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Sun claims honors in VPA news contest

South Boston News
Susan Kyte / April 09, 2014
The Mecklenburg Sun collected four awards this week in the Virginia Press Association’s annual News and Editorial contest honoring the best journalism around the state.

Competing with writers for other Virginia non-daily newspapers, Sun reporter Susan Kyte won three awards for her work during the year. Kyte took first place in the feature writing category for her February 2013 article on George Sizemore, the son of an enslaved African-American man born in the 19th century. Kyte also took second and third place honors in a single category — general news — for her coverage of two ongoing stories in 2013: the troubled Buggs Island Telephone broadband wireless initiative, and conflict on the Mecklenburg County School Board.

Of her reporting on BIT, the judges wrote: “What an excellent job breaking down a difficult situation and making it understandable to the layman. For the most part, you avoided jargon. Good work.” Kyte’s third place coverage of the School Board also garnered praise for “very thorough coverage of community feuding” at “its most important level — school issues.”

The fourth Sun award came in the sports news photo category. Taking third place was David Conner II, a photographer with The Sun’s sister newspaper in South Boston, the News & Record. Conner is a Clarksville native.

His winning photo, “Back Off,” was taken at a Park View football game.

Conner also claimed four awards for the News & Record for his sports photojournalism and an online slideshow. Sun editor Tom McLaughlin also won four awards for the News & Record. He took first place in public safety reporting and headline writing, and second place for feature series and business and financial writing.

This year marked the first time that the Virginia Press Association combined the results of its news and advertising contests to determine the winners of the coveted sweepstakes competition. Among the state’s largest dailies, the Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk was the winner of the grand prize sweepstakes award, with the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star and the Northern Virginia Daily claiming the honor in their respective circulation categories. Among non-daily newspapers, grand sweepstakes winners were The Virginia Gazette in Williamsburg, the Rappahanock Record in Kilmarnock, and The Tidewater News in Franklin. Style Weekly in Richmond won the sweepstakes award in the specialty publications group.

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