The Anniston Star has won five honors, all first-place, for work published in 2018 in the Alabama Press Association Media Awards.
The Star picked up awards for its coverage of the 2018 tornado that struck Jacksonville and surrounding areas, for a series on the victims and survivors of a 1992 plane crash, for a human-interest column, a humor column and news photography. The press association announced the awards today.
The Star’s coverage of the March 19, 2018, tornado won top honors in the contest’s category for spot news. The first edition of the newspaper after the storm included seven stories by The Star’s news and sports writers and 18 images of the aftermath shot by its photographers. The Star also published stories at annistonstar.com the day of the storm with forecast updates, and used its social media accounts to keep readers informed.
Commentary Editor Phillip Tutor’s series on the June 8, 1992, crash of GP Express Flight 861 in Anniston was published over three weeks in May 2018; it took first place in the Best Feature Story category. Tutor spoke with survivors of the crash, and with family members of those who died. He also interviewed first responders who climbed Stanley Hill in a remote area of Fort McClellan to reach the crash site, and delved into the National Transportation Safety Board’s report on the accident.
Tutor also won first place in the category Best Human Interest Column for a piece on the first victim to die in Anniston in the influenza pandemic of 1918. A century after the outbreak, Tutor spoke with surviving relatives of Margaret Taylor, a 12-year-old Birmingham girl who came down with the disease and died on visit to Anniston in October 1918.
Star Features Editor Lisa Davis won in the category Best Humorous column for a piece on curse words, after The New York Times accurately quoted something the president had said. Many publishers and other media outlets still draw a line at such language, Davis noted.
“Yeah, you think just because you spelled it with a dollar sign instead of an ‘S’ I can’t figure out what you just called me?” she wrote.
Photographer Stephen Gross won the Best News Photo category for an image he shot of a maintenance supervisor in the clock tower at the Calhoun County Courthouse, to accompany a story on daylight saving time. In the photo, even though the supervisor, Tim McCurry, is silhouetted against the brightly lit clock face, his fingers are visible as they work machinery to set the clock.
The contest is sponsored annually by the Alabama Press Association, an industry group for the state’s newspapers. Judges this year were members of the Illinois Press Association.
The Star competes in a division with the state’s largest news organizations. The Montgomery Advertiser and Alabama Media Group, which publishes al.com, also had five first-place awards each. The Advertiser was the most-honored outlet, with 15 total awards including second- and third-place honors.
The awards will be presented next month at the press association’s convention in Orange Beach, when winners in 15 additional categories will be announced.