April 6, 2019
Contact: Betsy Edwards

NORFOLK, Va.- The Virginia Press Association held its Annual Awards Banquet in Norfolk on Saturday, April 6. With more than 350 VPA members and guests in attendance, the following awards were presented over dinner. Judges’ comments are included if provided.


Grand Sweepstakes:

Daily 1: Northern Virginia Daily

Daily 2: The Free Lance-Star

Daily 3: Richmond Times-Dispatch

Non-Daily 1: The Tidewater News

Non-Daily 2: The Breeze

Non-Daily 3: Fauquier Times

Non-Daily 4: Chesterfield Observer

Specialty: Richmond Magazine

News Sweepstakes:

Daily 1: Northern Virginia Daily and The News Leader

Daily 2: The Free Lance-Star

Daily 3: The Virginian-Pilot

Non-Daily 1: Amherst New-Era Progress

Non-Daily 2: Page News & Courier and The Breeze

Non-Daily 3: Fauquier Times

Non-Daily 4: Chesterfield Observer

Online: Fauquier Now

Specialty: Richmond Magazine

Advertising Sweepstakes:

Daily 1: Northern Virginia Daily

Daily 2: The Free Lance-Star

Daily 3: The Roanoke Times

Non-Daily 1: The Tidewater News

Non-Daily 2: Courier-Record

Non-Daily 3: Fauquier Times

Non-Daily 4: Inside NOVA-Prince William

Specialty: Style Weekly


Best in Show 

News- Best in Show 

Daily Artwork:  John Rose, Daily News Record

“The use of ‘photo on the milk carton’ imagery makes this ad easy to follow from the start. It was good to keep the words to a minimum and only using words to define what they’re referring too instead of using more words to drive their point home. It’s informative but it sticks to what we know people like, which is pictures.”

Non-Daily Artwork: Kat Ellis, The Breeze

“This was a powerful in many ways. It speaks highly of what women must experience after an assault. This was very well executed in getting their point across in a way that readers can visually understand very easily.”

Specialty Artwork: Stephanie Redding, Washington Business Journal

“Although wordy, the use of photos and red glows in the areas in mention made this easy to grasp the point at a glance and was also entertaining with their headlines.”

Daily Photography: Kristen Zeis, The Virginian-Pilot

“This image stood out not only for the merits of the photo itself but because of the trust gained by the photographer to be in the room and raise a camera. It’s a powerful image that shows what Taryn is going through beyond the battles faced in public.”

Non-Daily Photography: John McCaslin, Rappahannock News
“In a year that produced many amazing images, this one still stands out as an illustration of the life and death struggles emergency personnel experience on our behalf. This photo was captured in difficult circumstances (residential fire at night) and shows us a situation within the emergency we rarely see – the cost to an individual firefighter. It is a powerful and unique moment and is very deserving of the ‘Best in Show’ distinction.”

Specialty Photography: Carlos Bernate, Richmond Magazine

“Very powerful images telling a very powerful story. The photos capture many emotions packed with substance and with great attention to framing and light. The details captured draw the reader and make us want to learn more about their journey.”

Online Photography: Charlottesville Tomorrow

“This photo has interesting composition and angle, and beautiful fall colors. It is a frame where it’s clear some thought went into making sure the scene was appealing. And mission accomplished in that regard.”

Online Artwork: Emily Hays, Charlottesville Tomorrow
“This graphic describes in detail the situation with housing affordability. It went beyond standard informational graphics to give good context to the issue.”

Daily News Presentation: Bristol Herald Courier
“Great graphics! Nice fonts.” 

Non-Daily News Presentation:  Loudoun Times Mirror

“Large headers direct readers. Clean layout.”

Specialty Design & Presentation: Richmond Magazine

“Beautiful Work!”

Daily Writing: Gary Harki, The Virginian-Pilot
“The Virginia Pilot tackled a story ripe for reporting in every American community.
Many news organizations have reported local anecdotes about mental illness in local jails and state prisons.

Reporter Gary Harki took a story he dubbed ‘a crisis without data,’ and scrounged the data from enough sources to confirm those anecdotes and affirm a crisis of training, funding, education and ethics.
He crafts a story that begins with anecdotes, but quickly guides the reader to understand that these outcomes are not exceptions. They are the rule when rules do not exist.

The Pilot also anchors this national story with deep reporting in its own community, finding its regional jail to be ‘a dumping ground for inmates with all kinds of sickness…’ Partnering with Marquette University gave Harki the legwork needed to compare his own community’s situation with national trends. He also gave those students invaluable contemporary journalism experience.

The Pilot’s project clears two hurdles to win best of show. It tops a very strong collection of deeply reported stories from Virginia newspapers. And it makes a national story pertinent and interesting to the Pilot’s local subscribers. Bravo!”

Non-Daily Writing: Steve Roberts, Jr., The Virginia Gazette
“The detail the reporter captures in this entry helped it stand above the others. Reporter does a fantastic job detailing the uncertainty around the recovery. Interviews with the father and the therapists were extremely emotional and compelling. Detail throughout helped understand how progress was tediously incremental. The photography and presentation added to the impact of the story. Well done!”

Specialty Writing: Jack Cooksey, Richmond Magazine
“So nice to read a story on this subject. Seems very rare to have an administrator with this much heart and involvement. The story was very educational, informative, detailed, and interesting. Lots of research went into doing this story. This story was on a subject very different from the others.”

Online Writing: Emily Hays, Charlottesville Tomorrow
“Excellent combination of the human aspect (lede story of women who became an activist) and numbers (research, statistics, etc.) Very well written and a good read.”

Advertising Best in Show

Daily: “Kings Dominion,” by Dwayne Carpenter and Erin Kennedy from the Richmond Times-Dispatch

“Excellent choice and use of colors and photos; this ad makes me want to go there!”

Non-Daily: “Traylor Dance Academy,” by Crystal Outlaw from The Tidewater News

“What a great ad. It really draws you in with the picture of the cute little girl and keeps you going with the other 2 pictures. Very nice job!!!”

Specialty: “Designer House,” by Lauren Baldwin and Rachel Lee from Richmond Magazine

I love the use of photo for the background because it gave it simplicity while allowing enough space for the little bit of straight forward information that the readers needed. Overall, great looking ad and executed perfectly.”


The Iowa Press Association judged the entries.

For more information about the contest results go to: