News & Observer takes home 36 awards in NC Press Association competition

The News & Observer won 36 awards from the North Carolina Press Association in its annual competition.

The N&O also received some of the top honors in the 2017 North Carolina AP News Excellence Contest.

The awards were presented at a ceremony Thursday night at the Crabtree Marriott hotel as part of the NCPA’s annual convention.

Associated Press honors for The N&O included the Senator Sam Open Government Award that recognizes work by a North Carolina AP newspaper in defense of or in promoting open government and freedom of information at the local, state or national level:

▪ Dan Kane and David Raynor won first place for “Jailed to Death.”

The Walter Spearman Award recognizes outstanding writing by a journalist with two years or less experience on a daily paper of any circulation:

▪ Camila Molina won first place for “Faith Leaders Know They’re Breaking the Law.”

▪ Drew Jackson won second place for “A Lasting Legacy and Lingering Questions.”

▪ Jackson also won third place for “In Returning to Kinston, Vivian Howard Told the Stories of Her Home.”

Casey Toth of The Herald Sun of Durham won AP member photo of the year for a photo of protesters toppling a Confederate statue.

A group of protesters cheer and take turns kicking a toppled Confederate soldier statue at the old Durham County Courthouse on Monday, Aug. 14, 2017, in Durham, North Carolina. Casey Toth ctoth@heraldsun.com

The following staff members won NCPA awards:

▪ Jane Stancill won the Duke University/Green-Rossiter Award for Distinguished Newspaper Work in Higher Education Reporting.

First place awards

▪ Staff, Deadline News Reporting, Hurricane Matthew hits Eastern North Carolina

▪ Staff, Online Breaking News Coverage, “Massive fire destroys unfinished apartment building in downtown Raleigh

▪ David Menconi, Arts and Entertainment Reporting, “Not just another princess face

▪ Martha Quillin, News Feature Writing, Feature stories from North Carolina wildfires

▪ John Murawski, Business Writing, “Got Health Insurance?

▪ Julia Wall, Best Video, “100 chicken nuggets in one sitting: ‘Bottomless Pit’ trains for his competitive eating comeback

▪ Josh Shaffer, Lighter Columns: “He’s Flushed his Friend Down 16 Ballpark Toilets,” “Remembering the rock star glory days of the Velvet Cloak Inn,” “Farewell Carrie Fisher, space heroine with blasters and buns.”

▪ Sarah Nagem, Serious Columns: “Finding strength in a building, and then seeing it burn,” “This ballet company helps kids at homeless shelters share a love for dance,” “He’s 91 years old – and the best part of shopping at this grocery store.”

▪ Barry Jacobs, Sports Columns: “White House sports salutes fraught with political drama,” “Among a group of ground-breaking African American players at Wake, a star QB,” “Coming to grips with Allen’s Actions.”

Second place awards

▪ Staff, Online Breaking News Coverage, Record-breaking rain brings dangerous flooding to Triangle

▪ Staff, Best Community Coverage

▪ Walter magazine, Best Niche Publication

▪ Ned Barnett and Jim Jenkins, Editorial Page

▪ Dan Kane and David Raynor, Investigative Reporting, “Jailed to Death

▪ Joseph Neff, City County Government Reporting, “$600,000 in cash missing from office, records show

▪ Andrew Carter, Sports Enterprise Writing, “Woody’s Quiet Fight: Series on former UNC announcer Woody Durham

▪ Luke DeCock, Sports Feature Writing, “Roy Cooper the Caniac in chief

▪ David Menconi, Profile Feature, “A hard life of bad luck and trouble

▪ Barry Saunders, Lighter Columns

▪ Josh Shaffer, Serious Columns, “They Called Him Bicycle Johnny,” “Jack Johnson’s death on U.S. 1,” “When cancer struck, ‘Miss Norma’ said no to chemo and hit the road.”

▪ Ethan Hyman, Best Video, “Men at Work relocating

▪ Ethan Hyman, Photography, General News, “Graduation Celebration”

Third place awards

▪ Staff, newsobserver.com, General Excellence for Newspaper Websites

▪ Staff, Sports Coverage

▪ Staff, Special Section, Year in Pictures

▪ Staff, Best Video, “The voice of the Tar Heels, Woody Durham, lives with a painful silence

▪ Staff, Photo Page, “A Few Final Shots”

▪ Mandy Locke, Investigative Reporting, Cherry Hospital

▪ T. Keung Hui, Education Reporting, “Change in principal pay spurs fear of salary cuts

▪ Dan Kane, Sports News Reporting, “UNC again challenges NCAA jurisdiction

▪ Madison Iszler, Business Writing, “As labor pool for N.C. farms shrinks, some rely on guest worker program

▪ Martha Quillin, Religion & Faith Reporting, “Some Christians see God’s plan for white supremacy in Confederate statues

▪ Ned Barnett, Serious Columns

▪ Ethan Hyman, Sports Photography, Locker Room Celebration

▪ Travis Long, Spot Photography, Matthew Floods Lumberton