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Record staff earns journalism awards, ‘General Excellence’ honors

The South Whidbey Record won 22 awards — including “General Excellence” honors — in this year’s Better Newspaper Contest, an annual competition sponsored by the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association.

The honors spanned the spectrum from news and feature writing, sports and arts coverage, photography, advertising and page design. They were presented at an awards dinner Oct. 7 during the 124th annual WNPA convention, held at the Holiday Inn Downtown Everett.

“I am thrilled that the South Whidbey Record was recognized so generously at last week’s WNPA conference; 22 awards in all with a third-place recognition for General Excellence,” said Record Publisher Marcia Van Dyke.

“We have a hard-working team that strives to deliver the best, most interesting and thoughtful content under Brian Kelly’s leadership and it’s great to be rewarded and noticed by our peers,” she said. “In addition, the sales team led by Terri Tinker produced some of the most effective and creative ads for our customers and deserves  big kudos for the accomplishments of her team and that of our creative team, Michelle Wolfensparger and Rebecca Collins.”

The Record competed against other newspapers of the same size, as well as newspapers in other circulation categories. The contest drew 2,523 entries from 78 newspapers across the state; entries were judged by members of the Texas Press Association.

The Record newsroom brought home nine individual awards; four first-place, four second-place and three third-place honors.

Ben Watanabe won second place for best sports news story for “Big plays help Falcons tame Tigers,” an article about the South Whidbey football team beating Granite Falls.

Watanabe’s story, “Father and son duo take determination to state,” about South Whidbey wrestling coach Jim Thompson and his son Evan and their quest to compete in the state wrestling tournament, won third place for best sports personality profile.

Watanabe won second place in the best sports photo, black-and-white (action or feature) category.

Patricia Duff won second place for best arts story, for “Hooray for Hollywood!: KerbyFest shows films of Langley resident.” The story focused on Langley resident Bill Kerby, a retired screenwriter who penned, among other films, “The Rose,” the movie that won Bette Midler a Golden Globe and an Oscar nomination.

Roy Jacobson won first place for best short general feature story, for his story about Phyllis Cain and Bill Iles of Freeland, a couple in their 90s who joined hands in marriage.

Jacobson almost swept the best short news story competition, claiming both third and second place.

His second-place story, “Close call in the woods,” was about an old box of dynamite found at a property on Lone Lake Road. The story, “Deeply committed: Langley man plans vigil for Gulf victims,” featured the efforts of Corey Graces and the Hands Across the Sands event he organized on the beach at Seawall Park in Langley.

Kelly won a first-place award for best government reporting for his story about the first-ever whistleblower complaint at Langley City Hall.

Kelly also claimed first places in color portrait and color pictorial photography.

He also won third place for best front page design.

Kelly took home a third-place award for investigative reporting in a competition open to newspapers of all circulation sizes for his coverage of the controversy over the salary for Langley’s mayor.

The Record picked up eight awards in advertising, with three first places, three seconds and two thirds.

Rebecca Collins and Terri Tinker earned the first-place and second-place awards for use of process color in a full-page ad.

Collins and Robyn Bainbridge won a first place for use of process color, half-page or larger advertisement.

Bainbridge and Ginny Tomasko took first place in use of process color, smaller than half-page.

Allison Tapert and Collins won second place for use of one spot color.

Collins and Bainbridge won third place (use of process color, half-page or larger). They also shared a third-place award for community service advertising.

Tomasko and Bainbridge also took second place for best online ad. They also earned third place for most effective use of small space (black-and-white).

Wolfensparger won third place for best special section cover for the 2001 edition of the Whidbey Islander.

The competition was based on work published from April 1, 2010 to March 31, 2011.

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