January 31, 2013

Sentinel-Echo wins 16 awards at KPA banquet

Tornado coverage honored by Kentucky Press

Staff Writer

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — The Sentinel-Echo news team proudly took home 16 individual awards in its class in the Kentucky Press Association’s Newspapers in Excellence annual competition in Louisville Friday.

Together as a news staff, the Sentinel-Echo was named the second place winner in overall general excellence.

“I’m very proud of my news staff,” Publisher Willie Sawyers said, “They work hard to produce compelling content for our readers. The competition was tough. ”

The KPA excellence contest is held each year.  Newspapers of similar size competed for awards in writing, photography and design work published between October 2011 and September 2012.

Sentinel staff brought home eight first place, three second place, and five third place awards this year.

Following the devastating tornado on March 2, 2012, the Sentinel-Echo produced a four-page section outlining the stories and struggles of residents in the East Bernstadt and Hawk Creek communities.  This special section, produced by Sawyers, Editor Carrie Dillard and Staff Writer Magen McCrarey, won first place at the KPA banquet.  Sawyers and McCrarey shared third place in best picture essay (two or more photos that tell a story) for their photos of the tornado aftermath.

Sawyers won a first place award in best column, “Darkness hit tornado’s wrath,” documenting that night from a reporter’s viewpoint.  He also won third place in best editorial.

Dillard earned first and second place honors in best general news story, as well as first place in best general news picture, third place in best sports feature story and honorable mention in best lifestyle page.

Lifestyles Editor Sue Minton took first place honors in best feature story. Judges said stories about the dedication of volunteer firefighters, like Bush Volunteer Fire Department, were ones “all communities should hear.” The story was published in the Winter 2012 edition of SILVER magazine.

Sports editor Denis House earned first place honors in best sports picture.  Judges said House’s photo had “expression and action.” His photo was of South Laurel shortstop Alex Sears leaping in the air in an attempt to catch the ball as Pulaski County’s Eric Jones slid into second base.

House also won two honorable mentions in best sports story and best sport picture essay.  

Sports writer Mitch Howard earned a second place for best headline.

Staff writers Carol Mills and McCrarey also earned awards for their photography.  Mills won first place in best spots news picture for a February 2012 fire in East Bernstadt. Judges said the photo “tells the whole story.”

McCrarey earned second place in the same category.

Staff writer Nita Johnson and Mills shared third place in best on-going series for their work detailing the case against Heather Kaminsky, who allegedly traded her baby for a pickup that began in July 2012.

The newspaper also won first place for best editorial page and third place for best website.