With 14 first-place awards and 22 others, Style Weekly was named best specialty publication in Virginia, winning the sweepstakes award in its category during the Virginia Press Association's annual conference Saturday in Roanoke.
The sweepstakes award is given to the specialty publication that accumulates the most points in writing, photography, artwork, presentation and multimedia projects. Style earned 71 out of a possible 199 points.
“This was a true team effort,” Editor in Chief Jason Roop says. “We're honored to receive this recognition by our colleagues, and it just reaffirms our goal to deliver smart, tenacious and high-quality journalism to our readers.”
The VPA competition examined work published between Dec. 1, 2008, and Nov. 30, 2009. Across all divisions in Virginia, 101 publications participated in the contest, which was judged by journalists from the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association.
Journalistic Integrity and Public Service Award
In addition, Style won the association's annual Award for Journalistic Integrity and Community Service, one of three given to publications across the state. Style won for specialty publications.
The 63-year-old award recognizes editorial leadership and community service above and beyond a publication's circulation area. Entries are judged on evidence of a significant effort beyond a publication's routine scope; the initiative of the publication; the use of editorials in connection with the project or projects; and the results.
Style's winning entry, focusing on civic engagement, cited several efforts to strengthen the community's connection with the political process and public representatives. In January 2009 Style organized a nonpartisan, free program to watch the historic inauguration of President Barack Obama and produced a video about the event. Some 400 Richmonders attended.
Last year, Style learned that the first gubernatorial debate between Bob McDonnell and Creigh Deeds would not be televised live and in its entirety, and would be held at the remote Homestead resort in Bath County. To make the debate accessible to more Virginians, Style launched a Web site called VirginiaTalks.com and worked with the Virginia Bar Association to air the debate live online.
The site, created with INM United of Richmond, gave anyone with Internet access the opportunity to watch the debate, as well as connect with others in a simultaneous chat room and through a special category on the social-media platform Twitter. In addition, Style asked viewers to submit questions to the candidates. Two questions were posed to the candidates live during the debate. An online debate rebroadcast and the chat room transcript were available through Election Day.
Also as part of the debate coverage, Style Editor in Chief Jason Roop conducted interviews that aired on VirginiaTalks.com and produced a behind-the-scenes video journal of the debate. The VirginiaTalks Web site since has grown into an online town square, offering free discussion boards and editorial content from across the state.
The award was judged by Loren Ghiglione, the Richard Schwarzlose professor of media ethics at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and a former editor and publisher in New England. He is editor and author of six journalism books; four-time Pulitzer Prize juror; and a fellow at the Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy and Harvard University; the Media Studies Center at Columbia University; and a Reuters Foundation Fellow at Oxford University.
The two other recipients of the award are The Recorder of Monterey, for nondaily newspapers, and The News Virginian of Waynesboro for dailies.
Also at the awards competition, Style Photography Editor Scott Elmquist won his fourth consecutive best-in-show award for photography. Of his portrait of Jeff Talley, a homeless veteran in Richmond, judges wrote: “This is a truly fantastic photograph. … The brick walls focus the viewer's eyes on the subject, who is visually fascinating, from his eyes to his hair and beard and the American flag on his shoulders.”