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TLN wins 36 prizes in S.C. Press contest

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News staff earns its highest state award total ever

By The Staff

The Lancaster News won 36 awards, its highest total ever, in last month’s South Carolina Press Association annual competition, including 11 first places.
The entire staff won the top honor for election and political coverage for the fifth straight year, propelled by coverage of the Indian Land incorporation fight, two Lancaster mayoral elections and a second year of articles about Lancaster City Council member Linda Blackmon’s run-in with state ethics officials.
Carolina Gateway won second place for election and political coverage for its coverage of the failed Indian Land incorporation effort last year.
TLN’s award total increased from 31 last year. Its 11 first places tied its best showing ever.
“I congratulate our editorial team and am very proud of the quality of community journalism they provide the readers of The Lancaster News,” said Publisher Susan Rowell. “It is such an honor to be recognized for their commitment and dedication to Lancaster.”
Kayla Vaughn, in just her second year of full-time reporting, won almost a third of the newspaper’s awards, with three first prizes and 10 awards overall.
Veteran reporter Greg Summers won first prize for growth and development coverage, for his stories about the impact of Indian Land growth on the county.
Summers also won second place for arts and entertainment writing and second place in photo stories.
In page design, Athena Redmond won first and second prizes for feature-page design, first place for inside-page design, and second for page one design and photo-page design. She won two more design awards for work in the Pageland Progressive Journal, a sister paper.
Kyle Camp won first place in photo-page design for his package on July 4th parades. He won second place for inside-page design, and two additional awards for the Pageland paper.
In the category in-depth reporting, former TLN reporter Reece Murphy won first place for his story explaining how the Indian Land incorporation would devastate the county’s other towns by siphoning off tax revenues. He also won first place for crime-beat coverage.
Mandy Catoe, a former staffer, won first prize for faith-beat reporting, second place in lifestyle-features and third in news features.
Emily Pollok, in her first year of reporting, won second prize for news-feature writing and third place for business writing.
Sports editor Robert Howey, who celebrated his 40th year at the paper last year, won third place for spot-sports story.
TLN Editor Brian Melton won third prizes for editorial columns and feature headlines.
Former TLN staffer Hannah Strong won third place in breaking news for her coverage of the beating death of 3-year-old Lilly Schroeder. She took second place for education reporting.
Former TLN reporter Mark Manicone won third places for education reporting and government reporting, and he shared second place for breaking-news reporting.
Hal Millard, who worked here for part of last year, won third prize in the series category for a two-part story on medical cannabis.
Vaughn won first prize in arts and entertainment writing for her story about the gala premier of the locally produced movie “Radioactive Bullfrog From Hell,” along with a second place in profile-feature writing.
Vaughn won second places in breaking-news reporting, shared with Manicone, enterprise reporting and in-depth reporting. She also won third place in crime-beat reporting and second in profile-feature writing.
Vaughn received two standing ovations from the hundreds of weekly journalists packing the banquet room at the Columbia Marriott.
The first was for sweeping all three awards in the short-story category, including her first-prize story about the 788 unused names for the town of Indian Land.
The second ovation was for her first-place entry for humorous photograph. The photo, of firefighters spraying water, was shot from an angle that made you wonder if one of them was dousing the flames with, as the caption carefully said, his “awesome personal water pressure.” The laughter built in waves as everyone in the audience gradually got the joke.
Sister papers’ awards
TLN’s sister papers the Chester News & Reporter and the Pageland Progressive Journal were big winners – each winning the top overall award in its circulation category.
Chester, with 40 awards, won its second-straight President’s Cup among papers published twice or three times a week. Pageland shared the President’s Cup for once-a-week papers with circulation under 4,500 with the Kingstree News.
N&R Editor Travis Jenkins, last year’s Journalist of the Year, won two of the top individual honors again – the Assertive Journalism Award, and his fourth-straight Freedom of Information Award.
Carolina Gateway won second place for election and political coverage for its coverage of the failed Indian Land incorporation effort last year.