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Daily takes Va. press sweepstakes

Daily Staff Report

NORFOLK -- Northern Virginia Daily news staff members received 43 awards for excellence in writing, photography and newspaper design Saturday during the Virginia Press Association's annual editorial conference.

The association, which met at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott, also presented its prestigious Sweepstakes award to the Daily, honoring the Strasburg-based newspaper for accumulating the most points in the 2008 editorial awards competition. The Daily competes with Virginia newspapers with daily circulation of up to 20,000.

The Culpeper Star-Exponent finished second in the Sweepstakes competition for the Daily's circulation category.

The Daily, which accumulated 91 points in the association's editorial contest, has won the Sweepstakes competition nine years in a row and in 18 of the last 21 years.

Sweepstakes awards also were presented to the Lynchburg News & Advance in the association's category for medium-size daily newspapers, and to the Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk in the category for the state's largest newspapers.

The association, which represents almost every newspaper in Virginia, holds one of the largest editorial contests in the nation. Overall, 107 VPA member publications submitted 3,153 entries for the 2008 contest, which was judged by members of the Indiana Press Association.

The Daily received the most individual awards in its circulation class, including 17 first-place awards, 14 second-place awards and 12 third-place awards.

Meanwhile, the Daily's chief photographer, Rich Cooley, received a first-place award for spot news photo Friday in the Virginia News Photographers Association's Pictures of the Year competition. In addition to the first-place citation for his photo of Strasburg junior firefighter Damion Scott running across a parking to help set up operations during a January 2008 blaze at Multistone Inc., Cooley received three honorable mentions in the statewide competition.

The Daily received writing awards for:

* Personal service writing: First place ("Pooper scoopers") for Natalie Austin; second place ("Digging for roots") for Carolyn Keister Baker; and third place ("Before and after") for Jessica Wiant.

* Health, science and environmental writing: First place for Austin and second place for Wiant.

* Editorial writing: First place for Chris Fordney.

* Feature writing portfolio: First place for Preston Knight.

* Feature series or continuing story: Second place ("When duty called") for Wiant, Austin, Baker, Sally Voth, Garren Shipley and Josette Keelor.

* General news writing: Second place ("Waiting for justice") for Shipley and James Heffernan.

* Column writing: Second place for Fordney.

* Public safety writing: Third place for Alex Bridges.

* Business and financial writing: Third place for Heffernan.

* In-depth or investigative writing: Third place ("Fire department financial probe") for Voth, Knight and Elizabeth Wilkerson.

The Daily received design awards for:

* Combination picture and story: First place ("Called home") for Austin, Keelor and Rich Cooley; and third place ("Doggone life") for Keelor and Dennis Grundman.

* Headline writing: First place for Austin; second place for Wiant; and third place for Heffernan.

* Illustrations: First place ("On the payroll -- special interest money") for Anthony Ring; and third place ("Valley 101") for Wiant.

* Business, financial or agricultural pages: First place for Heffernan.

* Specialty pages or sections: First place ("Valley Scene -- family") for Wiant.

* Page design: Second place for Chuck McGill.

* Lifestyle or entertainment pages: Second place for Austin and Wiant.

* Special sections or special editions: Third place ("Friday Night Lights") for the Daily sports staff.

* Front page: Third place for the Daily staff.

The Daily received photography awards for:

* Sports feature photo: First place ("Time to celebrate") and second place ("Overwhelmed"), both for Grundman.

* Sports news photo: First place ("Head first") and third place ("Snagged"), both for Grundman.

* Breaking news photo: First place ("Downtown inferno") for Cooley.

* Pictorial photo: First place ("Say cheese") for Cooley.

* Picture story or essay: First place ("Festive foliage") for Cooley.

* Personality or portrait photo: Second place ("Independence Day") and third place ("Dealing with Crohn's disease"), both for Cooley.

* Feature photo: Second place ("Amazing Grace") for Grundman; and third place ("Curious cat") for Cooley.

The Daily received multimedia projects awards for:

* Online slideshow: First place ("Dock dogs") and second place ("The Paul Bunyan Lumberjack Show"), both for Cooley.

* Multimedia news reporting: First place ("Ed Bell on death row") and second place ("Multistone International Fire"), both for the Daily staff.

* Multimedia feature reporting: First place ("When Duty Called") and second place ("George Washington"), both for the Daily staff.

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