The Virginia Press Association held its virtual 2020 News and Advertising Best in Show awards presentation on Thursday, April 29. The following awards (judges’ comments have been included when provided) were presented during the virtual video celebration which can be viewed here. 


Grand Sweepstakes:

Daily 1: Northern Virginia Daily

Daily 2: Bristol Herald Courier

Daily 3: Richmond Times-Dispatch

Non-Daily 1: Rappahannock News

Non-Daily 2: The Tidewater News

Non-Daily 3: Fauquier Times

Non-Daily 4: Suffolk News-Herald

Specialty: Richmond Magazine

News Sweepstakes

Daily 1: Northern Virginia Daily

Daily 2: The Free Lance-Star

Daily 3: Richmond Times-Dispatch

Non-Daily 1: Rappahannock News

Non-Daily 2: Orange County Review

Non-Daily 3: Fauquier Times

Non-Daily 4: Richmond Free Press

Online: Charlottesville Tomorrow

Specialty: Richmond Magazine

Advertising Sweepstakes

Daily 1: Northern Virginia Daily

Daily 2: Bristol Herald Courier

Daily 3: Richmond Times-Dispatch

None-Daily 1: The Charlottes Gazette

Non-Daily 2: The Tidewater News

Non-Daily 3: Fauquier Times

Non-Daily 4: Alexandria Times

Specialty: Style Weekly

Best in Show

Digital Category

Daily Digital:  John Ramsey, Mark Robinson, Greg Gilligan, John Reid Blackwell – Richmond Times Dispatch

“I like data stories and I thought these stories did an excellent job covering the topic on a number of different levels.”

Non-Daily Digital: Tyrone Nelson Jr. – Henrico Citizen

“I was really impressed with the Henrico Citizen’s video and some of the elements used to tell the story. Lead off the opening scene with a time stamp, and transition to using cellphone images and social media messages to lead the viewer. Spectacular editing which makes for good storytelling. Clearly my choice for Best of Show in this category.”

Online Digital: Jordy Yager, Sahara Clemons, Lorenzo Dickerson – Charlottesville Tomorrow

“The stories in this series are in-depth and provide good context for subject at the local level. The visuals are also very well done.”

Specialty Digital: Mandy Loy, Lauren Baldwin – Richmond Magazine

“The perfect type font, illustration and clean design make this entry my choice as Best in Show. I’m impressed with the thorough research on pickles and the whimsical illustration that completes the piece. “

Graphics, Illustration and Art Category

Daily Graphics, Illustration and Art: Chelsea Gillenwater, Sarah Wade, David Thometz – Bristol Herald Courier

A public service to lay out the connections, criminal and otherwise, in case of a missing toddler.”

Non-Daily Graphics, Illustration and Art: Laura Stanton, Sara Schonhardt – Rappahannock News

“Multiple maps about the Rappahannock River’s health were a must-read for local folks. For any folks, come to think of it.”

Online Graphics, Illustration and Art: Sahara Clemons – Charlottesville Tomorrow

“Charlottesville Tomorrow used the Social Determinants of Health as a foundational framework and guideposts to bring you stories of how the COVID-19 crisis has impacted some of our African American communities. Sarah Clemons provided original paintings.”

Specialty Graphics, Illustration and Art: Wes Watson – Distinction Magazine

“The truth exists in the shadows of this compelling illustration.”

Photography Category

Daily Photography: Jonathan Gruenke – Daily Press

“A powerful image illustrating an emotional moment. Excellent composition.”

Non-Daily Photography: Regina Boone, Sandra Sellars – Richmond Free Press

“Good variety of photos tell the story here.”

Online Photography: Mike Kropf – Charlottesville Tomorrow

“This photographer clearly worked the scene to make beautiful images that tell the story of this event. Nice composition.”

Specialty Photography: Scott Elmquist – Style Weekly

“The more you study this image, the more you find a community in grief over a tragedy.”

Presentation Category

Daily Presentation: Staff – The News & Advance“The News & Advance is a beautiful paper. The staff maximizes excellent photography and writing with well-designed story packages that draw the reader in.”

Non-Daily Presentation: Larissa Tyler – Chesterfield Observer

“This is a great looking paper that is pleasing to the eye and easy to navigate. The design is clean and uses different typefaces and fonts that effectively help the reader.”

Specialty Presentation: EJ Toudt, Wes Watson, Trisha Irving – Distinction Magazine

“This is an attractive magazine. Nice use of typography and photos.”

Writing Category

Daily Writing:  Sarah Wade – Bristol Herald Courier

“Powerful writing, combined with courageous reporting in uncertain, anxious times. Bristol Herald Courier’s readers were taken behind closed doors and shown one of the most tragic aspects of the pandemic.”

Non-Daily Writing:  Jeremy M. Lazarus, George Copeland Jr., Ronald E. Carrington, Brian Palmer – Richmond Free Press

“In a crowded field of some truly extraordinary journalism, this robust package chronicling the debate surrounding the removal of local Confederate statues was well-researched, roundly sourced and expertly written.

The group effort showed a consistent and thorough knowledge of the matter, along with follow ups that added more context and nuance with each additional article.”

Online Writing:  Sarah Vogelsong – Virginia Mercury

“Sarah’s piece is a beautifully constructed, articulate body of work that reflects solid research and hyperlocal journalism. She really shines a light on officials’ refusal to be transparent about COVID-19 as it affects the poultry/meatpacking industry. The piece flows well, with specific points illustrated through clear narrative and quotes.”

Specialty Writing:  Tina Eshelman, Carol A. O. Wolf, Jack Cooksey, Rodrigo Arriaza – Richmond Magazine

“An outstanding series that covers multiple angles and perspectives on the history and impact of guns in Virginia and, by extension, the entire country. Well done.”

Advertising Category

Daily Advertising: Missy Hale – Bristol Herald Courier

“A real eye catcher with plenty of offers to bring the customer in.”

Non-Daily Advertising: Lyvian Sieg – Alexandria Times

“Great ad. The logo is purrfect. Typeface choice is appropriate.”

Specialty Advertising: Ross Allen – Richmond Magazine

“Great use of typography. The catchy title is great!

Well done!”