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Coastal Observer wins third straight President's Cup

By Charles Swenson
Coastal Observer

Coastal Observer staff won 28 awards from the S.C. Press Association and received the President’s Cup for Excellence for the third straight year at the association’s annual meeting last month.

Beaches, the paper’s special summer section, won first among all weekly papers as Lifestyle Special Edition. “Section makes me want to visit,” the judge said. “Photos, graphics centered around local people/stories makes this an award winner.”

Tanya Ackerman won first for General News Photo for a photo of the release of a rescued sea turtle. “It comes down to visual storytelling; Tanya gave me an excellent entry into this one,” the judge said.

She also won second place for a photo from the funeral of three Sandy Island residents who drowned in a boating accident.

She won first for Feature Photo for a photo of the JOY School’s year-end program. “The photographer got a picture that touches the heart,” the judge said. She also won second place for a child trying to decide what to have for lunch at Norman’s Place.

Her coverage of a youth event at Belin Methodist Church that ended with a tug of war in the mud won first for Photo Series. The judge said it “gave me a sense of the event.” She also won second place for photos of Grandparents Day at Waccamaw Elementary School.

Ackerman won first for Pictorial for a photo of the south end of Pawleys Island at sunset. “Outstanding work,” the judge said. She also won third place in the category for her picture of a stranded loon.

Her photo of ice cream for a feature on restaurants that make their own won first for Photo Illustration. “Well executed,” the judge said.

She won third place for Humorous Photo for a picture of a group of men in tutus during the Litchfield Country Club follies.

Jackie Broach won first place for Profile Feature for a story about Alzata Lee of Murrells Inlet. “I feel like I’ve known Alzata Lee for years after finishing the story, like I eat at Lee’s Inlet Kitchen twice a day,” the judge wrote.

She won first for Short Story for an article about two boys who started a recycling business. “Nice community journalism story,” the judge said. She also won second place for a story about reaction to President Obama’s inauguration.

Broach also won third place for Beat Reporting for her coverage of environmental issues. And she won third place for Business Reporting.

Sarah Smith won first place for Feature Writing for a story about fly fishing that the judge cited for “simplicity in topic and form. Smith obviously spent a lot of time researching and developing the story.” Broach won third in the category for her story about the first female helicopter pilot killed in combat.

Smith also won second place for Lifestyle Feature for a story about Pawleys Island Police Chief Guy Osborne’s exercise boot camp. She won third place for Education Reporting.

Chris Sokoloski won first for Sports Feature for a story about Jimmie Wilson and his career in auto racing. The accompanying photo by Ackerman won second place for Personality Portrait.

Sokoloski also won third place in Sport Features for a story about the costs of Waccamaw High sports.

She won two design awards: a first for Feature Page Design for a portfolio that the judge noted had “nice use of typography and art,” and second place for Page One Design.

Charles Swenson won a first place for Page Design for the second front of the Beaches issue. “A nicely designed cover for a special section that’s clean and simple,” the judge said.

He also won second place for Photo Page Design for a two-page spread that featured photos of World War II veterans. The photos by Ackerman on the paper’s Web site won third place for Photo Gallery.

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