The Loudoun Times-Mirror fell just short of a four-peat as the best large-division weekly newspaper in Virginia, but still took home nine first place honors at the 2013 Virginia Press Association competition.
The Times-Mirror lost the comprehensive editorial “sweepstakes” category – based on the total points collected through the dozens of writing, multimedia, design and photography categories – by three points to the Fairfax County Times. The Times-Mirror won sweepstakes in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
The results of the 2013 VPA contest were announced April 5 in Richmond. The contest covered work published in 2013 and was judged by members of the Georgia Press Association.
The Times-Mirror competes among Virginia's weekly newspapers with a circulation greater than 10,000.
In total, the Times-Mirror's editorial team brought home 14 awards.
Garnering top individual awards in the Loudoun newsroom were reporters Alanna Dvorak and Trevor Baratko, former photo editor Beverly Denny and illustrator Kurt Samuel.
Times-Mirror Managing Editor Crystal Owens won two collaborative first place awards, one with Denny for a multimedia feature report telling the story of a local couple's 60-year wedding anniversary and another with Denny and reporter Andrew Sharbel for a multimedia sports report on high school athletes of the year.
Denny won first place in the general news photo category for an image from the late Gabriella Miller's memorial in Leesburg last October.
“The look on the father's face makes this image the winner. The reader can see the sadness and happiness [at] the same time,” the judge commented.
Times-Mirror contributing photographer Doug Stroud won two first place prices for his sports photography.
Dvorak took top billing in the health, science and environmental writing category for a portfolio of three stories; the first focused on the breast cancer gene, the second followed the life of a young Loudoun girl suffering from a debilitating facial pain disease known as trigeminal neuralgia, also known as the “suicide disease” and the the third explored a local prosthetist’s efforts to get a woman on new legs.
Baratko won the top honor in column writing for his monthly “Wine Wednesday” feature highlighting the Loudoun County wine industry.
“Best of the bunch by far,” remarked the judges. “Great writing and use of language. Draws the reader in even if you're not an expert in wines.”
Loudoun's “Wine Wednesday” launched in April and appears in print and online the first Wednesday of each month.
The Times-Mirror's “Election Day blog” won first place in the multimedia new report category for the fourth consecutive year.
“This is a well put together staff assignment that looks like it succeeded in keeping voters up to date on real-time election proceedings,” the judges noted.
Graphic designer Samuel also won first place in the illustrations category for a graphic created for special anniversary coverage of 9/11.
Samuel, project manager Baratko and staff won first place for the Taste of Loudoun special section, which appeared in April 2013.
Complete results from the 2013 Virginia Press Association competition can be found online by clicking this link