Local Writers Win Virginia Press Association Awards

Local Writers Win Virginia Press Association Awards

Connection and Gazette garner awards for work published in 2022.

Each year the Virginia Press Association holds a competition to select the best published material from newspapers and news sites from across the state. The contest is judged by journalists from outside the commonwealth, for what is one of the largest such competitions in the country. 

It has been no small accomplishment just to keep publishing in this economic climate, between the pandemic and the decline in newspaper advertising. But we continue to be called to provide the best journalism we can to the communities we serve. We have great readers. We’ve been blessed with a group of remarkable writers. We’re pleased that we won 15 awards. Many categories are judged as a “body of work,” so a group of three or sometimes more stories, as you can see below.


In the Alexandria Gazette Packet:

Jeanne Theismann & Janet Barnett, First Place for Combination Picture/Story. ‘I Pledge Allegiance’ Naturalization ceremony celebrates newest American citizens. See the entry at http://vpagallery.com/2022/2022_VPA_News_and_Advertising_Contest/Design_and_Presentation/M01_Combination_Picture_and_Story_(N4)/First_Place_Alexandria_Gazette_Packet_1/Attachment_01.pdf

Michael Lee Pope, First Place for Business & Financial Writing: Reconsidering Marijuana, Tax Code Thunderstruck, Up in Smoke: Black market to remain underground for now as lawmakers reject licensing scheme. Judge Comment: “An interesting topic that will surely dominate headlines, especially in agricultural states. Perspectives regarding marijuana have changed dramatically over the years. I like your ledes, as well.” See http://vpagallery.com/2022/2022_VPA_News_and_Advertising_Contest/Writing/W03_Business_and_Financial_Writing_(N4)/First_Place_Alexandria_Gazette_Packet_1/Attachment_01.pdf

Shirley Ruhe and Laurence Foong, Second Place, Informational Graphics, “Follow the Long Faith Journey of a Tomato” Judge Comment: “Photos add pop to a standard map.” http://vpagallery.com/2022/2022_VPA_News_and_Advertising_Contest/Graphics,_Illustrations_and_Art/G02_Informational_Graphics_(N4)/Second_Place_Alexandria_Gazette_Packet_2/Attachment_01.pdf 

Jeanne Theismann, Feature Story Writing - Third Place, “Uncommon Valor Survivors mark Iwo Jima 77th anniversary” Judge Comment: “Nicely done. Love the history.” See http://vpagallery.com/2022/2022_VPA_News_and_Advertising_Contest/Writing/W10_Feature_Story_Writing_(excluding_Obituaries)_(N4)/Third_Place_Alexandria_Gazette_Packet_3/Attachment_01.pdf

Mount Vernon Gazette

Glenda Booth, Third Place, Health, Science & Environment Writing. Down the Toilet; Down the Drain. Then What?; The Potomac River Is Healing but Problems Remain; Eagles Are Thriving but Face Challenges. Judge Comment: “Takes reader where they might have never been to deliver impactful information.” See http://vpagallery.com/2022/2022_VPA_News_and_Advertising_Contest/Writing/W15_Health,_Science_and_Environmental_Writing_(N4)/Third_Place_Mount_Vernon_Gazette_3/Attachment_01.pdf

Arlington Connection

Eden Brown, First Place, Feature Writing Portfolio. Old Instruments, New Friends in Arlington; Arlington’s USA Team Headed To Finals in Ramadan Tourney; Nightmare on Jackson Street. Judge comment: “Eden Brown is a seasoned, clever writer with a magical pen; well-articulated in all venues; vivid details, word choice and clever titles keep you wanting to read more.” See http://vpagallery.com/2022/2022_VPA_News_and_Advertising_Contest/Writing/W09_Feature_Writing_Portfolio_(N3)/First_Place_Arlington_Connection_1/Attachment_01.pdf

Ashley Simpson, Second Place, Feature Profile Writing: What Makes Ted Run. Judge Comment: “Very inspiring story that not only tells of his accomplishments, but also his motivations. Nicely done.” .http://vpagallery.com/2022/2022_VPA_News_and_Advertising_Contest/Writing/W11_Feature_Profile_Writing_(including_News_Obituaries)_(N3)/Second_Place_Arlington_Connection_2/Attachment_01.pdf

Eden Brown, Second Place; Health, Science & Environment Writing, Arlington Man Who Donated Kidney Will Climb 7 Summits; Glad I Flunked May Home Safety Check; Fishy Story: Thousands of Fish Die In Four Mile Run, Cause Unknown; Judge Comment: “Uses a very readable storytelling format.”


