The Washington Times took home 14 awards from the Virginia Press Association in reporting, photography, illustration and multimedia categories, including a best-in-show recognition for investigative reporting on the hiring practices of the District of Columbia government.
Metro Editor Matthew Cella and reporter Andrea Noble caught the judges' attention with "D.C. fire chief never fully vetted," a story revealing that D.C. officials hired a fire chief without checking his background, which included charges of inappropriate behavior and intimidation.
"A good, heads-up investigative work and fine writing. This is where newspapers show their ability and their value to readers," the VPA judges wrote.
Photographer Andrew Harnik won a pair of first-place awards in the sports news and personality categories, recognized for his ability to seize "important moments" in quick-moving circumstances. Life section writer Patrick Hruby also won first place for a feature writing portfolio that included a look at do-it-yourself drones and cultural foibles.
Photography Editor Joe Eddins, Art Director Greg Groesch, national reporter Ben Wolfgang and videographer Andrew Geraci won second place in the contest for a multimedia feature report for "Doolittle's Raiders." The combination of words, still photos and video chronicled the surviving members of the famed World War II flying unit, using both black-and-white and color imagery to compelling effect.
"It's great to get recognition for such fine work, but what I'm most proud of is the range of coverage we had at the local, national, and international levels from investigative, news, features and sports writing; and in not only words but also photos and multimedia. This is what multimedia news gathering is all about," said Washington Times Editor David S. Jackson.
State Department reporter Guy Taylor garnered a second place award for a "Mexico, a nation in flux," a series of stories that judges found to be "thought-provoking" and multifaceted. Economics reporter Patrice Hill also won a second place award for "Suspended lives," a series examining the true toll of the economic downturn on individual people.
Sports writer Nathan Fenno won third place for a portfolio of three stories centered on the toll of concussions in the NFL, the challenges faced by a wounded soldier turned Paralympian and historic baseball. Ms. Hill also won third place for her feature series on the personal effect on Americans in "the mean economy."
Mr. Hruby won third place for health and science writing for a trio of stories, praised by judges for his engaging approach and "storyteller's voice." Arts critic William F. Gavin won third place for three stories on theater and dance, called "fair and on point" by judges.
Designer Linas Garsys garnered a third place award for "Competent commander in chief," an editorial illustration; photographer Rod Lamkey Jr. also won a third place for "Gay rights," a personality photo. Mr. Harnik won third place for "Mother's loss," a feature photo.
The VPA, which was founded in 1881 and now represents some 200 news organizations, presented the awards Saturday at the organization's annual meeting in Norfolk.
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