The Loudoun Now team took home 16 Virginia Press Association awards for reporting, photography, video and design. The awards ceremony was Saturday at Hilton Richmond Hotel & Spa.
Photographer Douglas Graham alone won seven awards, three of which were first-place prizes. He won top honors in the Pictorial Photo category for his shot of metal sculptor Brian Kirk; another first place in the Personality or Portrait Photo category for capturing David Lohmann surveying the damage of Abernethy and Spencer greenhouses after the February 2016 snowstorm. Graham’s photos of the Loudoun County Fair also clinched a first-place honor in the Online Slideshow category.
Reporter Kara C. Rodriguez won first place in the Financial and Business Writing category. Her reporting covered the resurgence of downtown Leesburg, the local makerspace movement, and the impact of Leesburg’s HUBZone on the job market.
Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Norman K. Styer’s editorial writing also won a first-place prize. His editorials called for more transparency in the county boardroom, responded to the hateful comments spray-painted on the Ashburn Colored School, and put a spotlight on the growing number of homicides in Loudoun at the hands of family members.
Reporter Renss Greene, Managing Editor Danielle Nadler and freelance photographer Robert Johnson won first place in the Multimedia Feature Report category. Their video captured a surprise visit by the Washington Redskins to a Tuscarora High School special needs club.
Graham and reporter Margaret Morton took home a silver medal in the Combination-Picture-And-Story category for their “Fighting for the Honey Bee” article and photos.
Graham swept the Online Slideshow category, winning first, second and third place. His Christmas in Middleburg photo gallery won second, and his gallery of Loudoun’s historic country stores won third. He won two more third-place awards; one in the Pictorial Photo category for “Morning Fog,” which captured a December morning in western Loudoun, and another in the Picture Story or Essay category for his coverage of the Ashburn Colored School vandalism and clean-up effort.
A graphic illustrating how the county’s tax rate impacts homeowners by Greene and Electronic Ink owner and designer Matt Danielson placed second in the Informational Graphics category.
Nadler won third place in the In-Depth or Investigative Category for her reporting on the shortage of Loudoun County bus drivers. Her coverage has resulted in systematic changes in how the school system recruits and retains drivers.
Loudoun Now intern Pariss Briggs took home a third-place prize for her article “Sterling Teen Gives Brother a Real Helping Hand,” about a Park View High School student who designed a 3D-printed and prosthetic hand for his little brother.
The duo of Advertising Manager Susan Styer and designer Lauren Fleming, of Electronic Ink, won third place in the Single-Sheet Inserts/Wraps/Flexi category for their menu designed for advertiser 900 Degree Brick Oven Pizza in Purcellville.
The Loudoun Now team also won third place for page design and makeup of its Lifestyles Pages. The winning LoCo Living section entries were a collaboration of reporter Jan Mercker and Danielson.
This was the first year Loudoun Now was eligible for VPA awards. The publication was started in November 2015, thanks to the outpouring of community members, experienced journalists, sales representatives and designers, many of which had worked at Leesburg Today. Its first printed edition was Nov. 12, one week after the closure of Leesburg Today.
“It is an honor to be recognized by our journalism peers who reviewed examples of some of our best work, but it is even more rewarding to work week after week with a team of talented people dedicated to community journalism and to have the support of readers and advertisers as we continue to grow in our second year,” Styer said.