The Hook prides itself on informing the citizens of Charlottesville of the hot and important stories in the community. (That's one of the reasons we celebrated our 10th anniversary as a "Decade of Digging.")
But getting a little peer recognition isn't bad either. Since our second year in operation, the Hook has been Charlottesville's winningest weekly. That's based on awards from the Virginia Press Association, the voice of serious journalism in the state since 1881.
2011 - 10 awards
(presented in 2012)
This year's highlights included gushing praise from the judges and Lisa Provence's first place in the general news for "Reefer madness? Copter and SWAT team weeded out 2 plants." Other highlights include honorable mentions for articles on the "Biscuit Run" tax payments to millionaires and the Nature Conservancy's efforts to control the community water supply plan.
2010 - 6 awards
(presented in 2011)
Not our biggest year, but still some proud moments including a second place for investigative reporting on the mysterious murder of Morgan Harrington and a second place for multi-media news report. Another hit with judges was the cover story on Monticello's renovated third floor, "Rooms with a view," written by Dave McNair and featuring photography by Tom Daly. Senior Editor Courteney Stuart took second place for newswriting portfolio for her stories on Forest Lakes Geese, Biscuit Run, and a new drug for ALS.
2009 - 24 awards
(presented in 2010)
This year was our biggie. Not only did we win a prize for "Off the Face of the Earth," the story about the tragic disappearance of Morgan Harrington, but there were 24 awards in all, including Lisa Provence's first place for "No option?" a tale of a couple's mysterious death near Gordonsville as well as editor Hawes Spencer's "Best in Show" for a dramatic recount of a 1959 plane crash.
2008 - 9 awards
(presented in 2009)
While it was nice to win a prize for best slideshow, there's nothing quite as satisfying as the Virginia Press Association Award for Journalistic Integrity and Community Service, and we were proud to win it this year for a series of stories about a controversial water proposal. Lisa Provence got an award for "The perfect storm," her account of a tragedy-turned-trial after a baby was left in a car.
2007 - 16 awards
(presented in 2008)
This was a monster year for Courteney Stuart who took first in the feature series competition with her two-part look back 25 years after the murders of Katie Worsky and other girls and women of Central Virginia. Stuart also shared in the "in-depth" first prize for the Hook's stirring report on another 1982 horror: the fatal roll-over of a U-Haul truck filled with 64 college students. Essayist Janis Jaquith took top opinion honors for her stories which included a chilling tale of her toddler's near drowning. And Dave McNair's mix of story and video on red-light cameras took first place in the multimedia feature category.
2006 - 22 awards
(presented in 2007)
The Hook won the top statewide honor, the Virginia Press Association Award for Journalistic Integrity and Community Service for our story of the "12-step" rape apology case, the shooting of a pet cat, and for the coverage, penned mostly by Lisa Provence, of the so-called "school bombing plot," which a VPA judge lauded as our "shining crown jewel." Other highlights included a prize for Courteney Stuart's report on defibrillators as well as first place in the "in-depth" category for her coverage of the apology that brought about rape charges, in what's come to be known as the "12-step" case.
(presented in 2006)
Although nearly all Hook staffers received something at this year's awards, it was Courteney Stuart who stood out, hauling in a Hook record of six individual writing prizes, including a second for "Her day in court," a story of alleged rape at UVA and a second place in the coveted "feature writing portfolio" category. Photographer Jen Fariello captured a first-place prize for her portrait of performance artist Stevie Jay, an image that went on to win "best in show." And a special edition, "Charlottesville's biggest bang," a fact- and photo-packed chronicle of the Rolling Stones' concert, earned second-place in the "special projects" category.
2004 - 15 awards
(presented in 2005)
One Hook exposé, a look at a law that lets buyers and sellers of multi-million-dollar properties escape paying recordation taxes, didn't just take a prize; the November story by Lisa Provence prompted State Delegate Mitch Van Yahres to successfully sponsor a bill to close the loophole. Another story by Provence on the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board earned kudos for "exquisite interviews." Big year for a young publication.
2003 - 9 awards
(presented in 2004)
Leading The Hook contingent in its very first year of eligibility was Lisa Provence, who won three writing prizes including a second place for her stories on turmoil at the Waltons Museum. "Fascinating series gives a whole new slant to John-Boy," wrote one judge. Provence nearly swept the General News category by garnering both the second and third prizes with her cover stories on the $10 million verdict against NBC 29 and the eight-year jail sentence handed to a local couple for providing alcohol to minors.
Total awards through the 2012 awards ceremony: 130