The Times-Journal and its monthly magazine, DeKalb Living, have won 20 awards in the freshly-announced Alabama Press Association Awards.
This year, 54 Alabama newspapers submitted 1,852 entries in the annual APA contest. Nineteen different publications submitted 298 entries in the magazine contest and 23 publications submitted 495 entries in the Advertising contest. Entries were judged by the South Carolina Press Association members.
This marks the highest number of awards presented to The Times-Journal since 2012, when the newspaper received 12 awards — seven related to coverage of the deadly 2011 tornadoes. Our publications won 5 APA awards in the 2013 contest, 6 APA awards apiece in the 2014 and 2015 contests, 5 APA awards in 2016, 3 APA awards in 2017, and 6 APA awards in 2019.
The Times-Journal competes with other small daily newspapers. Sister publications The Jackson County Sentinel in Scottsboro and The Sand Mountain Reporter in Albertville also won in numerous categories. The three Alabama newspapers serving readers and advertisers in northeast Alabama were purchased in May 2019 by Patrick Graham, who also owns The Walton Tribune in Monroe, Ga and The Covington (Ga.) News.
“During unprecedented times, the staff at The Times-Journal has done a tremendous job for their readers, advertisers and community,” Graham said. “It’s truly impressive to witness the talent, dedication and work ethic they bring to bear day in and day out in order to consistently publish one of the best small newspapers in the state.”
Publisher Steven Stiefel also expressed pride in the results, saying, “I’m proud of our news staff for these awards, but we’re never satisfied. Of course, we don’t do what we do for awards. We do it to serve the people of DeKalb County with a paper that's a little better today than yesterday. Plaques are just a bonus.”
Awards will be presented in conjunction with the 2021 APA Summer Convention banquet awards program June 24-26 at the Perdido Beach Resort in Orange Beach, Alabama.
The Bridal issue of DeKalb Living magazine claimed first place for “Best Themed Issue.” The Times-Journal won second place for “Best Local Economic Coverage”and “Best Local Education Coverage.” The newspaper won second place for “Best One Time Special Section” with “Collinsville Girls State Champs” and second place for “Best Niche Publication” with “Treasure Map” created by the staff.
Staff Writer Cinthia Rico won first place for “Best News Feature Story Coverage” for her article “The road to recovery: One year later.”
Former Publisher Tricia Dunne won first place in the “Best Human Interest Column” category with her first-person account of her family’s experience with COVID-19 titled “Coming out of quarantine.”
Sports Editor Glendon Poe won first place in the “Best Sports Feature Story” category with “A Coach’s Dream.”
The awards also recognize excellence in advertising. Advertising Manager Linda Stiefel and Composing Manager Emily Wooten won first place honors for “Best Advertising Campaign” for “Twin City magazine.” They also claimed second and third place in the same category with “First State Bank Testimonials” and “First State Bank.”
Additionally, the advertising team won second place honors for “Best Classified Display Advertisement” for “First State Bank” and “Best Single Ad half-page and under, black and white” for “Alabama Tube Corporation”. Stiefel and Wooten teamed up to win third place in the category of “Best Classified Display Advertisement” with “Twin City Paint Roll”, as well as third place in “Best Use of Humor” with “Twin City-Best Ride”.
Stiefel won three second place awards for “Best Personality Profile” with his profile of photographer John Dersham in DeKalb Living magazine, “Best News Feature Story Coverage” for his story “Local WWII veteran turns 100 years old”, and “Best Spot News Story” for “Flood waters damage DeKalb bridges, homes and businesses”. He also won third place honors for “Best Spot News Photo” to accompany the story “Peaceful protest held in downtown Fort Payne” and “Best Photo Essay” for the story “Flood waters damage DeKalb bridges, homes and businesses”.