The Advocate awarded for General Excellence

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Greenville Advocate has been named winner of the prestigious general excellence award in competition among other small community newspapers in the annual Better Newspaper Contest sponsored by the Alabama Press Association (APA).

&#8220It's a wonderful, well-deserved honor,” Ed Darling president and publisher of Greenville Newspapers LLC, said. &#8220It reflects the commitment of a quality staff to the communities served by The Advocate, it shows the support of a strong community and it recognizes the paper's respect by others in the industry.”

The Advocate won eight first place awards in earning the state's top honor, adding five second place finishes and two third place plaques. No other newspaper in the division that included 25 newspapers won as many.

&#8220It's a great, great feeling,” said managing editor Kevin Pearcey about winning general excellence. &#8220To be recognized by your peers and to know all of our hard work can lead to such an honor is extremely rewarding.”

Seventy-one newspapers submitted 2,779 entries in four divisions of the contest that was judged by the Louisiana Press Association. Other general excellence winners were The Huntsville Times, the Opelika-Auburn Daily News, the Shelby County Reporter and The Monroe Journal.

The Advocate won first place recognition for best sports page, best layout and design, best local economic coverage, best local news coverage and best use of photographs-editorial content.

Dennis Palmer, now publisher of The Selma Times-Journal, won individual first place honors for best sports photo and best use of graphics.

The Advocate claimed second place awards for best public service and best lifestyle-family pages while Palmer had individual second places for best news feature photo and best use of graphics and Pearcey claimed second place for best spot news photo.

Pearcey also had a third place for best headline and The Advocate's editorial page was named third best in the state.

&#8220As impressive as the general excellence award is,” Darling said, &#8220it is equally so to see The Advocate named best in so many other categories as well. That speaks highly of the talent and skills of the news team led by Dennis and Kevin and supported by Angie Long and Austin Phillips.

&#8220The general excellence honor addresses the total product and brings into play the important role of others like advertising manager Tracy Salter, ad consultants Susan Braden and Ashley Thigpen, former ad consultant Niki Bennett, office manager Cheryl Gates, graphic artist Lane Duncan, intern Amie Wesley and circulation-distribution assistant Tammie Morgan.”

Earlier, The Advocate won three awards in the advertising division of a similar contest, taking second places for best niche publication and best classified display ad and third place for best single ad over a half-page in color.

Regina Grayson, whose column often appears in The Advocate, won first place for best news photo and third place for best human interest column as managing editor of The Luverne Journal and shared a first place (with Palmer) for best editorial column or commentary as managing editor of The Lowndes Signal.

Competing in a different division as publisher of The Cullman Times, Darling won first place honors for public service, best human interest column and best editorial column or commentary.

All awards will be presented July 21 when the APA hosts its 136th summer convention in Orange Beach.

The Advocate awards:

First Place

… General excellence.

… Best sports page.

… Best layout and design.

… Best local economic coverage.

… Best local news coverage.

… Best use of photographs - editorial content.

… Best sports photo, &#8220Squadron upsets Tigers in spring game” by Dennis Palmer.

… Best use of graphics or illustrations, &#8220A World Gone Digital” by Dennis Palmer.

Second Place

… Best public service.

… Best new feature story, &#8220Justice Served” by Dennis Palmer.

… Best spot news photo, &#8220Deadly Saturday” by Kevin Pearcey.

… Best lifestyle-family pages.

… Best use of graphics or illustrations, &#8220Ever wanted to know how to” by Dennis Palmer.

Third Place

… Best editorial page.

… Best headline, &#8220Police ‘ketchup' with ‘meatball'” by Kevin Pearcey.