At an awards ceremony held in Chapel Hill on March 21, the North Carolina Press Association announced the winners of its 2012 News, Editorial & Photojournalism Contest — and Mountain Xpress was one of them. This year, the Xpress news team took home three awards in the following categories: Investigative Reporting, News Feature Writing and Best Multimedia Project. (See below for descriptions of the award-winning stories.)
"I am very proud of the news staff, who do a lot with few resources, and who are very dedicated to what they do, very dedicated to their work," says Xpress News Editor Margaret Williams.
The North Carolina Press Association gives these awards out each year, and papers enter in one of two contests: Daily Newspaper Edition or Community Newspaper Edition. This separation is done so that newspapers compete against comparable publications with similar circulation numbers and publication type.
But Xpress earned kudos for more than its words. Taking home six awards, Xpress designers earned top recognition from the NCPA's 2012 Best Ad Contest.
And the award goes to…
First place awards
Best Motor Vehicle Ad
“Woody loves his VW.” (Harmony Motors)
Best Color Apparel – Jewelry and Accessories Ad
Best Community Service Signature
Page or Best Shared Page
Second place awards
2nd place, Investigative Reporting
In "Unprecedented: Sitel Workers Mount Historic Union Organizing Drive", senior news reporter David Forbes conducted a months-long investigation about the union-organizing drive at the Asheville Sitel call center. He talked to numerous employees, current and former, about their working conditions. Following the article's publication, Sitel changed its labor policy.
2nd place, News Feature Writing
In "Truth trackers: APD's Cold-Case Sleuths Defy the Odds", staff reporter Caitlin Byrd explored the unique challenges faced by the Asheville Police Department's cold-case unit — which consists of two detectives who, at press time, had 24 local unsolved cases on their desks. Weaving together facts, case narratives and interviews with the detectives, Byrd shares what keeps these sleuths going, despite the fact that less than 1 percent of cold cases ever get solved.
Best Color Restaurant/Entertainment Ad
Best Innovative Concept/Wild Card Ad
Best of WNC 2011
Best Online Advertising
Third place awards
3rd place, Best Multimedia Project
In "Storify: Statehouse Candidates Face Off at the CIBO Luncheon," Xpress staffers Caitlin Byrd, Max Cooper, David Forbes and Jake Frankel reported a luncheon debate with multimedia rather than a straightforward article. Through tweets, text, video and photos, the team covered what happened when Buncombe County candidates running for seats in N.C. House districts 115 and 116 faced off at a Sept. 27 forum organized by the Council of Independent Business Owners.