor Johnny Whitfield said, “and I am sure he was as excited about the opportunity to cover a state championship as the players were to play in it.”
Staff writer Jonathan Alexander won first place in Best Video for a piece he shot to go with his story on Johnny Dutch, a Clayton High School graduate training for the 2016 Olympic trials, and third place in Election/Political Reporting for his article on Garner wanting to close an early voting site.
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“Jonathan’s video was a creative way to tell an interesting story about a world-class athlete who lives right here in our midst,” Whitfield said. “His story about the election posturing by the Garner Town Council could have been a throwaway comment at a regular council meeting, but Jonathan saw the story’s place in the larger context of complaints by people all across North Carolina that their voting rights were being curtailed. That made this story that much more important.”
The Record competes in the community newspapers over 10,000 circulation division.
“An outstanding example of ‘Team Coverage,” the judges said of Best’s entry. “Excellent use of content and artwork. No question, this submission is what great sports news reporting is all about.”
Of Alexander’s video, the judges said, “This reporter’s innovation made this a much more interesting story and using video and stills was well done.”
Praising Alexander’s story about the early voting site, the judges said, “This was (an) important piece, shining a light on a potentially awful precedent being set.”
Whitfield credited his employees’ hard work and creativity in earning the awards.
“Jonathan and Clay have been really aggressive in covering Garner and Johnston County for the Garner-Cleveland Record,” Whitfield said. “They haven’t settled for just writing the obvious stories. They’ve looked for ways to tell stories and that really bring home the impact of the news and sports they cover. I think the judges’ comments bear that out.”
Matt Goad: 919-829-4826