Tallapoosa Publishers Inc. earned a total of 69 awards in the Alabama Press Association’s 2019 Media Awards, including General Excellence at the APA Summer Convention this weekend in Orange Beach. 

The Alexander City Outlook earned 30 awards in the editorial portion of the contest in Division B, which includes daily newspapers with a circulation of 21,999 and below. 

“I’m very proud of our team at Tallapoosa Publishers for what they have achieved,” TPI chairman Kenneth Boone said. “However, the ultimate beneficiaries of this award-winning work are our readers and our advertisers. Hometown newspapers are the best source of factual, meaningful, relevant stories about any community and I am happy that the people of Alexander City have the best small daily newspaper in Alabama working to serve them.”

The Outlook was awarded first place in General Excellence, which is the top award given in each division. Winners in this category can be said to be consistently outstanding issue to issue in general news coverage, editorials, photography, layout and design, advertising, public interest and mechanical excellence, according to APA.

“My only regret is that our former editor Mitch Sneed, who built our editorial team and personally won awards this year for his work before his death last year, wasn’t here to share this.” Boone said. “Mitch told me numerous times that he was going to make sure The Outlook won the General Excellence award. He kept his promise.”

The Outlook also won first place in the Freedom of Information Act/First Amendment category for staff writer Cliff Williams’ story “Discretionary funds allow county commissioners flexibility.” This award recognizes excellence in reporting that highlights the importance of a free press, open government and the protection of the public’s right to know.

“Much like the communities we serve, we compete with much larger competitors,” TPI president and publisher Steve Baker said. “Just as our communities have made great strides and continue to prosper when people say we can’t, your newspaper does as well. The best communities to live in have a great community newspaper. Democracy dies in darkness. I am blessed to work with folks who have a similar vision.

“While we miss Mitch Sneed, his spirt continues to live on in our newsroom. Winning all the awards the Alabama Press bestowed on us this weekend takes every department to excel. For each employee of TPI, please accept my heartfelt thank you for your commitment and hard work.

“Without the support of our communities, readers and advertisers we would not be able to succeed. These awards are for you.”

Other first-place honors include Best Local Economic Coverage, Best Local News Coverage, Best Layout and Design, Best Use of Photographs/Editorial Content, Best In-Depth News Coverage for “Addiction Crisis” by the editorial staff, Best Feature Story Coverage for “Our Very Own Forrest Gump” by Sneed, Best Humorous Column for “Trial and error in the war against ants” by Sneed, Best Human Interest Column for “Finding the rest of the story of a wayward pigeon” by Sneed, Best Local Sports Column for “Don’t put too much pressure on one person’s shoulders” by sports editor Lizi Arbogast, Best Spot News Photo for “Dog Not Gone” by Sneed, Best News Photo for “Electrical fire” by Williams, Best Use of Graphics or Illustrations for “Making the grade” by assistant managing editor Santana Wood, Best Headline for “What a dope” by Arbogast, Creative Use of Multimedia for “Willie Garrett’s story” by Arbogast and Online Breaking News Coverage for “Fiery plane crash” by Sneed.

In the magazine division, Lake magazine carried home the third place award for Magazine of the Year, a competition that included all magazines in al divisions across the state.

“To be mentioned among the top three magazines in the state is substantial, but it means even more for us — a smaller publication — to place so well. We were compared to the statewide magazines and to big magazines from Mobile, Montgomery, Huntsville and all around the state,” TPI’s magazine managing editor Betsy Iler said. “We have a great team — from photography to the graphic design, writers, columnists, ad reps and support staff. They are all very creative, talented people. I am honored to work with them, and I am grateful to our advertisers who make Lake magazine possible.”

The Outlook also earned 13 awards in the advertising portion of the contest for its division, including first place in the Advertising Sweepstakes category — the top advertising award given in each division. APA states this award means ads are consistently outstanding from issue to issue.  

Other first-place honors for The Outlook in the advertising category include Best Single Ad ½ Page and Under – Color, Best Regularly Scheduled Special Section, Best Signature Page, Best Niche Publication and Best Use of Humor.

