Score 24: Hook snares many journo prizes

hook-vpaawardsad-afterA recent ad–- that now needs to be updated.

The Hook solidified its position as Charlottesville's most award-winning weekly newspaper, as it was honored by its peers in the newspaper industry by winning 24 prizes from the Virginia Press Association–- including two entries named "Best in Show."

The awards were bestowed Saturday, March 20 at a banquet at the Association's annual conference in Roanoke. There, the announcer lauded as "riveting" the Hook's account ill-fated Piedmont Flight #349, a commercial airliner which crashed near Crozet in 1959. Bestowing the top statewide writing prize among specialty publications, the judge wrote, "I felt like I was on that plane."

The Hook's other Best in Show award went to Allison Sommers for her design. "It’s a pleasure to look at," the judge commented, "and a pleasure to read.”

The awards, for content created in 2009, marked a personal best of sorts for the Hook, which has now garnered 95 awards since 2003. The prizes cover writing, photography, and design–- everything except advertising (which is judged later in the year). The winners include long-time Hook journalists such as Courteney Stuart, Dave McNair, Lisa Provence, Jen Fariello, and editor Hawes Spencer. Others recognized include Stephanie Marie Garcia, Laura Parsons, Anne Metz, Clay Caricofe, Janis Jaquith, Skip Degan, Jay Kuhlmann, William Walker, Mitchell Jarrett, and former staffer Lindsay Barnes.

Notable wins include Lisa Provence's first place for "No option?" a story about a couple's mysterious death near Gordonsville, a prize for "Off the Face of the Earth ," one of the Hook's many Morgan Harrington stories, and an award for Dave McNair's stories about the government lawsuit against recycler Peter Van der Linde.

The Daily Progress, judged among dailies, also garnered a trove of awards, winning 21 including such familiar names as Jerry Ratcliffe and editor McGregor McCance.

In other action at the weekend event at the Hotel Roanoke, retiring University of Virginia president John Casteen accepted the Virginian of the Year Award, and Miller Center director Gerald Baliles–- one year after announcing his quest–- presented his findings on the threats to democracy from the shrinkage of the media industry.

VPA Awards

2004 - 9 awards
2005 - 15 awards
2006 - 22 awards including top prize
2007 - 16 awards
2008 - 9 awards including top prize
2009 - 24 awards

–last updated 1:43pm Monday, March 22

–year denotes year the work was published


"Best in Show", is still best in show. The Hook took two of them- no one else did.

Foghorn 68-

Never compared the VPA awards to the Pulitzer- you pay to enter both- get it?

I meant "mute" point- get it?

Perhaps your "beef" should be taken up with the VPA.

Perhaps you should read something else, like the Daily Progress- oh sorry, they won a lot of awards too, not your style- get it?

Look, all I'm saying is that it seems a little silly to gloat over such an award. It is kind of like the Parade of Homes. Winning "Best Kitchen" doesn't mean you have the best kitchen. It just means that you had the best kitchen in your price range based upon the number of paid entries. Sometimes there's only one kitchen in each bracket.

My opinion is that it puts a bad taste in my mouth to see a company (the Hook or otherwise) gloat like this.

Allison Sommer's designs are fantastic !

Congratulations to the Hook for all the well deserved awards. Thank you, for all you do to keep our officials honest. While many other local news outlets have resorted to reporting statements from our local officials as facts, with no follow up, or fact checking- I have never seen this done in the Hook. Real news is fast disappearing from our society, and I appreciate what you do to keep it alive and well. Good luck in the coming year and may we all support you in any way we can, in the service you are performing for our community. A first class operation from top to bottom !

I hope you will do some award winning journalism in covering the ever challenging project that is known by many names - the Meadowcreek Parkway; or in its parts as the McIntire Road Extended, Meadow Creek Parkway, and Route 250 Bypass Interchange at McIntire Road.

In recent weeks there have been article in other press outlets on actions by VDOT, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, various historic preservation organizations, members of City Council and the Albemarle Board of Supervisors, the Charlottesville Area Chamber of Commerce and the clerk of the Virginia Supreme Court, and others. I would welcome an expanded effort by the Hook in exploring what is going on in this controversial project.

GMan and WhoCares, did this story annoy you for any particular reason?

Harry, please don't insult the literary community by comparing the VPA awards to the Pulitzer Prize. That's almost the most ridiculous comment on this page.
Secondly, the phrase is "moot point," not MUTE point. I assume the people who work at the VPA aren't mutes, are they?
I agree with really?! who cares... Calling something "the best" only means something and is important when there is some context. Speaking of context, please keep your generalities to a minimum. For the record, "every periodical worthy of print" being a VPA member is a matter of opinion, not fact, and again there's no context for your comment.
Anyone who believes that the Hook deserves to win the "Best of" anything awards is probably the same person that sees viability in the ridiculous Dateline crime reporting that's on Friday nights on ABC and Danielle Steele novels.

If your little Biff or Buffy won a few awards I am sure I would hear about for a week at work. So STFU and let them have their moment in the sun.

gman, you have some dirt on the hook's "media members"? Do tell!!

"The Daily Progress, judged among dailies, also garnered a trove of awards [...] including such familiar names as [...] and editor McGregor McCance."

I'm not sure how the DP managed to snag awards in terms of editing....? (or how the editor managed to snag an award?) There's always editorial mistakes galore in that paper. Stories that are supposed to continue onto another page but don't, just disappearing into oblivion. Grammar errors, awkward sentences. When I used to work there there were always calls from readers pointing out the myriad of editorial mistakes. I'd never seen a newspaper with such glaring editorial issues until picking up an issue of the DP....

What a joke! VPA gave out nearly 780 awards! Follow the link in this article and see for yourself - if you have the time to go through the 52 pages of awards!

what a joke, the smallest corp. run news team i have ever seen, be nice if you would print have the trash of the lives your media members live.

omg dont know where to start, but lets just say they live a type of live the average person doesnt, and wouldnt, a good start would be to look at there criminal history. you might be surprised. besides that they dont seem to mind trashing others, but the are a usefull diversion when you need the focus off something

The Pulitzer Prize is a paid entry contest as well.

The Hook did not say that no one else won anything, did they?

The fact that you have to be a member of the VPA is a mute point, as every periodical worthy of print in Virginia is a member.

Entry fees are usually used to pay for the awards, administration and management of the organization and the awards ceremony.

Last time I looked you pretty much had to pay to be a politician too......

That's bringing them down a notch foghorn. Go ahead and pat yourself on the back then start telling others why they are not good enough to exist in your world. Smuck.

Congratulation to the Hook! Spencer always does a really thorough job on any topic. He asks questions no one else will or does. He does not drop the ball and really goes after the truth like no one else does in this town. Investigative journalism will never die as long as he is writing. The other Hook writers are wonderful and excellent in their fact finding and thoroughness. I read the Hook and Cville but always know that the real, hard stories will be covered in the Hook. I listen to him on the Coy Barefoot show and he is always knowledgeable about local topics. The Hook deserves the prizes and I hope they keep up the good work.

Hmm...The Hook won awards in a contest that is restricted to VPA members only and where you have to pay to submit entries. On top of that, the DP also brought home a slew of awards, which arguably kills all credibility that this award process has.

Something seems pretty fishy about this story. This whole thing kinda sounds like me being voted coolest person ever by my group of friends (which is newsworthy, by the way).