Best of the Press: Introduction

Magazine cover with photos from various newspaper articles against a purple background; text reads Best of the Press

This article first appeared in Southern Exposure Vol. 24 No. 2, "Best of the Press." Find more from that issue here.

Eric Bates and Bob Hall, who are both former Southern Exposure editors, coordinated the Southern Journalism Awards.

Each year Southern Exposure and our publisher, the Institute for Southern Studies, honor reporters whose stories broaden the range of issues, voices, and sources in the region’s daily newspapers. By asking tough, often imaginative questions and by probing untapped sources of information, these writers show how the media can analyze a community’s problems and contribute to positive change.

Now in their ninth year, the Southern Journalism Awards have come to represent the very best of the daily press. From the 106 entries in two categories — feature reporting on women in the South, and investigative reporting — winners were selected in three divisions based on the size of the newspaper’s circulation.

Our panel of 27 judges included journalism professors, magazine and newspaper editors, reporters, authors, and community leaders. Our heartfelt thanks to each of them: Bill Adler, Maxine Alexander, Pat Arnow, Richard Boyd, Anne Clancy, Jerry Hardt, Neill Herring, Steve Hoffius, Jereann King, Chris Kromm, Jenny Labalme, Marc Miller, David Molpus, Bob Moser, Ron Nixon, Dee Reid, Derek Rodriquez, Melinda Ruley, Al Sawyer, Caroline Senter, Carolyn Schwartz, Bertha Sims, Vernie Singleton, Bob Sherrill, Leslie Takahashi, Michael Yellin, and Barry Yeoman.

We are pleased to present excerpts from the first-place winners in this special section. Their power and perspective extend well beyond the readership of their hometown paper, touching on issues of importance to all of us who consider the South home.

Next year, in addition to our annual awards for investigative reporting, we will present prizes in two other categories: money and politics and working people in the region. Entry forms will be mailed to daily newspapers in November; the deadline for entries is December 4.

All inquiries and requests for entry forms should be directed to: Southern Journalism Awards, P.O. Box 531, Durham, NC 27702. Fax (919) 419-8315. Email ATTENTION Southern Journalism Awards.