Busy News Year Results in Awards for SandPaper

Feb 21, 2018
Photos by: Ryan Morrill, Jack Reynolds and David Biggy

Southern Ocean County had an eventful year in 2017, and the editors, reporters and photographers of The SandPaper captured it well if the number of awards they won in the annual New Jersey Press Association Better Newspaper Contest is any indication. The editorial department came away with 26 awards in the weekly newspaper division while SandPaper photographers took 15.

Writer Rick Mellerup set the pace editorially with five. His coverage of the Pinelands Regional School District resulted in a first and second in the Best Lede category, with “It seems as if the magazine Sex, etc. may soon become Sex, EX. at Pinelands Regional High School” claiming gold. He also took second in the First Amendment, third in Column Writing and third in Coverage of Elections; Politics.

Arts Editor Pat Johnson doesn’t limit her reporting to fine art. She took first in the Environmental, Health and Science competition for her story about crabbers and students recycling “ghost crab pots.” Jon Coen took third in the same category. Johnson also took second in Enterprise, second in Arts and Entertainment and third in the Coverage of Government.

Cartoonist Leslee Ganss took first in the Graphics and Illustration category with “Njoy NJ!” which spoofed then-Gov. Chris Christie for enjoying the surf and sand while state-owned public beaches were closed over the July 4th weekend. She also nailed down second place in the same category.

Social Media Manager Jason Cascais scored for The SandPaper in the relatively new Online competition, taking first and third in the Best Use of Social Media category. Entertainment Editor Victoria Ford can also cover hard news, as evidenced by her first-place finish in the important category of News Writing.

Executive Editor Gail Travers won a first-place award for Editorial Section Layout & Content. The entire SandPaper staff was credited with first place in the General Typography & Layout of the Entire Paper category; a first in Feature Section Layout & Content; and a second and third in the Special Issue category for the paper’s Oktoberfest Shore Style supplement and for the Beachcomber Holiday Guide.

Writer David Biggy finished second in the Education Writing category for a story about a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) class in Stafford Township. He also finished third in the Sports Section Layout & Content competition and scored in the Photography Contest, taking second in the Sports Feature Picture Story category.

Reporter Gina Scala took second in Special Subject Writing reporting on two decommissioning options for the Oyster Creek Generating Station, and a third in Enterprise.

Associate Editor Maria Scandale took second place in the Business & Economic Writing category for a story titled “Business Success Stories Not Without Challenges.”

Reporter Eric Englund took third in the Arts and Entertainment Writing category for his story “Doo-Wop Aficionados Now Have a Home.”

Photo Editor Ryan Morrill and photojournalist Jack Reynolds found that some of the toughest competition they faced in the statewide contest came from within their own small office. Reynolds took second place in the Spot News category in the NJPA Photography Contest covering a late-night fire. Morrill finished right behind him in the same category, covering a plane crash. They swept the News Picture Story competition, with Morrill taking gold and silver while Reynolds had to settle for the bronze.

Overall Morrill garnered nine awards, including another first in the Illustration competition, while Reynolds earned five.

The SandPaper advertising staff garnered 34 awards, including 14 first-place honors. — Staff Report 

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