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Herald wins 15 GPA awards, including general excellence

Top citations are also given for other areas of the paper, including local news coverage.

JEKYLL ISLAND — The Albany Herald received the General Excellence Award here Friday night, signaling its achievement as the top daily in Georgia among newspapers of similar size.

The prestigious General Excellence honor was announced at the Georgia Press Association's annual Better Newspaper Contest awards banquet.

In addition to the top honor, The Herald's news staff also received first place in the Local News Coverage division, as well as 13 other awards. Among the 15 overall honors for The Herald, nine were first-place honors.

The Herald was cited for first place in the Lifestyle coverage category.

Editor Jim Hendricks and Metro Editor Carlton Fletcher, the Herald's top two staff columnists, each received a first place award for their commentary Friday night. Hendricks was honored in the Humorous Column competition, while Fletcher was the first-place winner in the Serious Column judging.

Those were not the only awards for Hendricks and Fletcher. Hendricks' entry in the Feature Writing category placed second.

Fletcher captured first place in the Business Writing competition.

The Herald also placed well in the photo competition with photographer Joe Bellacomo capturing two first-place awards and a third-place win. Bellacomo was first place in Sports Feature Photo and Feature Photo. He also placed third in the Photo Essay contest.

Also in the photo division, J.D. Sumner placed first in the Spot News judging. The Herald's news staff, which included Bellacomo, Sumner and Terry Lewis, placed second in the Photo Essay contest.

Reporter Jim West received a second-place award in the Business Coverage contest.

The Herald also received a second-place honor in the Page One design judging.

Outlook, a special section published each year by The Herald, placed third in the Special Issues competition.

"Obviously we are pleased with the General Excellence recognition," Hendricks said. "But we are equally excited about placing first in the Local News Coverage judging. Local news is our focus and it's rewarding to see the efforts of our reporters and photographers recognized as among the best work in the state.

"It's satisfying that the work done in Albany was cited across numerous sections of the paper, including commentary, photography, business, lifestyles, feature writing, page one design and special sections."

The Entries:

BUSINESS REPORTING

First place, Carlton Fletcher for Lee LOST negotiations fruitless

LEESBURG, Ga. — It was two giant steps back for Lee County, Leesburg and Smithville officials Monday night as representatives of all three county governments sought an equitable division of the county's local-option sales tax money.

BUSINESS REPORTING

Second Place, Jim West for Honey man has a sweet job

ALBANY — Richard Grebel, an 80-year-old post-war Wisconsin transplant, has retired to supervise his thousands of employees.

SERIOUS COLUMN

First Place, Carlton Fletcher for A mother's love and grief are never-ending

She hates that she cries, calls herself a "sissy" as she brushes away the tears, but the anguish that has taken up permanent residence in Dolores Presley's soul surfaces anew as she shares the last note her son wrote to her.

HUMOROUS COLUMN

First Place, Jim Hendricks for Life's sweet, even without the sugar

Not much says The South quite as convincingly as sweet tea and cornbread.

FEATURE STORY

Second Place, Jim Hendricks for A Renaissance Man: A Table With a View -- Charles B. Gillespie

ALBANY, Ga — The late entertainer Phyllis Diller never knew the impact she had on improving emergency medical care in rural Georgia.

SPOT NEWS PHOTO

First place, J.D. Sumner

Submit one picture of an unexpected news event for which no advanced assignment or planning is possible. Entry MUST include tearsheet. Glossies only permitted with tearsheet. The back of all glossy photos must contain the photographer’s name, newspaper name, and division entered. Photographer may submit more than one entry.

Ronald Taylor, 22, is carried out of an apartment at 1634 Pineview Avenue after being shot Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012. Detectives would like to question Octavious Clyde, a person of interest in the shooting.

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SPORTS FEATURE PHOTO

First Place, Joe Bellacomo

Recognizes a sports-related photo that is not action (reaction, sidelines, coaches, cheerleaders, crowds, etc.) Judging emphasizes originality, reader appeal and technical excellence. Entry MUST include tearsheet. Glossies only permitted with tearsheet. The back of all glossy photos must contain the photographer’s name, newspaper name, and division entered. Photographer may submit more than one entry.

Monroe’s Chakerah Fletcher lies on the track at Hugh Mills Stadium and covers her face Thursday, May 2, 2012 after she dropped the baton during qualifying for the 4x100 relay finals that eliminated the Lady Tornadoes from defending their state crown

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PHOTO ESSAY

Second place, staff (Joe Bellacomo, Terry Lewis, & J.D. Sumner)

Submit photographs of a sequence of pictures. Use of Photoshop or other methods of enhancing the photograph are allowed. Entry MUST include tearsheet. Glossies only permitted with tearsheet. The back of all glossy photos must contain the photographer’s name, newspaper name, and division entered. Photographer may submit more than one entry.

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PHOTO ESSAY

Third place, Joe Bellacomo

Submit photographs of a sequence of pictures. Use of Photoshop or other methods of enhancing the photograph are allowed. Entry MUST include tearsheet. Glossies only permitted with tearsheet. The back of all glossy photos must contain the photographer’s name, newspaper name, and division entered. Photographer may submit more than one entry.

Page 1 layout and design

Second Place, Staff (Laura Williams, Casey Dixon)

Submit as your entry full-page tearsheets from two consecutive issues plus one issue from the month of September. Judging will be on the factors of appearance, quality and news worthiness, not on size alone. Factors to be considered include general appearance and reader appeal, including typography, pictures and other illustrations, headlines, use of white space, layout and proofreading. The pages will be judged as a whole; all factors will be considered.