Pack 10: Hook wins journalism, advertising awards

The Hook took home 10 journalism awards and 13 for advertising, including a Best in Show, at the April 21 Virginia Press Association conference in Roanoke.

In the news side of the house, photographers Bill Emory and Tom Daly each won two awards. In the category for pictorial photo, Emory took second and third place with his black-and-white photos of a Rotunda magnolia and the Ragged Mountain Natural Area.

Online slideshows earned Daly a first place award for the closing of The Tavern, and third place for the ouster of Occupy Charlottesville from Lee Park.

In the general news writing category, Hook reporters took both first and second places, with Lisa Provence winning for "Reefer madness? Copter and SWAT team weeded out 2 plants.

"Storytelling at its best," wrote the judge. "This is one of those crazy, how-could-this-possibly-happen yarns that causes the reader to give thanks for quality, professional journalists who know how to poke, prod, and eventually get to the bottom of a complex situation."

And Courteney Stuart came in second for "He's still here," a story of the murder of Morgan Harrington.

"This publication seems to specialize in spine-tingling mysteries," wrote the judge. "Much detail that, in the wrong hands, could have easily bogged down. But this writer effortlessly moves the reader through this hideous case." The judge also added this: "Somebody please let me know how this thing eventually turns out– I'm totally invested, and that's the mark of good reporting."

Dave McNair won second place in public affairs writing with his story, "Glitchy System: Inside the student software debacle," about Albemarle County schools' faulty, $2-million software package. "On another day, with a different judge, this could have been first," the judge commented.

And his cover story, "Riding the rails: It's the only way to fly," helped earn Hawes Spencer a third-place award in personal service writing.

Anne Metz, Elicia Smith, and Dave McNair picked up a third-place award in the front page/front cover category that included the newsroom's personal favorite cover image, "Flaws," a twist on a classic shark movie poster. And the Hook staff received another third place in the special sections category for the Annual Manual.

A perennial contender for the Journalistic Integrity and Community Service award, the Hook lost out to Richmond's Style Weekly with its five-part series on the Civil War, but articles on the "Biscuit Run" tax payments to millionaires and the Nature Conservancy's efforts to control the community water supply plan each earned the Hook honorable mentions.

On the advertising side of the awards, the Annual Manual also won first place for Smith, Matt Leech, and the Hook staff.

Art director Elicia Smith won four more first-place awards along with senior ad exec Sean Wathen. Graphic designer Liz Milligan received two first-place awards, one each with ad execs Patrick Decker and Sarah Doss.

The Hook competes in the specialty category, which includes publications like Style Weekly and the glossy monthly Richmond Magazine.

At this year's event, philanthropist Doris Buffett, sister of Warren, was named 2012 Person of the Year by the Virginia Press Association.

Another notable sighting was Daily Progress editor McGregor McCance at what could be his last VPA conference. The helmsman of the Charlottesville paper that snared 21 journalism prizes this year, he plans to leave the field to go work for UVA in public affairs.

2:53pm Tuesday: story updated with judge comment


Way to go, Courteney!

Bill Emory is the MAN. I'm excited to see him earning more of the recognition he's deserved for years.

And runner up for two articles in top category - congratulations to all - keep up the great reporting !

Compared to the other resources we have to depend on for news in this town the Hook should get top honors all the time.

Bravo!!! Congrats to All, and especially to Courteney!

Congratulations for these well deserved rewards.

Journalism that takes on the establishment has become increasingly rare in our town and the Hook has maintained a high standard of truth telling in these challenging times. My own observations are - these qualities make the Hook the most widely read publication in town.

Thanks to the stellar reporters and the entire staff for bringing us this first class publication.