From the Newsroom: Virginia Press Association honors Jessie Higgins’ reporting on COVID-19
Before I started working at Charlottesville Tomorrow, I found Jessie Higgins’ reporting on COVID-19 essential for navigating local resources and issues in the crisis.
That’s why I am especially proud that Jessie and our newsroom was honored by the Virginia Press Association for the entire body of work. The reports were edited by Elliot Robinson and Erin O’Hare. The honor is a testament to the entire news team, which provided essential information in the most difficult of circumstances.
Jessie’s reporting, the judges said, is “exceptionally clear” and “makes complicated topics understandable.” The group of stories “tackles COVID-related angles that many others didn’t.”
The Virginia Press Association announced winners of the 2021 VPA News & Advertising Awards during a four-day celebration from April 25 through 28. Charlottesville Tomorrow received nine awards, including one Best In Show and three first place awards.
“It’s always exciting to come together to celebrate the best journalism from across Virginia,” said Betsy Edwards, Executive Director of the Virginia Press Association during Thursday’s Best In Show virtual ceremony. “We had more than 3,000 entries in this year’s contest, making each category competitive.”
Jessie, our managing editor, took the Best In Show distinction in the Online News division for her COVID-19 coverage. For the second year in a row, Jessie, government reporter Charlotte Rene Woods and photographer Mike Kropf also took home multiple awards.
It’s a great chance to look back at an incredible year and appreciate the work of reporters. Thank you for being part of this community and sharing information and your perspectives to help get these stories out.
Here are all of our 2021 VPA awards, with judges’ comments:
Best in Show for Online Writing and First Place: General News Writing
Jessie Higgins coverage of COVID-19
Holiday gatherings have propelled Charlottesville to record high numbers of new COVID cases
How Charlottesville’s health care system handled its toughest year in recent history
Health Department data show Charlottesville’s Black neighborhoods are receiving far fewer vaccines than white ones
Commonwealth’s attorneys pledge COVID mask-wearing will not be prosecuted in Charlottesville or Albemarle despite state law that bans adults from wearing masks
First Place: Feature Story Writing (excluding obituaries):
Charlotte Rene Woods and Jessie Higgins
What could happen to Charlottesville’s Confederate monuments? Here’s where 29 others in Virginia ended up.
VPA judges said, “An excellent in-depth look at the difficult decision on what to do with Confederate monuments that have been removed. A fresh and important angle.”
First Place: Pictorial Photo
Stars stump for gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe in Richmond and Charlottesville this weekend
VPA judges note, “Many emotions and feelings on the political trail captured well here. Facial features, expressions, positioning. Bravo.”
Second Place: Feature Story Writing (excluding obituaries):
From this long-neglected cemetery in the heart of Charlottesville, a handful of volunteers are unearthing stories of Charlottesville’s Black forebears
Judges say, “Great description and wonderful stories about the people buried in the once neglected cemetery.”
Second Place: General News Photo
Republican gubernatorial candidate Youngkin rallys in Henrico County, calling campaign a ‘movement’
VPA judges said, “The unique lighting of the situation works for this image because of the face line of the subject stands out well.
Third Place: Feature Story Writing (excluding obituaries):
Charlottesville Greyhound patrons kicked to the curb: Bus station demoted to a stop on Ridge Street
VPA judges say, “Nicely told through the passengers’ perspective. Great description.”
Third Place: Education Writing
Charlotte Rene Woods
Critical race theory has suddenly become a key issue in the only contested Albemarle County School Board race
Public school staff may not need to use personal sick days if taking leave related to COVID-19
State bill to emphasize Black history reverberates locally
VPA judges note, “Good topics. well fleshed out.”
Third Place: Personality or Portrait Photo
Noise demonstration in downtown Charlottesville
VPA judges say, “Historical documentation …can imagine being there.”