Barnes recognized for journalism work


Clifton Barnes


From Contributed Reports

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Rocky Mount native Clifton Barnes, who worked for at the Rocky Mount Telegram in the 1980s, has won a national social media award.

A series of UNC Tar Heels game blogs during the NCAA Tournament won an Award of Excellence from the DC area-based Communications Concepts through its 2017 Awards for Publication Excellence competition.

Barnes, a UNC-Chapel Hill journalism and political science grad who now lives in Cary, was one of only four to win Awards of Excellence in the Social Media Best Series category.

The blogs, written for WNCN TV's website in Raleigh, consisted of ongoing game action and commentary throughout the games, along with full game stories afterwards.

A panel of judges, who said that competition was "exceptionally intense," could see the pure volume of work performed in a short period of time, along with insightful running commentary followed by complete game stories with quotes and statistics.

Barnes, who has also blogged the College World Series, said that this was especially challenging because of the speed of the games and the drive to get the information out as close to real time as possible. During the four games blogged, Barnes wrote nearly 10,000 words.

John De Lellis of Communications Concepts says competition was intense as there were 1,400 entries in the various categories. Barnes was the only winner from North Carolina in any of the Social Media categories.

This was the first time Barnes has won an award for WNCN, the Raleigh CBS affiliate, but he has now won a writing award in the APEX national competition eight years in a row, including the four previous years for his website CapitalSportsNC.com. That site features articles from all the top media outlets and sports teams in the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area along with his own original sports commentary.

Barnes served as director of communications for the N.C. Bar Association for 15 years and before that was a newspaper writer and editor.

Today he is a freelance writer, editor and Web developer who owns several websites and currently is helping the University of North Carolina with the launching of its new website.

Also in 2017, Barnes put together a nomination to secure a state historic marker honoring Rocky Mount native Kay Kyser. The proposal passed unanimously and in 2018, a marker will be dedicated across from the site of the comedic bandleader's childhood home in Rocky Mount. Barnes is also credited with the idea for the Town of Cary's Hometown Spirit Award, given each year since 2009 to honor those who promote small town Southern values.

Along with his wife Andrea, he raises their 11-year-old son Will Griffin. Barnes is the son of W.C. and Lorraine Barnes, formerly of Rocky Mount, who now live in Atlantic Beach. Many of his relatives still live in Rocky Mount and Tarboro.