The Albany Herald wins four Georgia Press Association awards


Mary Braswell took first place in the inaugural year of the lifestyle column category.


Carlton Fletcher


Terry Lewis

The Albany Herald has won four awards in the Georgia Press Association Better Newspaper Contest, with staff writer Mary Braswell taking first place in the inaugural year of the lifestyle column category.

The Herald also won 2nd place for its editorial page and two writers won individual awards. Managing Editor Carlton Fletcher won 3rd place in religion writing, and education writer Terry Lewis won 3rd place for feature writing.

The Herald competes in Division B, which includes Georgia newspapers with circulations between 8,000 and 24,999. The winners were announced Friday night at the GPA’s 130th annual convention at the Jekyll Island Club.

Braswell won for her weekly Looking Back column, which appears Sundays in The Herald’s SouthView section. Braswell’s column, which has been a regular feature in the newspaper since March 2002, looks at events in history. While she usually focuses on local events, she also includes state, national and world topics. Much of the information is gleaned from old bound copies of The Herald and from microfilmed copies that date to the late 1800s.

The winner of the GPA’s 2016 Freedom of Information Award was the Valdosta Daily Times for doing the most during 2015 to uphold the principles of the First Amendment and to protect the public’s right to know. The Daily Times was honored specifically for a yearlong campaign that educated its readers and government officials about open government laws and requirements and advocated for stronger policies encouraging more openness, GPA officials said.

Two young reporters — both under 30 with less than five years of journalism experience — were honored as winners of the Emerging Journalist Awards. The daily newspaper winner was Travis Highfield of The Augusta Chronicle. The weekly newspaper winner was Laura Corley, formerly of the Douglas County Sentinel of Douglasville. Corley is now a reporter with The Telegraph in Macon.

The photograph chosen as the Photo of the Year was taken by Emily Deaton of The Press-Sentinel in Jesup. Deaton was a summer intern with the weekly newspaper when she took the photo in 2015, which won the feature photo award for Division E (weekly papers with circulations of 4,000-14,999).

General Excellence Awards were won by the Savannah Morning News (Division A, large dailies); the Athens Banner-Herald (Division B), The Cherokee Tribune (Division C, small dailies); The Post-Searchlight, Bainbridge (Division D, bi- and tri-weeklies); The Clayton Tribune (Division E); The Oconee Enterprise (Division F, small weeklies), and Smoke Signals, Big Canoe (Division H, weeklies of 15,000 or more circulation and all associate members).

In all, GPA officials said, there