Shirley Ruhe, Third Place, Combination Picture & Story. Once Part of Segregated Arlington, Now, Jennie Dean Park is expanded with larger playground, renovated picnic pavilion, softball and baseball, plus art that honors its history. http://vpagallery.com/2022/2022_VPA_News_and_Advertising_Contest/Design_and_Presentation/M01_Combination_Picture_and_Story_(N3)/Third_Place_Arlington_Connection_3/Attachment_01.pdf

Ashley Simpson, Third Place, Feature Writing Portfolio. On the Horns of the Dilemma; Best of Both Worlds for Dog Siblings Samson and Mishka; It’s Not All About Running for Arlington’s 100-Marathon Man. Judge Comment: “Ashley Simpson is a straightforward, to the point writer; she sets up a contrast for a well-argued viewpoint. Her material is relevant with good ideas.” http://vpagallery.com/2022/2022_VPA_News_and_Advertising_Contest/Writing/W09_Feature_Writing_Portfolio_(N3)/Third_Place_Arlington_Connection_3/Attachment_01.pdf

Shirley Ruhe, Alternate, Feature Series or Continuing Story, Teach Your Kids About Hunger During March Nutrition Month; How to Help Hungry People as Costs Rise; Frozen Hands Cart Home Frozen Turkeys at AFAC Turkey Week, You can help with near record need for food. Judge Comment: “A great entry with a few technical errors. A very competitive category. Kudos to all of the publications with entries in this category for delving into their communities to find topics that are informative, entertaining and valuable to the local community.” http://vpagallery.com/2022/2022_VPA_News_and_Advertising_Contest/Writing/W08_Feature_Series_or_Continuing_Story_(N2,N3)/Alternate_Winner_Arlington_Connection_4/Attachment_01.pdf

Fairfax County Connection Newspapers 

Susan Laume, First Place, General News Writing, Americans Show Love For Ukraine, Injured Ukrainian Soldiers Treated Locally, War Takes Heavy Toll on Ukrainian Women, Injured Ukrainian Soldiers Enjoy a Fishing Adventure, Injured Ukrainian Soldiers Receive Treatment Locally; Judge Comment: “Awesome way to tie compelling local coverage with an international news story”  http://vpagallery.com/2022/2022_VPA_News_and_Advertising_Contest/Writing/W12_General_News_Writing_(N3)/First_Place_Fairfax_County_South_Connection_1/Attachment_01.pdf


Susan Laume, Second Place, Breaking News Writing. “Coyote Bites Cause Cautionary Park Closure” http://vpagallery.com/2022/2022_VPA_News_and_Advertising_Contest/Writing/W02_Breaking_News_Writing_(N3)/Second_Place_Fairfax_County_South_Connection_2/Attachment_01.pdf

Bonnie Hobbs, Third Place, General News Writing, ‘You Can’t Imagine Living Without Your Daughter’ Remembering Reema and Erin, 15 years after VT tragedy; Doing Good in Her Name, Celeste Peterson honors her child by serving her neighbors; Helping Others to Honor Those Who Were Killed; http://vpagallery.com/2022/2022_VPA_News_and_Advertising_Contest/Writing/W12_General_News_Writing_(N3)/Third_Place_Fairfax_County_Northwest_Connection_3/Attachment_01.pdf

Mike Salmon, Third Place, Health, Science & Environment Writing, Group Opposes Cinder Bed Road Bikeway; Climate Change Study Warns of Coastal Flooding in 2050; Paralyzed Cyclist Gains Freedom for Near Normal Life; Judge Comment: “Gives good details on topics familiar to readers.” http://vpagallery.com/2022/2022_VPA_News_and_Advertising_Contest/Writing/W15_Health,_Science_and_Environmental_Writing_(N3)/Third_Place_Fairfax_County_South_Connection_3/Attachment_01.pdf

Susan Laume, Third Place, Picture Story or Essay; Local Gardeners Can Assist Monarchs Judge Comment: “Photos really tell the story. Good job.” http://vpagallery.com/2022/2022_VPA_News_and_Advertising_Contest/Photography/P06_Picture_Story_or_Essay_(N3)/Third_Place_Fairfax_County_South_Connection_3/Attachment_01.pdf

Bonnie Hobbs, Alternate, Feature Profile Writing, Fulbright for Valerie Nguyen; Judge Comment: Nice story. Very well-written. http://vpagallery.com/2022/2022_VPA_News_and_Advertising_Contest/Writing/W11_Feature_Profile_Writing_(including_News_Obituaries)_(N3)/Alternate_Winner_Fairfax_County_Northwest_Connection_4/Attachment_01.pdf

Winners of the 2022 VPA News Contest were announced at the association’s 2023 conference and award banquet on May 6, 2023.

The Virginia Press Association has championed the common interests of Virginia newspapers and the ideals of a free press in a democratic society since 1881.