Ocracoke Observer co-publisher Peter Vankevich and Connie Leinbach, editor and co-publisher, win 10 awards at the N.C. Press Association annual conference in the Raleigh Marriott Crabtree. Photo by Paul Jones

Raleigh–The Ocracoke Observer received 10 awards tonight at the North Carolina Press Association annual conference including first place in breaking news coverage for its Hurricane Dorian reporting and second place in editorials.

The honors were conferred at the conference and awards ceremony held in the Raleigh Marriott Crabtree Valley hotel where more than 150 newspapers across the state won hundreds of awards from 4,400 entries for 2019 work.

The Observer is a member of the NCPA in the online division. 

Since Dorian hit Sept. 6, swamping the island in a devastating flood from which the island continues to rebuild and will be for many months to come, the Observer has published more than 200 stories.

Observer writers and photographers won the following other awards:

First place in sports photography: Casey Robertson, Ocracoke School baseball, “They did it! Dolphins capture middle school baseball tourney.” The judge noted, “Keen eye of the photographer to capture such a remarkable shot. Creative, outstanding inclusion of design elements and provides a feeling of suspense/tells story in single frame.”

This photo of Dolphins pitcher Daymon Esham by Casey Roberston won first place in sports photography in the online division of the North Carolina Press Association.

First place in spot photography: Connie Leinbach, “Debris removal begins.”

Second place in spot photography: Peter Vankevich for “Summer beauties” photo of a black skimmer in flight.

Third place in spot photography: Peter Vankevich for his photo” of an eagle on the roof of the Portsmouth Island lifesaving station in “Portsmouth Island Christmas Bird Count ends the year.”

First place in Religion and Faith reporting: Peter Vankevich, for “New United Methodist pastor: ‘Come walk with me.’”

Second place in editorials: the Blue economy, Hyde County Government needs a more visible presence; The passenger ferry ripple effect.

About the editorials, the judge wrote: “Not every issue worth writing about is deep, deep, deep. Everyday life is worth writing about, too. Doing so also gives the reader a sense of place, as the Observer’s editorialist does so effortlessly.”

Second place in feature writing: Will Adams for “Catching winter waves.

Third place in feature writing: Pat Garber for “Hyde County’s amazing civil rights protest.

Third place in headline writing: Connie Leinbach for “Nest knitters needed now.”

The winning stories were published on ocracokeobserver.com between October 2018 and September 2019, where all the winning stories and photographs can be found.

This photo of a Black Skimmer in flight by Peter Vankevich won second place on spot photography in the NCPA Online division.
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  1. Bravo! Bravo!!!! C’est vrai que votre couverture de l’ouragan Dorian était #1. Vous êtes très talentueux!

  2. No surprise to those of us who have been reading your wonderful publication since you took over many years ago! You two are a great team who always do quality work. With the year you had last year, the awards are doubly deserved! Congrats!! From Vic and Marie

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