February 26, 2012

The State honored for reporting, photography, design

Several staff members of The State Media Co. have won honors for news and sports reporting, photography and design.

Several staff members of The State Media Co. have won honors for news and sports reporting, photography and design.

“These awards recognize the depth and breadth of quality journalism at The State, from watchdog journalism to world-class photography and design to compelling coverage of sports," said executive editor Mark E. Lett.

"We couldn’t be more proud of our honorees or more gratified that their work is recognized as among the best in our business."

The honors include:

• President’s awards from The McClatchy Co., corporate parent of The State, to reporter Gina Smith and former reporter Wayne Washington for using material gathered through Freedom of Information laws for stories on Gov. Nikki Haley and the University of South Carolina.

Smith reported how Haley’s office had deleted email, contrary to standards for preservation recommended by state historians.

Washington reported on the furor over Haley’s ouster of former USC trustee Darla Moore, along with USC’s problems with a biomass energy plant and parking garages.

“Using Freedom of Information requests like surgeons, the staff of The State delivered story after story about the inside workings of two powerful institutions — the University of South Carolina and the state’s new governor, Nikki Haley,” the company said in its selection.

“The relentless reporting helped readers better understand these institutions, held them accountable and got results.”

Smith and Washington were among a group of honorees at 10 McClatchy publications who received the company’s top honor. Washington recently joined the staff of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

• Four awards to photographers, designers and editors from the International Society for News Design.

Those honored are Gerry Melendez for sports photography, Tim Dominick for news photography, Meredith Sheffer for a portfolio of designs and Sheffer, Melendez, executive sports editor Rick Millians and presentation editor Tom Peyton for a section about USC’s second straight College World Series championship. Melendez received a Silver Award — one of only 38 given by the Society for News Design from among 10,000 entries.

No other newspaper in South Carolina was honored.

• The sports section and staff of The State are among the nation’s best in the Associated Press Sports Editors and Writers annual contest in the 75,001-175,000 newspaper circulation category. Awards include a top 10 citation to columnist Ron Morris, a top 10 citation for explanatory reporting to Josh Kendall, along with top 10 citations for Sunday sections and a 2011 football season preview section, and an honorable mention for daily coverage.

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