The editorial and marketing departments at The Sampson Independent took home five awards in the annual North Carolina Press Association’s News, Editorial, Photojournalism and Best Advertising contest recognizing excellence in journalism and advertising.
The honors included two awards in the news department for education reporting and beat news reporting and three awards for the marketing department for best online advertising, best niche publication and best use of multimedia. The accolades were officially announced at ceremonies Thursday night at the George Watts Hill Alumni Center on the campus of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. The event is part of the NCPA’s Winter Institute.
“I am thrilled that both our editorial and advertising staffs have been recognized on a state level for the great work they do,” said Sampson Independent Publisher and Editor Sherry Matthews. “Each of them are deserving of the accolades and these awards speak volumes about who they are, their commitment and the jobs they do.
“I have the distinct privilege of working elbow to elbow with some of the best writers, advertising specialists and employees one could hope to find anywhere. I am so proud of each of them and fortunate to be a part of such a great team,” she remarked.
Individual second place awards in the editorial department went to staff writers Kristy Carter for Beat News Reporting and Chase Jordan for Education Reporting. Sampson Independent’s media consultant Clay Boney won first place in Best Online Advertising, with the assistance of graphic designer Melody Evans and third place for Best Use of Multimedia, again with the assistance of Evans in graphic design.
The entire advertising staff won second place for Best Niche Publication with the bi-annual agriculture magazine, Home Grown, a glossy, full-color special section that was printed in the fall.
“I am so proud of the hard work and dedication our advertising staff puts into each day’s paper,” Media Director Shannon Best said. “We are completely dedicated to providing excellent service to the individuals and businesses in our community. A community we love.”
Recently returning to submitting advertising material after a decade-long hiatus, the department brought three awards back to Sampson County honoring the staff for their excellence in advertising design and publications. This is the second straight year the editorial staff earned multiple awards, boasting three wins last year.
“Coming on the heels of last year’s editorial wins, it is great to also see our advertising specialists recognized for the tremendous service they provide to all our advertisers on a daily basis. These awards are a testament to the creativity, time and energy they put into each ad. My hat is off to Media Director Shannon Best and her team, Gary Pate, Clay Boney and Beth Reynolds, for the extraordinary job they do for our paper.”
Carter reported on Clinton City Schools staff member Eddie Parker being demoted, with a pay cut, and controversy surrounding the topic as board members, the superintendent and board attorney remained mum about public record minutes and supposed action behind closed doors.
Jordan’s educational piece was about a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) camp hosted by Sampson Community College, Sampson County Schools and Clinton City Schools. With the guidance of local educators, students learned about STEM through hands-on activities and how math, science and technology is impacting the world.
Matthews expressed her gratitude to the NCPA for the individual, as well as staff, recognitions, saying her staff does an excellent job of providing the community with accurate coverage of a community worth calling home. She said the awards speak volumes to that mission of community coverage, day in and day out.
“Sampson County is fortunate to have journalists like Chris Berendt, Chase Jordan, Kristy Carter, Adam Capps and Barbara Shook telling the stories, in words and photographs, of our county each and every day. They are committed to fairness, truth and creativity.
“Each of these awards are personal for us, but we hope every single reader of The Sampson Independent or clintonnc.com will share in them,” Matthews continued, “knowing that what we do is for each of our readers and advertisers as well.”