Most of the Alabama Press Association’s “Better Newspaper Contest” winners for 2015 have been announced, with the Press-Register taking a total of nine awards. However, many of the biggest categories won’t be announced until later this summer at the APA convention June 20.

According to the APA website, there were nearly 2,900 entries from 70 papers in more than 40 categories for the editorial part of the contest. The contest now includes several electronic categories.

Categories for the contest are: Division A – Daily newspapers with paid circulation above 22,000 (the Press-Register, Huntsville Times and Birmingham News, all which publish only three times a week, are included in this category); Division B – Daily newspapers with under 22,000 paid circulation; Division C – non-daily newspapers with a paid circulation above 4,000; Division D – non-daily newspapers with a paid circulation below 4,000; and Division E – Associate Member newspapers and active member affiliate free publications.

Newspapers from this area fared poorly this year, with only the Press-Register and Baldwin Times picking up awards in the categories announced so far.

The P-R took second place for Best In-Depth News Coverage for former environmental editor Ben Raines’ piece entitled “America’s Amazon,” about the Tensaw Delta.

Former editorial page editor Frances Coleman was awarded third place for Best Human Interest Column for “Noble Beasley made Mobile look at itself.”

The P-R took third place in the Best Photo Essay category for its work in “Hiawayi Robinson laid to rest” by Mike Kittrell and Sharon Steinmann. In the Best Use of Graphics or Illustrations category, the paper took second place for “Battle of the Burger” by its staff.

The P-R took first place in Creative Use of Multimedia for work on “America’s Amazon.” The work there also was credited simply to the paper’s staff.

In the Online Breaking News Coverage category, the P-R picked up both a first- and second-place award. “Hiawayi Robinson’s father arrested in her slaying” was judged first place, and “Hangout Festival, Day 1” took second. Both were credited to the staff.

“Flashback to school in 1986,” a photo gallery by Angela Levins, took first place for the P-R in Best Use of Social Media, and the paper’s staff received a third-place award in that same category for “Homeless father and son,” which ran on the P-R’s Facebook page.

In Division D, the Baldwin Times took first place for Best Feature Story Coverage for “From Flora-Bama to finding God” by Cliff McCollum. The paper also won a third place in the Best Niche Publication category for “Big Beautiful Baldwin” by Jill Clair Gentry, Cliff McCollum and Sudie Gambrell.

Categories such as General Excellence, Public Service and the FOI – First Amendment Award will be announced at the association’s convention. The contest was judged by the Tennessee Press Association.

Lagniappe is not a member of the Alabama Press Association and therefore does not compete in its contests.

Nappies votes rolling in
Voting for Lagniappe’s “Nappie Awards” is well underway, and so far we’ve received more than 62,000 votes.

This is a huge number of votes for the Nappies so far. This year’s voting is a departure from what we’ve done over the past dozen years, and it’s clearly having an effect on the level of interest. In the past, there was only one voting phase, but with the help of some pretty cool new software, this year’s Nappie Awards will feature a “nomination phase” and a “run-off phase.” The nomination phase will end with this issue.

Run-off voting will begin June 18 and last through July 13. Paper ballots will be accepted through July 10. In the run-off phase, voters can choose between the top five or six vote getters in each category. The winners will be announced in the July 23 Lagniappe and will receive their due recognition at the Nappie Awards Ceremony July 24 at the Saenger Theatre.

So keep the votes coming, folks. There are more than 200 categories and the competition is going to be stiff.