Virginia Press Association Announces D. Lathan Mims Award for Editorial Leadership in the Community

By |2019-04-09T15:29:07+00:00April 7th, 2019|

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 6, 2019
Contact: Betsy Edwards
betsye@vpa.net
804-402-9944


NORFOLK, Va. – Dwayne Yancey, editorial page editor for The Roanoke Times, has won the Virginia Press Association’s 2018 D. Lathan Mims Award for Editorial Leadership for the second year in a row.

The award was announced Saturday at the association’s annual awards banquet at Hilton Norfolk The Main.

Presented for work published during the 2018 calendar year, the award is named for the late D. Lathan Mims, a former editor and general manager of the Daily News-Record in Harrisonburg and a former president of the Virginia Press Association. The award was first presented in 1988 for the 1986-87 contest year.

Judges noted that Yancey and his colleagues have remained locally focused without falling into the “trap” of “hyper localization,” which they said has caused some newspapers to “lose sight of the big picture, thereby denying their readers the context necessary to make informed decisions on the issues that affect them and their communities.”

“He is not afraid to take on issues that go well beyond the boundaries of Roanoke,” judges said of Yancey. “He brings a laser-like focus to the issues he selects, while providing a breadth and depth of context that has become increasingly rare in journalism.

Nowhere is this more evident than in Yancey’s coverage of the crumbling building stock of Virginia’s public schools. While effectively covering the problems in his local area, he widens the lens for his readers to include his county, other counties, and the state. He provides further context by exploring the history of public schools in Virginia, going all the way back to reconstruction. He explores the economics of rebuilding the schools, examines the judicial foundations of the arguments for the effort, and gives a fair assessment of the politics surrounding it.”

Judges said Yancey, “manages to do all of this in an approachable and engaging narrative style, all the while avoiding the pedantic preaching pervasive in editorials.”

Concluding, judges said: “This is editorial writing at its finest.”

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The Mims competition is for individual writers of editorials, signed commentaries, or editorial page columns at non-daily or specialty publications of any size, or a daily publication with a circulation of 40,000 or less.

The award was established to memorialize Mims’ conviction that newspapers and their editors should be active, caring parts of the communities they serve. He believed that a newspaper should support those things which would make a community a better place in which to live and oppose those things which detract from the quality of life.

Entries are judged on skill in writing, clarity of position, fairness in handling of the issues, appropriate use of pertinent facts, and vision of the community’s needs, both present and future.

The Iowa Press Association judged the Mims competition entries.

For more information about the contest results go to: https://bit.ly/2GWijjW

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