Virginia Press Association

Bristol Herald Courier Wins Virginia Press Association’s Highest Award

Bristol Herald Courier was named the recipient of the 2019 Virginia Press Association Journalistic Integrity and Community Service Award —the VPA’s highest honor—during the association’s virtual 2019 News and Advertising Best of the Best awards presentation on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020.

The Bristol Herald Courier won the award for its investigative series “Critical Mass,” which focused on the issue of jail overcrowding.

The judge wrote about the series: “There is not an aspect of the issue of jail overcrowding that they ignore. Bail, alternative sentencing, treatment programs, construction costs, demographics, gender, volunteer solutions, interviews with inmates and prison officials, even an online poll ––it’s all here, and more. And it’s not only local information. The depth of research in this project is comprehensive, covering multiple counties and states, as well as national challenges and solutions to the problem.”

When evaluating the entry, the judge lauded the Bristol Herald Courier staff’s exhaustive effort to produce a powerful and effective series that had an immediate impact on the community the newspaper serves.

“This is journalism at its best, performed at an exceptionally high level. It is a fine representation of the journalism of social responsibility, which we teach our journalism students. The entire staff of the Bristol Herald Courier should be proud. They are a credit to our profession, and to their community.”

This is the second time the Bristol Herald Courier has garnered the distinction, having also won the award in 2010.


The Hoosier State Press Association judged the entries. For more information about the contest results, see the awards show presentation at

To view other contest results released early this summer, visit the VPA’s contest gallery at


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