The Virginia Press Association announced the winners of the Best in Show and Sweepstakes categories during the 2019 News and Advertising Best of the Best Awards Ceremony held virtually on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020.
Charlottesville Tomorrow took home three awards, two in the Best in Show category and one in the Online News Sweepstakes category.
“The online outlet classification included larger publications and those that cover more statewide issues, so it’s exciting to see our small, hyperlocal staff and pool of freelancers receive the top award,” News Editor Elliott Robinson said. “While we celebrate our own wins, we also congratulate the other winners in our class who received accolades and the print journalists who were recognized for their work while also dealing with pressures imposed on their newsrooms.”
The Best in Show and the Sweepstake awards are in addition to the 23 VPA awards won by Charlottesville Tomorrow during the annual spring award ceremony. The Hoosier State Press Association judged this year’s contest, which was broken into two parts after the in-person ceremony was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Charlottesville Tomorrow won a Best in Show in the Online Digital category for journalist Jordy Yager’s series, “The Reimagining of Friendship Court.”
“Jordy’s powerful story came at a time when calls for a reckoning on race and equity grew louder on a national scale,” Robinson said. “It marked a major step in changing the lens of our coverage, and it’s one that we are working to refine in our articles both large and small.”
In reviewing the Friendship Court series, the judges were impressed by Jordy Yager’s “striking design that keeps the reader engaged, with plenty of immersive content and embedded video and graphic elements.”
Charlottesville Tomorrow also took a Best in Show Award for Online Graphics, Illustration and Art for work produced by Michael Holroyd to accompany reporter Emily Hays’ article on the Cherry Avenue Small Area Plan. Judges noted that Michael and Emily’s work was selected because of the “excellent presentation that used graphics, maps and photos to talk about the subject.” The graphics, the judges added, were a “very nice complement to the story itself.”
In the biggest announcement of the day, Charlottesville Tomorrow won the News Sweepstakes for Best Online Publication in Virginia.
“Although the top award feels good and is a benchmark on Charlottesville Tomorrow’s journey, it’s not just about the awards,” Robinson said. “We’ve done a lot in the past two years, and I’m grateful for the support from our executive director, Giles Morris, and our Board of Directors for giving me the opportunity to adjust the focus of our newsroom.”