The State’s staff members earn top honors in SC Press Association contest

mlucas@thestate.comMarch 24, 2013 

The State newspaper’s Gerry Melendez on Saturday was named Photographer of the Year as part of the South Carolina Press Association’s annual journalism competition.

The State newspaper staff also won top honors for outstanding journalism, taking first place in more than 20 categories Saturday in the South Carolina Press Association’s annual contest. The awards were given during the annual meeting in Greenville of the state’s alliance of weekly and daily newspapers.

“The success of The State’s journalists this year speaks to the across-the-board talent and professionalism in our newsroom – from design, to photojournalism to storytelling and reporting, to editing and digital journalism,” said Mark E. Lett, executive editor and vice-president. “Year-in and year-out, The State is recognized as South Carolina’s most-honored newspaper in state, national and international journalism contests.”

Melendez spent much of the year following the inner workings of the USC baseball team’s “Road to Omaha” – its quest for a third NCAA championship. His lens brought to life the hardships, the long hours, the sadness and the joys of a commitment to excellence.

“Gerry embodies the same commitment to photojournalism,” said Tom Peyton, The State’s visual editor. “Gerry is always teaching us how to see the world. It doesn’t matter what he shoots, I always find myself thinking, ‘How did he see that?’”

In other categories, first-place individual awards went to:

• Meredith Sheffer, for her mixed media illustration of the Masters golf tournament, her page design depicting University of South Carolina sports and her single sports page design of USC football player and NFL draftee Stephon Gilmore

• Gina Smith, for government reporting, from reconstructing Lt. Gov. Ken Ard’s resignation to following Gov. Nikki Haley’s ethics issues and the push for ethics reform that later this month will lead to unprecedented House Ethics Committee hearings

• Tracy Burlison, for her photo page design and inside page design for Columbia’s “Super Saturday,” one of the community’s busiest days of the year

• Cindi Ross Scoppe, for editorial writing, receiving the E.A. Ramsaur Award

• C. Aluka Berry, for his pictorial on the Miss South Carolina pageant

• Kim Kim Foster-Tobin, for her photo illustration of ballet dancer Brooklyn Mack

• Otis Taylor Jr., for his lifestyle feature on Bree Boyce, the reigning Miss South Carolina, and the trials and tribulations of beauty pageants

• Carolyn Click, for profile feature writing, for her story on former Columbia College president Caroline Whitson

• Dawn Hinshaw, for her short story on a Little Mountain resident, Rodger Winn, and his heirloom tomatoes

• Ron Morris, for his sports feature story on Bamberg-Ehrhardt High School coach David Horton

• Kelly Cobb, for her page one design, “Gingrich routs Romney”

• Elizabeth Smith, for her single feature page design capturing different vinegars, as part of a Carolina Kitchen column

• Gerry Melendez, for his sports feature photo of USC baseball player Nolan Belcher doing a back flip and for his photo series/photo story about South Carolina military police coming home from Afghanistan

• Tracy Glantz, for her sports video about Columbia man Rich Williams, who holds the record for the world’s strongest hands

In addition. first-place staff awards were given to:

• The State newspaper staff, for the paper’s 2012 election/political coverage

• GoGamecocks staff members, for their sports specialty publication/magazine

• Dwayne McLemore and Gary Ward, for The State’s Facebook page

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