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Sun takes statewide honors for front page, news coverage / April 24, 2013
The Mecklenburg Sun won three awards in the annual Virginia Press Association News and Editorial Contest on Saturday night in Norfolk. The annual competition honors the best journalism across the state, judged in categories based on newspaper circulation.

Sun staff writer Susan Kyte took first place in Business and Financial writing for her stories on agriculture and industry. Wrote the judges: “Good business reporting. Storytelling was good without being too dry.”

The Sun also took a first place in its division for assorted Front Pages. Responsible are Sun Editor and General Manager Tom McLaughlin, Production Assistant Regina Keichline and Kyte.

Kyte also placed third in In-Depth or Investigative reporting for her coverage of former Clarksville town manager Melinda Moran’s extensive travels at town expense.

Wrote judges: “It is obvious the author did some digging and tracking to put this story together. The author did a good job of collecting information and bringing this situation to light, also did a good job of talking to multiple sources. It is unfortunate the town council had less of an issue with the manager’s travel expenses than the news writer. They should care more about how their town manager is spending taxpayer money. Perhaps the public will remind them in the next election.”

The full Sun staff includes Malinda Cherry, Lisa Clary, Julia Dresser, Stacey Malone, Robbie McMillan, Tracey Conner, Tracy Barksdale, George Allison, Wilma Dotson, Tucker McLaughlin Jr. and Bill McLaughlin.

The Sun’s sister newspaper in South Boston took nine VPA awards. The News & Record, last year’s Sweepstakes Winner, for the second year took awards in all four categories: writing, presentation, photography and multimedia.

Individual honorees are Eva Cassada, News & Record editor Sylvia O. McLaughlin, and Clarksville native David Conner II.

Conner took First place in Multimedia, for his entry on the “Godspell” production at The Prizery arts center.

He also took second place, Picture Story or Essay, for his entry on breast cancer awareness — a disease which claimed the life of his wife, Elizabeth Cope Conner, an elementary school librarian, in 2011.

He also took third place, Sports News Photo, for an action shot.

The entire News & Record staff won a second-place award in the Front Page competition. Mrs. McLaughlin and Cassada also won individual reporting awards.

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