Eight staffers shared five first-place awards in the annual Morris Journalism Awards in competition with other Morris Communications newspapers across the country.
Scott Michaux, Kim Luciani, Michael Holahan and Steve Schretzmann were honored in the digital journalism category for “Bubba’s Way,” a profile of 2012 Masters Tournament champion Bubba Watson that incorporated many aspects of digital journalism – embedded audio, video, graphics and archives – in addition to compelling photography and writing.
“The presentation of it and the digital techniques were very good and make it that much more accessible,” the judges wrote.
The writing for the “Bubba’s Way” project also earned Michaux the top Morris Award in sportswriting for his narrative profile of the Masters champion.
Mike Ryan, The Chronicle’s editorial page editor, won the top Morris award for commentary for a collection of editorials dealing with the Augusta Commission’s performance, downtown crime issues and the merger of Augusta State University into the new Georgia Regents University.
“He doesn’t pull his punches,” the judges wrote. “His writing is tough and strong. It’s refreshing to see.”
Chronicle columnist Bill Kirby and videographers Mark Albertin and Philip Stanley were honored for Kirby’s Augusta, the weekly series of short video stories about little-known or forgotten tales about Augusta’s history.
“The production is first rate. Terrific segments!” the judges said. “Kirby knows his history and tells it in a compelling way.”
Staffers Lisa Kaylor and Sara Caldwell received an honorable mention in videography for their work on telling the stories of 12 women who survived breast cancer.
And Taylor Hanks received a similar honor for North Augusta Today’s work on a softball camp.
The Chronicle staff also took the top Morris social media award for what the judges termed an “absolutely novel and delightful” way to report “tweets” from the Masters, despite the club’s prohibition of cellphones on the grounds during play. Staffers asked patrons to write their tweets on paper then shared them outside the tournament.
In addition to The Chronicle awards, two regional publications were honored for their work.
Jonathan Vickery, of The People-Sentinel in Barnwell, S.C., was recognized for his coverage of the county school board; Laura McKenzie, the newspaper’s publisher, was honored for reporting on the demise of the county’s Economic Development Corporation.
Parish Howard and Carol McLeod, of the Jefferson News and Farmer in Louisville, Ga., received an honorable mention for editorial writing.
“Every newsroom is smaller than it used to be, and we know everyone is doing more on more media, especially digital,” the judges wrote. “But we can tell from this work that there are a lot of good journalists in Morris, in larger and smaller newspapers, out there banging away, doing good journalism, turning over rocks, demanding records and answers. We were happy to find so many distinguished winners.”