The Washington County News took home more awards than any other weekly newspaper in its category from the Virginia Press Association for 2019. All but one of those awards honored achievements in writing for reporters, columnists and editorial writers.
The newspaper swept the category for column writing, with Joe Tennis winning first and third place for “Wandering around Washington” and C.A. Rollins winning second place for “Breathing Room.” Judges’ comments praised Tennis for his dashes of “local flavor,” using his “deep roots in the community” to provide “a blend between commentary and news.” Rollins’ “Breathing Room” also showcased fluid writing that “pulls the reader deeper,” according to the judges.
Reporter and feature writer Carolyn Wilson took home 10 awards in categories from business writing to feature profiles. The judges noted her “wonderful grasp on storytelling” and called her work “a joy to read.”
Joe Tennis also placed third in the government writing category for his columns on Abingdon auctioning off the Summers Law Office and regular updates on Abingdon Town Council meetings. Editorial writer G. Chambers Williams won second and third place for his editorials, which argued in favor of summer food programs, career training and allowing Pal’s to move into The Meadows.
Editor Chelsea Gillenwater won first place in headline writing and third place in page design.