Page one sets the tone for a newspaper. It can draw readers in or turn them away.
Page one is where The Georgia Guardian won the first of eight awards in the 2000 Georgia Press Association Better Newspaper Contest.
Winners were announced at the GPA's annual convention June 30 on Jekyll Island, Ga. The Guardian competed against other weekly newspapers in the state with a circulation of less than 7,000.
The paper won five first-place awards, and three third-place awards. Its front page took top honors for overall content, photography and layout. Helene Koutouzos is the Guardian's principal page one designer. The Hartwell Sun took second place, followed by The Walton Tribune, from Monroe, in third place.
The Guardian also won first place for local news coverage. Judges praised its "innovative story content strong, vibrant photos that illustrate sense of place superior feature writing and balanced reporting with tough issues," as with "A worm in an apple," a story that took a critical look at one of Savannah's public schools.
The Guardian scored a hat trick when its sports section won first place for "clean layout, inventive photos and features by Clarence Wilson Jr." Judges called the Guardian "the clear-cut winner in this category."
Since its creation nine years ago, the Guardian has gained a reputation for quality photography and illustrations. That reputation was bolstered by results of this year's contest. Staff photographer Richard Rodriquez won first place for photo illustration, doing an "absolutely first-rate job," in the words of the judges. Rodriguez also earned a third-place award for his photo essays. Coincidently, shortly before the contest results were announced, Rodriguez was promoted to senior staff photographer.
Guardian art director Glen Osterberger took first prize in the newspaper illustration category. Judges praised his "excellent composition, choice of colors and execution." One of his illustrations was featured in a GPA special edition listing contest results. "Great job!" the judges said.
Staff writer Christina Taylor, whose realm was primarily the art and entertainment pages, captured third place for serious columns. Judges said Taylor's work shows "a serious interest in community issues and are very thought-provoking regardless of the reader's personal opinions." Shortly after the awards were announced, Taylor left the Guardian to attend graduate school in Maryland.
The Guardian's final award of the competition was a third place in the general excellence category behind the Coastal Courier of Hinesville and the Walton Tribune from Monroe.
There were 2,742 entries and 460 winners in the contest, now in its 76th year. The contest had six divisions with 29 categories. Newspaper representatives from 13 states outside Georgia judged this year's entries.
The Georgia Guardian is published by the Savannah College of Art and Design. In addition to its GPA awards, the Guardian won a first-place Eagle Award on June 10 for "Internet excellence and technological leadership" in conjunction with the Savannah Internet Expo 2000 Web Site Competition, sponsored by InspireUSA, Savannah Morning News and SavannahNow.
"The Georgia Guardian Web site models comprehensive simplicity," said Lynn Lewis, president and CEO of InspireUSA.com. "In addition to all of the great content and links, our judges liked the personal nature of this site that really gets to the heart of everyday life."
The Guardian site is designed and managed by Helene Koutouzos. She also won second place in the Savannah Internet Expo 2000 education category for her work on the Savannah College of Art and Design's Apple Resale Store.
Lewis said the "site is visually appealing. Our judges were impressed with its great colors and excellent graphics."
Judges selected the Guardian's Web site from more than 70 entries in 15 different categories. Its address is www.georgiaguardian.com. The Apple Resale Store is online at www.georgiaguardian.com/apple/index.html.
The Guardian also received a community service award on July 3 from Living Independently For Everyone, Inc., an advocacy group for Savannah's disabled citizens. L.I.F.E. presents one award each year to a business or organization that promotes or informs the public about disability issues, according to L.I.F.E. executive director Pam Hodge.
L.I.F.E. presented the award in a ceremony outside City Hall commemorating the 10th anniversary of passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act.
Russ Anderson can be reached at 525-5500 or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Our awards in the 2000 Better Newspaper Contest from the GPA:
FIRST PLACE AWARDS:
THIRD PLACE AWARDS:
The Georgia Press Association's Web site is at http://www.gapress.org.