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Telegram staff wins awards in editorial, advertising

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From Staff Reports

Friday, February 23, 2018

RALEIGH — The Rocky Mount Telegram editorial staff received eight awards Thursday in the N.C. Press Association’s 2017 News, Editorial & Photojournalism contest, including one of the state's highest honors, the O. Henry Award, which recognizes outstanding writing in Associated Press newspapers in North Carolina.

The Telegram advertising staff received two awards in the Best Advertising Contest. The Tarboro Weekly, a sister publication to the Telegram, won seven awards in editorial competition.

"These awards reflect the hard work of some very talented newspaper people," Telegram Publisher Kyle Stephens said. "I'm proud of the effort that has consistently made the Telegram a strong voice in the Rocky Mount community for many years."

The O. Henry Award recognized a series of stories by Telegram staff writers Amelia Harper, Lindell John Kay and Corey Davis that focused on discrepancies in the way the Rocky Mount Police Department has reported crime in the community. The headline for the series was "Crime statistics don't tell whole story."

In addition to the O. Henry Award, the Telegram staff won honors in news enterprise, business writing, photography, sports, special sections and niche publications.

"We're proud of the long hours and extraordinary effort that went into the crime statistics project," Telegram Editor Jeff Herrin said. "But it's great to see our work honored in other areas of journalism. Our staff has an enthusiasm for covering all facets of the Rocky Mount community."

Sarah Louya won two awards for her work in 2017 — first place in sports photography for a picture she shot during an N.C. Wesleyan College baseball game and second place in general news for the photo she took of a young student during a “slimy science” event. She also won three awards for The Tarboro Weekly.

Louya, 21, joined the Telegram in October 2016 after earning an associate's degree in photography at Randolph Community College. She is a native of Winston-Salem.

Corey Davis, 38, won first place in business writing for a feature he wrote about new businesses set to open in Rocky Mount.

Davis joined the Telegram staff in 2014. He is a native of Rocky Mount who earned his bachelor's degree in mass communications at N.C. Central University and an associate's degree in arts at Edgecombe Community College.

Davis lives in Rocky Mount with his wife, Patricia, and three children, Tre, Emani and Donovan.

Amelia Harper won second place in news enterprise reporting for a series of stories on the opioid problem titled "Combating a Killer: Area confronts growing epidemic." She also came in third place for the Walter Spearman AP award, which recognizes outstanding writing among journalists with less than two years of experience at daily newspapers.

Harper, 57, has won numerous awards for news coverage and investigative reporting from the N.C. Press Association. She and her husband, Pastor William Harper, have five children. The family lives in Nash County.

Patrick Mason won third place for an array of sports columns on different topics.

Mason, 27, joined the Telegram staff in 2016. He is a native of Hoffman Estates, Ill., who graduated from the University of Iowa.

In previous competition, Mason has won three Associated Press sports editor awards and a first place for project reporting from the Illinois AP.

Alan Campbell won third place in sports feature photography for a picture he shot titled "Out at Third." Campbell also won three awards in photography for The Tarboro Weekly.

Campbell, 46, has won numerous awards in photography from the N.C. Press Association, the National Press Photographers Association, the Hoosier State Press Association and Best of Cox honors when the Telegram was owned by Cox Newspapers.

In addition to being recognized for his work on the crime statistics story, Lindell John Kay won an award for his reporting for The Tarboro Weekly.

Kay, 44, has been covering crime and politics for Eastern North Carolina newspapers for more than a decade, receiving more than a dozen press awards including three for investigative reporting.

He is a native of Selma, Ala., who has studied and earned degrees from a number of schools, including the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, Coastal Carolina Community College, Louisiana State University in Shreveport and Southern New Hampshire University.

Kay and his wife, Michelle, have five children.

Ethan Joyce, a former sports writer for the Telegram, won second place in sports feature writing. Joyce has since gone to work for the Winston-Salem Journal.

Two members of the Telegram advertising staff — Bryan Wilson and Lewis Smith — shared second place honors for Carolina Brew Scene magazine in the best special section category. Becky Wetherington also shared in the award for layout and design work.

Wilson, 37, joined the Telegram staff in 2014. He grew up in Zebulon and earned a bachelor's degree in communications at UNC-Wilmington. Wilson lives with his wife and two daughters in Red Oak.

Smith, 43, joined the Telegram staff in 2015. A native of Whiteville, he earned a bachelor's degree in English studies from Chowan University.

The Telegram staff as a whole won third place in niche publications for Football Insider, a magazine previewing the 2017 high school football season.

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