April 14, 2018

Contact: Betsy Edwards

Virginian-Pilot and Style Weekly win the Virginia Press Association’s Highest Awards

RICHMOND, Va. –  The Virginian-Pilot and Style Weekly were named Saturday as the recipients of the Virginia Press Association’s awards for journalistic integrity and community service, the organization’s highest award.

The Virginian-Pilot won in the daily category for Tim Eberly’s series on Virginia’s “three-strikes law” which denies felons the opportunity for parole.

The judges wrote about the series, “Good journalism can change lives.  Great journalism can save them.  Tim Eberly’s series on Virginia’s almost incomprehensively cruel three-strikes law did just that.

Suspects had been imprisoned after taking plea deals, only to find out decades into their sentences that they would not be eligible for parole because the three-strikes law had been retroactively applied to their cases.  That is until Tim Eberly picked up the story.

Because of his careful research, reporting, and follow-up with the authorities, many of these inmates had their cases reconsidered by the parole board, and several have been freed. This is investigative journalism at its best.”


In the specialty category, the award for journalistic integrity and community service went to Style Weeklyfor its coverage of events held in Richmond in response to the election of Donald J. Trump.

The journalists of Style Weekly explained in their entry regarding their coverage of events held in Richmond in response to the election of Trump that, “As a weekly news magazine, Style typically spends fewer resources on daily-style coverage and events that come and go. But this movement was going somewhere.”

The judge noted, “They more than met the challenge they set for themselves, producing meaningful coverage of their community’s response to a historic election over a seven-month period, before turning their focus in August 2017 to the horrific events in Charlottesville.”

The judge went on to say, “The SPJ [Society of Professional Journalists] Code of Ethics calls for journalists to ‘give voice to the voiceless,’ and in their coverage of these events Style Weekly did just that.  I was struck by the excellent balance of photo and voice – seeingthe people and hearing them as well made for powerful storytelling.  I found myself being pulled into the story, into the lives of these people who had taken time from their own lives to make a statement, to get involved, to be seen, to be heard.”

The judge concluded by saying, “The excellent reporting of the Style Weekly staff – in reporting, photographing, editing and laying out the stories with a pleasing consistency and continuity of style – made that possible.  Excellent team effort – well done.”



The judging for the 2017 contest was conducted by journalists in Alabama

For more information about the contest results go to: