Second to (almost) none: Mountain Xpress garners slew of new awards

The Mountain Xpress is one of 125 member newspapers of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, which administers a national journalism contest that issues highly coveted awards each year.

The results of this year’s contest were announced this weekend, and Xpress garnered two very different, but equally gratifying, awards.

A regular Xpress columnist, Webster postmaster Mark Jamison, won a second place award for Best Columnist, edging out all but one writer from a crowded field of entries. (Tom Danehy of Tuscon Weekly won first place in this category.) While many columnists use bombast to go for the jugular, Jamison takes a more subtle and poignant approach that taps into feelings just as deep. Read his commentaries — including his most recent one, “Moments of Perfection: Finding Value in Loss” — in our online Commentary archive.

And the entire Xpress staff won a second place award of its own, in the Best Ad category. Our submission that brought home the silver was a series of “house ads” — advertisements produced by Xpress and about Xpress — that ran last summer and fall, introducing readers to the faces and personalities behind our paper’s writers and editors. The series was truly a company-wide endeavor, with several departments contributing their ideas and expertise to make the ads tell big stories in small spaces.

(The full list of AAN award winners is available here; to see a list and career details of the contest’s judges, click here.)

The AAN awards came on the heels of wins closer to home. In this year’s Best Ad Contest run by the North Carolina Press Association, the results of which were announced June 8, Xpress also won two awards.

Winning first place for Best Full Color Restaurant/Entertainment Ad were ad rep John Varner and former Xpress production designer Travis Medford, who now works for Lark Books. Together they coordinated the ad (for local restaurant C.F. Chan’s) that won the gold, and Xpress staff photographer Jonathan Welch snapped the shot that made it come alive.

And winning a third place award in the Best Full Color Food Ad category were ad rep Scott Sessoms and production designer Andrew Findley, for an ad they prepared for Spicewood Farm. Click here to see other rankings from the NCPA Best Ad Contest.

— Jon Elliston, news editor

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About Jon Elliston
An Asheville-based mountain journalist: Former Mountain Xpress managing editor. Investigations and open government editor at Carolina Public Press. Senior contributing editor at WNC magazine.

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