By CHARLES OWENS
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
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Daily Telegraph Senior Editor Bill Archer was honored Tuesday as the recipient of the 14th annual Shott Excellence in Media Award.
Archer, a veteran of the Bluefield-based newsroom, is well known across the region for his stories, columns, years of community service and his popular musical performances with singing partner Karl Miller. He attended the Bluefield College Media Appreciation Luncheon thinking that a fellow co-worker was supposed to win the award. Archer was surprised to learn that he was actually this year’s award recipient.
“The Shotts had a major impact in me getting started in journalism, and I really do appreciate that,” Archer said. “All of the colleagues I have worked with through the years have made it possible for me to do the things that I do. I couldn’t be more humbled by the honor. I was really surprised.”
“Bill is a journalist who cares deeply about the communities and the people in this region,” Daily Telegraph Editor Samantha Perry said. “No story is too big or too small. He will cover a small-town festival with the same zeal and enthusiasm as major, breaking news events. Bill is a born storyteller, who is passionate about the written word.”
“Bill’s diverse background makes him the perfect newsperson,” Daily Telegraph Publisher Darryl Hudson added. “Truck driver, singer, book writer, etc., he has done it. This allows Bill to go beyond the facts into the emotional context of the stories he works on. The Daily Telegraph is proud and lucky to have Bill on our news staff.”
Angi Highlander was recognized as the Bluefield College student recipient of the Shott Excellence in Media Award. She was introduced by college spokesman Chris Shokemaker as a standout student, leader, writer and captain of the women’s volleyball team. As the student recipient, she will receive a $1,000 scholarship award. Archer also received a check for $1,000 as the news media award recipient.
The annual media appreciation program is held each year on the campus of Bluefield College for the purpose of recognizing local media representatives for their efforts in “informing and educating the public at-large,” while sharing the Bluefield College story and spreading the word about BC news, events and achievements. The program also aims to honor the Shott media legacy in the region.
“Thank you so much for telling the story of Bluefield College,” Ruth Blankenship, vice president of advancement at BC, told the print, broadcast and radio media representatives who attended Tuesday’s program. They were joined by Bluefield College students who are interested in the media profession.
Stories written by Archer began appearing in the Bluefield Daily Telegraph in 1983 when he supplied articles and photographs to the newspaper as a stringer. In 1986, Archer joined the staff of The Twin-State Marketer, a weekly newspaper in Bluefield, Va., and soon became editor of that publication. In 1992, he joined the staff of the Bluefield Daily Telegraph where he has remained with the exception of two brief excursions — one into television journalism and the other to work for a statewide weekly newspaper.
Both before and during his tenure with the Daily Telegraph, Archer has maintained an active community service schedule in addition to his professional career. He and his musical partner of 22 years, Karl Miller, perform original compositions as well as music with connections to the region through composers or subject matter. Archer also was board chairman of the WE CAN (Working to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect) program for 16 years; has been a past treasurer of the Bluefield Rescue Squad; a former member of the Wade Elementary School Improvement Council; and served on the Bluefield Salvation Army Board and United Way of the Virginias Board. He was a past officer of the Bluefield Community Center board of directors and has volunteered with the Greater Bluefield Chamber of Commerce since 1983, among other work in his community.
Archer also has authored eight pictorial histories of several communities and counties in the region — all in Arcadia Publishing’s Images of America Series. He and his wife, Evonda, reside in Bluefield.
This year’s keynote speaker was Dwayne Yancey, senior editor of The Ronaoke Times. Yancey addressed the changing role of print and broadcast media as it relates to social media and online content.