Liberty Champion staff and alumni place in 2017 VPA awards

Staff members and a writer at the Liberty Champion and have won four awards from the Virginia Press Association’s 2017 News and Editorial Contest, while four Liberty alumni have taken home several more awards.

Jack Panyard, Erin Covey and Will Young took home the first-place award in the “Headline Writing” category. The winning headlines were “This auto be fixed,” “An unappeeling situation” and “Law law land.” Panyard is the Champion’s news editor, and Covey is the assistant news editor.

Will Young, editor-in-Chief, placed first in “Column Writing” for his weekly column, “A Word from Will.” Young’s three winning entries touched on poverty in the Lynchburg area, the prevalence of sexual assault and the highlights of 2017. One judge wrote that he “loved (the) writing style.”

Jacob Buwalda, the Champion’s photography editor, won third place in the “Breaking News Photo” category for his picture of Liberty students celebrating Liberty’s football win against Baylor University. One judge wrote that Buwalda’s image depicts “an encapsulation of the (joy) felt by all sports fans when their team comes out on top.”

Logan Price, a reporter for the Champion, won third place in “Editorial Writing” for three pieces entitled “Calling out sexual sin,” “Light in the dark” and “Calling out sin with love.” Price’s work focused on how Christians can remain Christ-focused in a dark world.

The Champion competed against other non-daily newspapers that had a circulation of 7,000 or more.

Two college newspapers who also received awards were University of Virginia’s Cavalier Daily and James Madison University’s The Breeze.

Four local Liberty alumni also won several awards.

Emily Brown, a former Champion editor-in-chief who now works for the News and Advance, received eight awards for her work in areas such as headline writing, public safety writing, feature writing and multimedia news reports. Brown also won two group awards for her work in infographics and headline writing.

Justin Faulconer, a former Champion reporter and now News and Advance reporter/editor, received both first and third place in “Headline Writing.” Faulconer’s first place award was received jointly with Brown.

Nicole Steenburgh, a former Champion feature editor and a recent News and Advance reporter, received two individual awards for her work in multimedia stories and government writing. Steenburgh placed first and third, respectively, for her stories. In addition, Steenburgh won a group award, placing second in “Combination-Picture-And-Story”.

In the “Daily” category, former Champion sports editor Ben Cates placed second in “Feature Story Writing” and third in “Sports Writing Portfolio.” One judge praised Cates for his “good, solid writing.”

A full list of winners can be found here.

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