Reporter wins general excellence award for fourth year straight

For the fourth consecutive year, the Shelby County Reporter has been named Alabama’s best weekly newspaper.

The Reporter, which competes in Division C against other large weekly newspapers, won the Alabama Press Association’s General Excellence Award.

The paper also earned six other first place awards in the annual Better Newspaper Contest, including best editorial page, best lifestyles page, best local news coverage, most improved, best sports feature story for Wesley Hallman’s story, “Relaxing on Lay Lake,” and best special section for Profile 2009.

The Reporter also won the APA’s Sweepstakes Award, the advertising portion of the contest, as well as the award for best website.

The Reporter won second place marks for best local education coverage, best spot news story for Samantha Hurst’s story, “Fire destroys apartment building” and best editorial for “Hoover hospital needed.”

The paper earned third place honors for best presswork, best photo essay, best business story for “Shopping centsibly” by Samantha Hurst, best sports news in-depth coverage for Chris Megginson’s story, “No longer at home,” best human interest column for Cassandra Mickens’ column, “America as I knew it,” best use of graphics or illustrations, best in-depth local news coverage, best layout and design and best feature story for “Haven for Hats” by Samantha Hurst.

The Reporter also won third place in the First Amendment Award category for “In your neighborhood,” a story and graphics package bringing attention to sex offenders in Shelby County.

This year, 64 newspapers from across Alabama submitted 2,525 entries in 38 categories for the Better Newspaper Contest.