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The Journal earns 9 awards
from Ga. Press Association
Local newspaper is State Runner-Up for
General Excellence and receives 8 reporting awards

From the July 8, 2020 issue of
The Journal

   The Journal was pleased to learn last week that the newspaper was a big winner in the 2020 Georgia Press Association Better Newspaper Awards. The local weekly newspaper's nine awards came in the association's largest category – 3,000 & Under Circulation. The 2020 awards are based on reporting during the previous year.
   In addition to eight awards for various types of reporting, The Journal was the state runner-up for the General Excellence (Best Overall) Award, finishing behind only The Champion in Decatur. The Blackshear Times placed third.
   The eight categories of reporting awards earned by The Journal are below.
   * 1st Place – Breaking News Writing (Richard Harris). Stories that influenced the judges included: Man is 'Lucky to Be Alive' after Kidnapping (4-10-19); Lumpkin man arrested for Cusseta armed robbery (4-17-19); and Gruesome Discovery of Dead Body in Trunk (8-28-19).
   * 1st Place – Education Writing (Richard Harris). Stories that factored into this award included: Marion residents invited to 'A Night at the Movies' – Community 'Efilm' to feature locally produced movies (3-6-19); Chattahoochee Co. Hires New School Superintendent (3-27-19); and Cusseta celebrates Chattahoochee Valley Academy - $3.1 million grant helps form new College & Career Academy (7-24-19). This was the second year in a row that The Journal received first place in this category.
   * 1st Place – Sports Coverage (Staff). There was a lot of exciting local sports news to cover, including the Marion Co. High Girls Basketball Team winning the State Championship, State Runner-Up finishes by the Schley Co. High Baseball Team and the Marion Co. High Football Team, the Schley Co. High Boys Cross Country Team winning the Area Championship and placing Third at the State Championship Race, the Marion Co. High Softball team advancing to the

State's Elite Eight, and the Schley Co. High Softball Team making it to the Sweet 16. Therefore, the newspaper shares this award with the hard-working coaches and players in our coverage area. Thanks for giving us a lot of great news to share. Also, while The Journal was a bit disappointed to not receive any photography awards this year, photos from Ben Dodds and Malinda Bair that accompanied our sports reporting surely played a role in the newspaper receiving this honor, so we also thank them for their contributions.
   * 1st Place – Sports Writing (Richard Harris). This category was for writing specific sports stories, rather than the general "Coverage" award above. Stories that influenced the judges included: Marion downs Schley 14-0 in electrifying season opening battle of Top 10 Teams (8-28-19); Resilient Eagles Soar to State Runner-Up – In spite of being unranked, Marion Co. High 'Just Keeps Playing' and makes it to State Title Game (12-18-19); and STATE CHAMPIONS – Marion Co. High wins 1st Girls Basketball Title (3-13-19).
   * 1st Place – Religion Reporting (Staff). This award was based on the sharing of various news items from local churches, as well as faith columns by regular contributors Rev. Harold Grimsley, Pastor of First Baptist Church of Buena Vista, and Ewell Pritchett of Buena Vista Church of Christ.
   * 2nd Place – Investigative Reporting (Richard Harris). Stories that influenced the judges included: Local governments take 'flpa'ing' hit with taxes – Marion, Chatt., Stewart, Webster all lose revenue under tax change (9-18-19); Marion breeder lands on Humane Society 'Horrible Hundred' List – Owner says it's a misleading hit piece (10-16-19); and Band of Criminals Hit Area Stores (1-30-19). Inclusion of the last story in the list was due to The Journal editing and "zooming in" on portions of surveillance footage and sharing the videos online in an effort to help the public recognize the criminals.
   * 3rd Place – Business Writing (Richard Harris). The judges commented on the following stories: Preston's Bryant wins Walt Orenstein Award – Small-town pharmacist is shaking up the status-quo in rural healthcare (9-25-19); Regional Performance Academy Established in BV (5-8-19); and 'Brewmaster from Buena Vista' is loving life at Omaha Brewing (1-30-19).
   * 3rd Place – Enterprise Stories (Richard Harris). Stories that contributed to this honor included: Battle is First Runner-Up in Fashionetta (11-13-19); Local History is Local No More – Historic Westville to open in Columbus after $7 million spent to relocate buildings (6-12-19); and Westville's Wells House is big part of Marion County History – Home got its start as small Native American log house before being purchased by Wells Family, which later donated it to showcase history (9-4-19).
   "It's no secret that surviving in the newspaper business has become more difficult over the last couple of decades, so I want to thank our subscribers and advertisers from the bottom of my heart for supporting The Journal over the last 25 years," said Richard Harris, Publisher/Editor. "Without you, this newspaper would not exist. We depend on the support of our community, just as every other local business does. Please remember to 'Think Local, Support Local, and Buy Local' as much as you can."