For the third straight year, Lagniappe took home the first-place Freedom of Information (FOI) award for large weekly newspapers in the Alabama Press Association’s (APA) Better Newspaper contest.
Also this week, Lagniappe gathered the most awards for non-daily newspapers — 15 — in the Society of Professional Journalists’ (SPJ) Green Eyeshade Awards, which include publications from 11 states across the Southeast.
While most APA awards were announced at the end of May, several major categories were handed out this past weekend at the annual APA Summer Convention and Banquet in Orange Beach.
Gabriel Tynes’ coverage of Baldwin County Circuit Court Judge Clark Stankoski’s attempts to compel Lagniappe to reveal communications with news sources took first place in the FOI division. Lagniappe also took second place in that category for Jason Johnson and Rob Holbert’s coverage of this newspaper’s argument before the Alabama Supreme Court last summer for the release of police body camera footage related to the shooting of unarmed motorist Johnathan Victor by a Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office deputy in 2017.
Lagniappe was also awarded third place in the General Excellence category among the state’s largest weekly newspapers, and third place for Most Improved.
Lagniappe also took first place in the Public Service category for Johnson and Holbert’s coverage of the paper’s Supreme Court argument, and third place in that category for Lynn Oldshue and Ashley Trice’s coverage of Oaklawn Cemetery.
The paper added to previously announced wins in the advertising contest with first place in the Advertising Sweepstakes category and third place in the Best One-Time Special Section category.
Overall, Lagniappe took home eight advertising awards and 19 editorial awards in this year’s statewide contest.
In the Green Eyeshade contest, Tynes took first place in Courts & The Law Reporting for non-dailies for his coverage of reporter’s privilege in Baldwin County Circuit Court. The staff was awarded second place for Disaster Coverage for Hurricane Sally coverage.
Holbert took first place for Humorous Commentary, and that was also the Division Winner among all first-place non-daily winners, making it a finalist for the overall Green Eyeshade Award. Trice was awarded second place for Humorous Commentary, and Holbert took second place in the Serious Commentary category. Kevin Lee won first place for Criticism.
In General News, Dale Liesch’s coverage of the sperm whale in Mobile Bay took second place, and Tynes and Johnson’s investigation into the Bayou La Batre Housing Authority was awarded second place in the Investigative Reporting category. Johnson’s stories about unlicensed group homes took third in the investigative category as well.
In Feature Writing, Ryan Zickgraf’s look back at yellow fever took second place and Alyson Sheppard’s story on Toomey’s was awarded third place in the Business Reporting category.
Randy Kennedy and Tommy Hicks finished first and second, respectively, in the Sports Commentary category. Tynes also took second place in the Consumer Reporting category for his coverage of Alabama Power’s decision not to move tons of coal ash.
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