The State newspaper’s Gerry Melendez was named the best newspaper photographer in South Carolina by the S.C. Press Association.
Others from The State took home top awards among South Carolina journalists in the S.C. Press Association’s annual newspaper contests for a total of 56 awards, including 16 first-place honors and second place among all daily newspapers for its comprehensive coverage of October’s historic flooding.
Working for the past 12 years at The State, Melendez has photographed everything from sports to breaking news to enterprise stories. In addition to being named Photographer of the Year, Melendez collected six SCPA awards for his photographs in 2015, including best sports feature photo and best humorous photo.
“Gerry Melendez sets the standard for photojournalists in South Carolina,” said Mark E. Lett, executive editor of The State. “His work consistently demonstrates his talent, his passion, his professionalism and his enduring commitment to visual storytelling.”
The State’s Cassie Cope, a State House political reporter and three-year staff writer, was named South Carolina’s top government beat reporter for 2015. Her reporting over the past year has closely followed the the condition of South Carolina roads and the state budget, in addition to numerous legislative topics.
Assistant sports editor and designer Meredith Sheffer, an eight-year veteran at The State, swept all awards for single sports page design, along with first-place awards for her page-one design portfolio, sports page design portfolio and inside page design. In all, Sheffer collected eight SCPA awards.
The State’s first-place awards, presented at a banquet Saturday night, are:
▪ Cassie Cope, Government Beat Reporting
▪ Team Award, Election/Political Coverage
▪ Team Award, News Section on the Confederate flag’s removal from the State House grounds
▪ Team Award, Sports Section on Steve Spurrier’s retirement
▪ Robert Ariail, Cartoons
▪ Cindi Ross Scoppe, Editorial Writing
▪ Ron Morris, Sports Enterprise
▪ David Cloninger, Sports Column Writing
▪ Meredith Sheffer, Page One Design Portfolio
▪ Meredith Sheffer, Sports Page Design Portfolio
▪ Meredith Sheffer, Single Sports Page Design
▪ Meredith Sheffer, Inside Page Design
▪ Gerry Melendez, Sports Feature Photo
▪ Gerry Melendez, Humorous Photo
▪ Matt Walsh, Personality/Portrait Photo
▪ Sammy Fretwell, Matt Walsh, Gerry Melendez and Chris Hessert, Digital News Project, “Graniteville Derailment: 10 Years Later”
The Post and Courier of Charleston and The Island Packet of Hilton Head won the SCPA President’s Awards as most outstanding newspapers in their circulation categories.
Reach Ellis at (803) 771-8307.