2015 News for Pawleys Island, Litchfield and Murrells Inlet
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Newspapers: Observer staff wins 19 state press awards

The staff of the Coastal Observer earned 19 awards for writing, photography and design in the S.C. Press Association’s annual news contest. It was the most awards won by a paper in the large weekly division.

Beaches, the annual summer section, won first place for Best Lifestyle Section among all non-daily papers. “Packed full of beautiful art and variety of well-written features on the area’s history, culture and amenities,” the judges said.

Tanya Ackerman’s won first place among the non-dailies for Photo Illustration for an image that accompanied a feature on coffee. She won third place for Pictoral for an image of sea oats against a setting sun.

Ackerman won first place among the large weekly papers for Personality Portrait for a photo of the photographer Don Withers and second place in the category for a photo of Sean Brennan at the Chilympics. She won first place in Sports Feature Photo for an image of Waccamaw High cheerleader Ava Markham that the judges said “perfectly captures the youthfulness and hopefulness one has right before their high school team is about to score.”

She won second place for Humorous Photo for a picture of Amy Downing applying makeup to her husband at an American Cancer Society male beauty contest. She won third place in the category for a photo from the opening of the Lowes Foods store.

And Ackerman won second place for Photo Series for coverage of the National Sculpture Society modeling competition at Brookgreen Gardens. She won third place in the category for images from the North Island lighthouse exhibit at the S.C. Maritime Museum.

Charles Swenson won first place in the Short Story category for an article about Navy vessels spotted off the coast. “The reporter’s writing is remarkably fresh and clear,” the judges said. “It’s not a straight news story, it’s better.” He also won second place in the category for a story about the egg tapping contest at Coastal Montessori Charter School

He won third place in Enterprise Reporting for a story about a black Union sailor who was captured and hanged by Confederate cavalry at Murrells Inlet in 1864. He also won third place in Sports Action Photo for an image of Sydney Derrick’s serve in the Lower State tennis final.

Swenson won third place in Feature Page Design and won honorable mention among the small and large weekly papers for his coverage of education.

Jason Lesley won second place in Profile Feature Writing for a story about Moselle Rosenthal, an outspoken 105-year-old. He won third place in News Feature Writing for a story about Capt. Rod Singelton’s work with orphans in Ukraine. And he won honorable mention for Sports Feature Story for an article about the Dragon Boat team.

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