Feb. 25, 2017
The Ocracoke Observer received 13 awards Thursday night at the annual North Carolina Press Assn. awards banquet in Raleigh. Topping the list was third place in General Excellence for its website. More than 400 in the newspaper business statewide attended.
The Observer competed in the Online newspaper division and was one of eight online newspapers that won awards. The winning stories were published from October 2016 to September 2017.
Because the Observer’s prints from March to December, its NCPA membership is in the Online division.
Online papers the Carolina Public Press placed first, and the Charlotte Agenda captured second.
Observer co-publisher and Editor Connie Leinbach received three first place awards:
Best Lede for “Painter Douglas Hoover captures island moments in time; new works in Down Creek Gallery Wednesday.” (“Lede” is newspaper jargon for the first sentence in a story.)
And for Feature Photography for “Cloud spotting on Ocracoke Island, or…. ‘Excuse me. Your umbrella is in front of my cloud!’
Co-publisher Peter Vankevich won second place in Spot Photography for his photo of an Ocracoke Volunteer Fire Department volunteer in the story “Fire guts Ocracoke home,” and third place in Spot Photography for “Spotted on Ocracoke: A Great Horned Owl.”
He also won third place in Arts and Entertainment on the feature for “Heard on Ocracoke: Lipbone Redding.”
Leinbach received second-place honors in Online Breaking News coverage for her stories last July and August on Ocracoke’s power outage; in Arts and Entertainment reporting for “What’s a dingbatter? New Ocracoke Alive show at Deepwater Theater explains all,” and for Best Lede for “Billfish get a life in Trixie’s Fineries.”
She captured third place in Feature Writing for “Young birders join in local Christmas Bird Counts,” and third place in News Feature Writing for “International friendship and water blend in 75th British Cemetery Ceremony.”
The conference featured workshops and speakers, including North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, Attorney General Josh Stein and Tim Moore, General Assembly Speaker of the House.
More than 100 news organizations submitted over 3,000 entries in the yearly contest that encompasses the smallest to the largest newspapers across the state.
Last year, in its first year of contest eligibility, the Ocracoke Observer received six editorial awards, including two first places.
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