- Associated Press - Thursday, February 27, 2014

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) - Newspapers from Swansboro, Wake Forest, Waynesville, Sanford, Shelby and Fayetteville won General Excellence Awards from the North Carolina Press Association at its annual meeting Thursday.

The General Excellence Awards were the highlight of the press association’s 2013 News, Editorial & Photojournalism Contest presentation at which more than 600 awards for editorial excellence in different categories were given.

The six papers were judged to be the top papers in their circulation categories using a broad range of editorial criteria to rank them.

The Tideland News of Swansboro won the award for community newspapers with a circulation of less than 3,500. The Perquimans Weekly of Hertford was second and The News-Journal of Raeford was third.

The Wake Weekly won the award for community newspapers with a circulation between 3,500 and 10,000. The Black Mountain News was second and the Bertie Ledger-Advance of Windsor was third.

The Mountaineer of Waynesville won the award for community newspapers with a circulation of more than 10,000. The Franklin Press was second and the Smoky Mountain News of Waynesville was third.

The Sanford Herald won the award for daily newspapers with a circulation of less than 12.500. The Wilson Times was second and The Daily Advance of Elizabeth City was third.

The Star of Shelby won the award for daily newspapers with a circulation between 12,500 and 35,000. The Salisbury Post was second and The Daily Reflector of Greenville was third.

The Fayetteville Observer won the award for daily newspapers with a circulation of more than 35,000. The News & Observer of Raleigh was second and the Winston-Salem Journal was third.

In addition to the General Excellence Awards, the press association handed out several other special awards for photography, community and public service, freedom of information, higher education reporting and media and law reporting.

Mark Schultz of the Chapel Hill News and Scott Muthersbaugh of The Times-News of Burlington were presented with Hugh Morton Photographer of the Year awards.

Caitlin Bowling and Becky Johnson of the Smoky Mountain News of Waynesville, Nash Dunn and Chad Killebrew of The Dispatch of Lexington and John Ramsey of The Fayetteville Observer won first-place awards for community and public service.

Corey Friedman and Jon Jimison of The Wilson Times and Bruce Henderson, Cameron Steele and Gavin Off of The Charlotte Observer were presented with Henry Lee Weathers Freedom of Information Awards.

Kristy Bailey of The Alamance News of Graham and Jane Stancill, Dan Kane and J. Andrew Curliss of The News & Observer of Raleigh won Duke University/Green-Rossiter Awards for Distinguished Newspaper Work in High Education.

Jimison of Wilson, Andrew Kasper of the Smoky Mountain News of Waynesville and Gary Wright, Cleve Wootson and Fred Clasen-Kelly of The Charlotte Observer won Media and Law Awards, sponsored by the North Carolina Bar Association.

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