The Times took home more awards than any newspaper of any size in Georgia, including six first-place awards for writing and photography. The winners were honored Saturday at a luncheon in Atlanta.
"Our news staff works hard to produce a top-quality community newspaper, so it's very gratifying when we are recognized for that work by our peers," Publisher Dennis Stockton said.
Other first place awards included honors for feature writing, sports coverage, graphics and illustrations and photography.
"I'm enormously proud of the team we've put together at The Times," said Executive Editor Mitch Clarke. "We are committed every day to producing the best newspaper we possibly can for our readers, and these awards are a nice validation that we are succeeding."
Daily newspapers in Georgia that are members of The Associated Press news cooperative are judged in four classes based on circulation. In most categories, The Times competes against newspapers with a circulation between 15,000 and 40,000. Illinois AP member daily newspapers judged the Georgia contest entries of stories and photos published in 2007.
The awards won Saturday by The Times include:
- Community service, first place for coverage of the drought.
- Feature writing, first place for former reporter Rick Lavender's story of a homeless man who lives under a bridge in east Gainesville.
- Sports, first place for the sports staff's summer series on what goes into recruiting high school athletes by colleges.
- Graphics and illustrations, first place for senior design editor Kristen Morales' information graphic about last year's Tour de Georgia.
- Feature photo, first place for photographer Scott Rogers' photo of beached boats in Lake Lanier last summer. Photographer Robin Michener Nathan won the second-place award for her photo of a line of children at a kindergarten picture day.
- Photo essay, first place for photographer Robin Michener Nathan's photos of Joe Tu's return home to Vietnam for the first time in more than three decades. Nathan also won a second-place award for her photo package of the East Hall girls basketball team's trip to the state semifinals.
- Deadline reporting, second place for reporter Stephen Gurr's article about a Jackson County teen who brought a bomb to school.
- Beat reporting, second place for reporter Debbie Gilbert's coverage of health care issues.
- Non-deadline reporting, third place for the news staff's four-day look at a day in the life of Lake Lanier.
- Business, third place for Community Editor Harris Blackwood's coverage of SunTrust's purchase of Gainesville Bank and Trust.
- Spot news photo, third place for Nathan's shot of tornado damage to a South Hall home.
- Sports feature photo, third place for Rogers' photo of the East Hall girls basketball coach's reaction to a last-second shot.
- Best portfolio, second place for Nathan's body of work; third place for Rogers' body of work.