Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

August 12, 2012

BDT, staff excel in WVPA Better Newspaper Contest

ROANOKE, W.Va. — The Bluefield Daily Telegraph Cold Case series was recognized by the West Virginia Press Association Saturday night as best newspaper community service project for 2011. The first-place award was presented at the WVPA Better Newspaper Contest Banquet at Stonewall Resort.

“I am thrilled this series received such a high honor,” Daily Telegraph Editor Samantha Perry said. “This was a substantial project that involved the entire staff.”

Several Telegraph staff members were also honored with awards during the event. News Editor Andy Patton won a second-place award for Best Front Page. The page, published on April 6, included photographs and a story marking the one-year anniversary of the Upper Big Branch mine disaster. Patton also won a third-place award for Best Headline News, which recognizes headline writing.

The Telegraph sports team, Editor Brian Woodson, writer Tom Bone and former sports reporter Jonathan Greene, along with Patton, received a third-place award for Best Sports Page or Pages. The winning Aug. 27 sports edition featured complete coverage of the opening night of high school football.

In the In-depth or Investigative Reporting category, reporter Kate Coil won a third-place award for her two-part series, “Social inSecurity.” The series focused on the challenges many senior citizens face trying to make ends meet on a fixed income.

The Daily Telegraph competes in the press association’s Division I category, which includes the largest newspapers in the state.

“Going up against all the large newspapers in the state, it was very rewarding having the Daily Telegraph recognized as the best in service to the community, which is what newspapers are all about,” Telegraph Publisher Darryl Hudson said.

The Cold Case project was a 19-week series that spotlighted unsolved murders across the two Virginias.

The series began on Sunday, May 8, 2011, and ran each week through Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011. During that time, the Telegraph published 19 stories on 24 victims.

Cases ranged from a grisly double murder of two young adults in 1978 to a 1990 shooting death on a coal-mine picket line. One case involved three people who died in a house fire, and three others were double murders.

“This series would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of the entire Daily Telegraph news team,” Perry said. “Local law enforcement officials were also extremely helpful and cooperative, which allowed us to bring this project to fruition.”

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