Rappahannock News wins top Virginia Press awards

The Rappahannock News received several top awards at last weekend’s annual Virginia Press Association convention, including being recognized with a prestigious “Best in Show” honor for the second year in a row.

The Best in Show for Non-Daily writing — awarded to only one among the state’s many weeklies — was for “A Troubling Diagnosis,” a series about healthcare challenges facing Rappahannock County. The project was done in collaboration with Foothills Forum, the local community supported nonprofit that has helped fund nonpartisan in-depth reporting efforts about county issues.

Foothills Forum and the Rappahannock News hosted a presentation about their collaboration at the Virginia Press Association’s 2018 convention. By Virginia Press Association

Foothills contributing reporter Randy Rieland and board chair Bud Meyer, Rappahannock News editor John McCaslin, publisher Dennis Brack, informational graphics contributor Laura Stanton and photographer Luke Christopher produced the three-part series last summer.

The series also won first place in the in-depth and investigative reporting category.

Rappahannock News editor John McCaslin won first place in breaking news photography for coverage of August’s massive Communications Corporation of America plant fire in Boston. The winning entry, “Against the Inferno,” showed an exhausted volunteer firefighter resting against a backdrop of jet black smoke.

“Against the Inferno”: John McCaslin’s photo of the Boston plant inferno won a first place Virginia Press Association award for breaking news photography. By John McCaslin

At Saturday’s conference, Foothills Forum and the Rappahannock News jointly presented a panel discussion explaining the unique partnership and how it could be a model to produce in-depth reporting in other communities. Andy Alexander, chair of Foothills’ Journalism Advisory Committee, joined Rieland and Brack in an hour-long discussion and Q&A session.

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