The Dadeville Record, The Wetumpka Herald and The Tallassee Tribune competed in Division D, which includes non-daily newspapers with a circulation of 4,000 and below. 

The Record earned two advertising honors and five editorial awards, including first place in Best Sports Coverage and third place in General Excellence. 

The Herald earned three editorial awards and 11 advertising awards, including second place in Advertising Sweepstakes. 

The Tribune earned one editorial award and two advertising awards, including third place in Advertising Sweepstakes.

Other honors awarded to TPI include:

The Outlook

• Best Public Service: Discretionary funds allow county commissioners flexibility by Williams (second)

• Best Production and Printing (second)

• Best Local Education Coverage (second) 

• Best Spot News Story: “BRHS student drowns at Lake Wedowee” by Sneed and Arbogast (second); “Dog Not Gone” by Sneed (third)

• Best News Feature Story Coverage: “Dog Not Gone” by Sneed (second)

• Best Human Interest Column: “Dog search shows why community is special” by Sneed (third)

• Best Sports Feature Story: “Just for kicks” by Arbogast (second)

• Best Spot News Photo: “They Lived” by Sneed (third)

• Best One-Time Special Section: “A memorial tribute to Mitch Sneed” (second)

• Best Niche Publication – Newsprint or Glossy: “Itsy’s Big Surprise” (second)

• Online Breaking News Coverage: “Fatal fall at the fair” by Sneed (second)

• Best Single Ad Over ½ Page – color: “Mark King Furniture” by Audra Spears

• Best One-Time Special Section: “Bassmmasters coupon book” by Spears, Darlene Johnson and Halie Holloway

• Best Original/Creative Idea: “Outlook Halloween Photos” by Spears

• Best Signature Page: “Pastor Appreciation” by Johnson (first); “Salute the Blue” by Spears, Johnson and Holloway (second)

• Best Niche Publication: “Tallapoosa County Meet Our First Responders” by Spears, Darlene and Holloway  (first)

• Best Use of Humor — a category The Outlook swept: “Holman Floor” by Spears and Tippy Hunter (first); “Noel Boone” by Johnson (second); “Holley’s” by Spears (third)

• Best Innovative Online Advertising – Single Ad: “Alexander City 50+” by Spears (second) 

The Record

• Best Local News Coverage (second)

• Best Human Interest Column: “Dog search shows why community is special” by Sneed (second)

• Best Niche Publication – Newsprint or Glossy: Dadeville Magazine (second)

• Best Signature Page: “Home Improvement Directory” by Spears, Shelley McNeal and Johnson (second); “Homecoming 2018” by Spears, McNeal and Johnson (third)

The Herald

• Best Layout and Design (second)

• Best Sports News In-Depth Coverage: “Changing of the guard” by sports writer Caleb Turrentine (first)

• Best Niche Publication – Newsprint or Glossy: “FYI – Newcomer’s Guide” (first)

• Best Single Ad ½ Page and Under – Color: “Community Hospital” by Johnson (third)

• Best Regularly Scheduled Special Section: “Let’s Play! Horizons 2018” by Amy Passaretti, Spears and Betsy Iler (first); “FYI Newcomer’s Guide to Elmore County” by Passaretti, Spears and Iler (second)

• Best One-Time Special Section: “Itsy the Elf – Itsy’s Big Surprise” by Spears, Johnson and McNeal

• Best Niche Publication — a category the advertising team swept: “Elmore County Meet Our First Responders” by Spears, Johnson and Holloway (first); “Elmore County Community Calendar” by Spears (second); “Bridal issue of Elmore County Living” by Passaretti, Spears and Iler

• Best Use of Humor: “The Furry Kid” by Johnson (third)

• Best Presentation of Online Advertising: “Drayer PT” by Spears (first); “Montgomery Cardiovascular Associates, P.C.” by Spears (third) 

The Tribune

• Best Layout and Design (third)

• Best Single Ad ½ Page and Under – Color: “Mt. Vernon Theatre” (first)

Other honors in the magazine division

• Best Photo Essay: Elmore County Living’s “John B. Scott Trail” by Boone (third)