CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Winners were recently announced in the annual newspaper contest sponsored by the West Virginia Press Association, with Ohio Valley Publishing (OVP) taking home three awards in its division.
OVP, which includes the Point Pleasant Register, Gallipolis Daily Tribune and The Daily Sentinel, was recognized as follows:
First Place, Best COVID-19 Coverage;
Second Place, Best Special Section;
Second Place, Best Sports News and Feature Reporting.
In regards to the COVID-19 coverage contest submission, included were samples of OVP’s daily COVID-19 update, which presents a custom template built to report a breakdown of county statistics for Mason, Meigs and Gallia counties, as well as other important information relevant to the time – including deaths, school outbreaks and vaccine information.
The COVID-19 update ran daily for months, starting in 2020, until it retired briefly in June of this year. The daily update resumed last month as new cases of the virus began to surge.
Reporters from across OVP’s newsrooms contributed to the daily COVID-19 update and continue to do so.
“This is a fluid, ever-changing document that allows us to inform readers of COVID-19 trends in their specific communities,” OVP Editor Beth Sergent said. “Endless hours were poured into those updates, and still are. Deserving special recognition for these updates are former Daily Sentinel Managing Editor Sarah Hawley and current Staff Writer Kayla Dunham.”
In addition to the COVID-19 update, also submitted in the COVID-19 Coverage category for OVP were, from Sergent, a column related to the effects of the virus on the community and feature story on a memorial service for COVID-19 victims and their families held in Point Pleasant.
OVP’s Second Place Special Section was for the 2020 Community Progress Edition “Memories Made in the Ohio Valley.”
The annual progress edition remains one of the largest of the year at OVP, and in 2020, the focus was on some of the known and little known history of the area.
In a time where the future has felt uncertain and unfamiliar, OVP dug into the past to find stories reflecting the resilient spirit of the area, even in the face of great tragedy.
Inside the edition were pieces on the Silver Bridge Tragedy and the 1937 flood, but also stories on the history of the Meigs County Fair, the legend of Mothman, Gallipolis’ connection to the Titanic disaster and more. In all, this special edition contained 14 stories which belong especially to those who call this area home.
Also included were informational stories featuring local supporters of not only the project but of their communities.
Contributing to this section were Sergent, Hawley, former Staff Writer Dean Wright, a column by the late OVP Editor Kevin Kelly and the archives of OVP.
OVP’s Second Place Award for Best Sports News and Feature Reporting went to Sports Editor Bryan Walters for his story “All in the family,” published in March 2020 with a focus on the powerhouse wrestling program at PPHS.
After capturing the program’s fifth Class AA-A state championship in 11 years in 2020, the varsity coaching staff at Point Pleasant sat down with Walters and discussed the journey of inheriting a high-caliber program and molding it into what it had become up to that point.
“Bryan [Walters] deserves this recognition, and more, for all the work he’s done over the last 18 years with OVP and the work he continues to do,” Sergent said.
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