APA honors Advocate as the state#039;s best weekly newspaper

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Greenville Advocate, now in its 141st year of operation, was officially named Alabama's best small town newspaper for 2007 at the annual summer convention of the Alabama Press Association at Orange Beach Saturday.

The Advocate claimed eight first place awards, five second place honors and two third place plaques in earning the prestigious recognition.

&#8220To be recognized for excellence by others in your own industry is both exciting and flattering,” publisher Ed Darling said of the awards. &#8220It reflects the dedication, hard work and skills of a talented staff and demonstrates the support of communities served by the newspaper.

&#8220While it is a newspaper award, it is also positive recognition for Greenville and all of Butler County.”

The Louisiana Press Association conducted judging for the Better Newspaper Contest.

Advertising manager Tracy Salter accepted the general excellence award for the newspaper. The Citronelle Call News and The Brewton Standard finished second and third respectively in the competition that drew more than 2,400 entries in four circulation divisions.

&#8220One of the most impressive points is that The Advocate earned top honors in virtually all of the truly significant categories en route to the general excellence distinction,” Darling said. &#8220That shows just how strong and how involved the paper has been in community activities and how involved the communities have been in the newspaper.”

In addition to the general excellence distinction, first place honors were earned for best sports page, best layout and design, best local news coverage, best use of photos-editorial content and best economic news coverage.

Former publisher Dennis Palmer, now with The Selma Times-Journal, won individual first place awards for best sports photo and best use of graphics or illustrations.

The Advocate earned a second place plaque for best public service and best lifestyle or family pages and a third place honor for editorial pages while Palmer had second place individual awards for best news feature and best use of graphics or illustrations. Former managing editor Kevin Pearcey placed second in best spot news photo and third for best headline.

In earlier advertising competition, The Advocate won three other awards, earning second place honors for niche publications and best classified display ad and third place for best single ad, half-page and over with color.

Regina Grayson, editor of The Luverne Journal, a sister paper of The Advocate, won first place for best news photo and third place in best human interest columns. She and Palmer shared the top award for best editorial commentary for The Lowndes Signal in Fort Deposit.

Darling, previously publisher of The Cullman Times, won first place awards for best human interest column, best editorial commentary and best public service in the small daily division.

The Huntsville Times was named the state's best large daily newspaper while the Opelika-Auburn Daily News was named the best small daily. The Shelby County Reporter and The Monroe Journal shared the top honor for large weekly newspapers.