It’s journalism awards season and Lagniappe is fortunate to have a few more wins to announce this week.
In the Society of Professional Journalists’ “68th annual Green Eyeshades Awards,” Lagniappe took home six awards in the non-daily newspaper division. The contest is open to newspapers, television, radio and online media from across the Southeast — including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia.
Reporter Jason Johnson gathered four awards — the most of any weekly reporter. He took first place in Consumer Reporting for his coverage of Mobile’s “Pill Mill.” In Courts & The Law Reporting, Johnson and editor Gabe Tynes placed second for their coverage of Capital Murder in Mobile County.
Johnson won two third-place awards as well, one in the Investigative Reporting category for stories related to former sheriff’s deputy Chris Parsons and another in the Public Affairs Reporting category.
Co-publisher Ashley Trice took first place in the Humorous Commentary division for her weekly column “Hidden Agenda,” and co-publisher Rob Holbert finished third in that category.
The awards keep coming. WKRG-TV took home the top honor at the Alabama Associated Press Media Editors Awards banquet last weekend in Birmingham. The CBS affiliate was declared “Outstanding News Operation.”
The station also won first-place awards for Best Regularly Scheduled Newscast, Best News Feature (Devon Walsh/Jason Garcia), Best Spot News Story, Best Staff Photography (Arnell Hamilton), Best Photographer (Jason Garcia), Best Specialized Reporter (J.B. Biunno), Best News Anchor (Devon Walsh) and Best Weather Anchor (Alan Sealls).
The station also took second place in the following categories: Best Series (J.B. Biunno), Best Sports Program (Randy Patrick/Robby Baker), Best Sports Anchor (Randy Patrick) and Best Reporter (Debbie Williams).
Free trip to Paint Rock
Alabama is once again making news in the world of media law — this time it’s the flyspeck town of Paint Rock in the northern part of the state attracting all the attention.
Apparently the Paint Rock City Council and mayor have come up with rules barring reporters of any kind from attending their meetings without first asking permission of the mayor/council and explaining why it’s necessary. There are also a couple of other bizarre rules pertaining to City Council meetings, namely that only citizens of Paint Rock may attend, no one can record anything in the meetings and public records related to the meetings are also not allowed to be shared.
To say any of these “rules” tramples state open meetings laws and open records laws is an understatement, but apparently the local newspaper hasn’t taken the Paint Rock leaders to court. So the director for the Southeast division of the Society of Professional Journalists has decided to have a little fun.
Michael Koretzky has publicly offered to pay travel expenses and lodging to any journalist willing to attend a Paint Rock City Council meeting wearing a T-shirt saying “Unapproved Reporter.” Koretzky will also pay to bail out the offending reporter should the Paint Rock Po-Po become involved, as well as for the lawyer to provide a defense.
Sounds like it should be entertaining. We’ll have to keep an eye on how this plays out.