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Daily News staff takes honors in awards contest

Staff report

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JEKYLL ISLAND — The Georgia Press Association awarded the Daily News and its staff seven separate awards for journalistic excellence in the 2016 Better Newspapers Contest on Friday at the association’s annual convention in Jekyll Island.

As a staff, the newspaper was awarded third place for both overall local news coverage and headline writing. The staff placed second for hard news writing for its coverage of the Justice Journey march in August.

Individually, Daily News reporter Melanie Ruberti was awarded both first and second place for spot news photographs and first place for hard news writing. Reporter Tyler H. Jones won first place for feature writing.

Spot news photos must have been taken of an event to which no prior notice was given, such as breaking news. Ruberti’s first place photo was of a toddler being reunited with family members after she was reported missing; her second place photo was of a grieving mother learning her daughter had been the victim of a murder-suicide. The Daily News ran the photo with the woman’s permission.

Ruberti’s award for hard news writing was for her article about the guilty verdict of a man who killed a woman at a home on Forrest Avenue in late December 2014, allegedly over a card game.

Jones’ first place feature writing award was for his article about Troup County residents who attended the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama.

The Daily News staff’s award for hard news writing was for their work covering summer 2015’s NAACP Journey for Justice as it traveled through LaGrange.

This is the second year in a row the Daily News staff has taken first place for spot news photography and feature writing.

Winners in the Georgia Press Association Better Newspaper Contest are honored for their outstanding achievements in newspaper journalism, according to a news release from the association. Entries were judged in eight divisions based on circulation. The Daily News competed in Division C.

There were 645 awards presented in 37 categories to 78 Georgia newspapers.

Reach the LaGrange Daily News at 706-884-7311.