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Journal wins APA awards

The Luverne Journal, and its sister publication The Greenville Advocate, were notified that both papers have received awards from the Alabama Press Association in its Better Newspaper Contest. The notification came via mail this week.

The two publications, flagship papers for their respective counties and owned by Greenville Newspapers LLC, are just two of many in the Boone Newspapers Inc. family of newspapers in Alabama that did well in the annual awards.

The announcement came from David Moore, chairman of the APA Better Newspaper Contest Committee.

Seventy-six newspapers submitted 2,913 entries in the annual contest, which judged this year by the Florida Press Association.

The awards will be presented July 24 at APA'S 133rd Annual Summer Convention to be held at Perdido Beach Resort in Orange Beach.

One of the most revered of the awards presented in 29 categories is the Freedom of Information (FOI) First Amendment Award. The award is presented to publications that demonstrate the freedom instilled in each citizen through the People's Right to Know.

The Luverne Journal received First Place in Division D, which is the largest of the four divisions of newspapers in the state, and includes weekly and twice weekly papers with small circulation.

The Journal also received Third Place for Best Spot News Story for an article entitled, "Five officers injured in shooting," by George Wacha.

Also received by The Journal were First and Second Place awards for Best In-depth news coverage or series, for articles entitled, "Cutting back the fat" and "Where's it at?"

The Greenville Advocate, which competed this year in Division C, for larger weekly and twice-weekly publications, took First Place for the category of Best Use of Graphics or Illustrations, in an article entitled, "Love is in the air, and on windshields."

Greenville Newspapers Group Managing Editor Jay Thomas received Third Place for Best Editorial with his article entitled, "Chief Justice fight shouldn't cost taxpayers."

The Advocate also received Third Place for Best Local Economic Coverage, Best In-depth News Coverage or Series for a piece entitled, "Time to pay the piper," Third Place for Best Sports News In-depth story or series for an article entitled, "Broken palaces," by Sports Editor Adam Prestridge, Second Place in the category of Best Sports Single Event Story for "Basic Training," by Adam Prestridge, and Third Place for Best Special Section for "The South's best kept secret," a tri-county publication highlighting attractions in Butler, Crenshaw and Lowndes counties.

"It is a great feeling to be recognized by one's peers for your efforts," said Journal Managing Editor George Wacha. "This is my second time receiving the First Amendment Award, and it just makes me feel proud that we live in a country where freedom includes having the right to be informed. I think that the Better Newspaper Contest gives us as journalists, an opportunity to improve our craft, and produce better publications for our readers, which is our main goal."

In total, 11 Alabama newspapers including The Luverne Journal, The Greenville Advocate and The Andalusia Star-News, all owned by Boone Newspapers, swept the awards from the APA.