Hook, T-D take top journo prizes

The Hook and the Richmond Times-Dispatch are the winners of the Virginia Press Association's highest honor, the VPA Award for Journalistic Integrity and Community Service, awarded last night at the Association's annual meeting in Norfolk.

The Times-Dispatch won for stories about a hurricane, local jail conditions, and the aftermath of war. The Hook won for its story of the "12-step" rape apology case, the shooting of a pet cat, and for its coverage, penned mostly by Lisa Provence, of the so-called "school bombing plot," which a VPA judge lauded as the Hook's "shining crown jewel."

"Throughout its coverage of this bizarre case," wrote judge Tim McGuire, a former president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, the newspaper paints a chilling 'Star Chamber' portrait. Under the veil of juvenile court secrecy, a dispassionate reader becomes convinced the rights of these students and their parents got kicked around like a worn-out football."

That case culminated in August, when one teen's father was actually prosecuted for contempt for trying to get his son back into the Albemarle school system. Even the judge, although noting that discussing the case was a "technical" violation, dismissed the contempt charge, and the lead prosecutor, Albemarle Commonwealth's Attorney Jim Camblos, earned a rebuke of sorts in recently when he was not recommended by the local bar association for a judgeship.

Daily Progress reporter Liesel Nowak also earned an award for her coverage of the alleged bomb plot case, one of 15 prizes won by the Daily Progress this year. The Hook, competing in a different category, earned 22 awards in all, including one for Courteney Stuart's coverage of the apology that brought about rape charges, in what's come to be known as the "12-step" case.

There was one other Charlottesville-based newspaper, the Cavalier Daily, which earned awards, which were presented at a dinner banquet in Norfolk.

After the banquet, journalists crowded into a downtown bar called Sterling's, where, among the titans sharing opinions of each other were the editor of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Glenn Proctor (left), and the editor Style Weekly, Jason Roop (right). Style has extensively covered Proctor's recent overhaul of the Times-Dispatch, which, in addition to putting more human interest stories on its cover, has unceremoniously pushed some humans out its door.

[Note: this posting originally contained a math error (yep, we overcounted our award tally, greedy dogs that we are). Sorry.]


I voted for Lisa Provence in the "Best of C-Ville" contest (in that other weekly paper here in town) for best journalist in the village. I wonder if they made my vote disappear. Sounds like a cover-up story to me.


I tire of The Hook, but that cat story was prize-worthy.