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Mecklenburg Sun wins first place for special section in 2020 VPA contest

South Boston News / April 30, 2021
The Mecklenburg Sun came away as a two-time winner in the 2020 Virginia Press Association News & Advertising Content and extended its recent dominance in the category of best special section.

The Sun took first place for its Nov. 18, 2020 tabloid section, “Home For The Holidays,” spearheaded by Sun staff writer Susan Kyte with design, art and advertising contributions by Sun editor Tom McLaughlin, staff photographer Steve Hinzman and advertising sales representatives Teresa Elliott, Lisa Clary and David Jones.

“Great local reporting and photos showcasing your local stores and vendors,” wrote judges with the Maryland, Delaware, D.C. Press Association. “I'm sure they really appreciated the special attention. It made me want to go visit my locally owned stores! Nice calendar of events too. Well done!”

The Sun has been honored for producing the best special section in four of the past five years in its non-daily newspaper competitive category. The newspaper also won awards for best special section in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

The paper’s other award in 2020 was a second place honor for Kyte in the category of feature story writing portfolio. Kyte’s work included articles on pandemic-inspired Victory Gardens, the architectural legacy of 19th-century builder Jacob Holt, and gaps in 911 calling coverage in the Lake Gaston area. “Good mix of emotion and news with a feature writer's more laid-back style,” wrote the judges.

This year’s awards were presented virtually over four days by the Virginia Press Association, representing member newspapers and media organizations around the state.

This year’s awards total by The Sun matched last year’s showing, when the newspaper captured two first place awards, one by Kyte — again for feature writing story portfolio, giving her back-to-back wins in the category — and by McLaughlin, who won first place in the column writing category. McLaughlin won the award again this year in the 2020 VPA contest, this time for his columns appearing in the News & Record, The Sun’s sister publication in South Boston.

The News & Record won seven honors in all. Clarksville native David Conner II, staff photographer, won a second place award and two third place awards for his news and sports photography. N&R reporter Liza Fulton won a first award and second place award in feature profile writing and general news, respectively, and the N&R also took second place honors for front page design. Conner’s and Fulton’s works appear frequently in The Sun.

The Sun staff consists of McLaughlin, editor and general manager, reporters and photographers Kyte, Hinzman and Mike Moseley, sales representatives Elliott, Clary, Jones and Tucker McLaughlin, bookkeeper Wilma Dodson, and Malinda Cherry, office manager and circulation director.

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