In a year when presidential politics and a pandemic dominated headlines, South Carolina’s capital city newsroom took home more than a dozen first place awards from the South Carolina Press Association.

The State won first place for its 2020 election coverage, including the First-in-the-South Democratic presidential primary, and for its series on “Losing Brooks,” which told of the tragic and suspicious death of a South Carolina family’s toddler son after he suffered injuries at a caregiver’s house and their ongoing search for answers.

Overall, The State took home 30 awards for the newspaper’s coverage last year. Awards for journalist and photojournalist of the year, assertive journalism and use of public records laws will be announced at the Press Association’s annual awards banquet scheduled for October.

Here is some of The State’s best coverage according to the Press Association’s yearly contest.

First place

The State’s staffers took home top honors in several categories:

David Travis Bland and Isabella Cueto won in the series of articles category for their project, “Losing Brooks: Did an accident kill their baby boy 10 years ago? His parents believe it was homicide.”

Bristow Marchant won for his news obituary, “Columbia couple did ‘everything’ to avoid coronavirus. They died just hours apart.”

Sarah Ellis and Maayan Schechter won for enterprise reporting for their article, “5 years after Emanuel AME massacre: what’s really changed in South Carolina.”

Sammy Fretwell won in the reporting in-depth category for his story, “A flesh-eating bacteria lurking in the ocean is killing people in the Carolinas,” which was done in partnership with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, The News & Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina and the Columbia Journalism School and the Center for Public Integrity.

Michael Lananna won for sports enterprise reporting for his article, “This former South Carolina football player aims to change policing from the inside.”

Photojournalist Joshua Boucher won for general news photo for his photo of state Rep. Marvin Pendarvis, kneeling in the House antechamber to mark the eight minutes and 46 seconds that a police officer knelt on George Floyd’s neck.

113th District representative Marvin Pendarvis kneels for eight minutes and 46 seconds outside the South Carolina House of Representatives on Wednesday, June 24, 2020. Later the House stood in silence for the amount of time former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on George Floyd’s neck before his death. Joshua Boucher [email protected]

Photojournalist Tracy Glantz won for spot news photo, capturing Dawn Bradley standing between protesters and Columbia police officers; and Glantz also won for news video accompanying the series of articles ”Losing Brooks.”

Dawn Bradley stands between police and an angry demonstrator during a protest at the City of Columbia Police headquarters. Crowds gathered for a peaceful rally to protest the killing of George Floyd escalated into a riot with groups breaking into businesses and burning police cars in the Columbia Vista. Tracy Glantz [email protected]

Social media gurus Nikki Naik and The State staff won for the newspaper’s use of social media and Schechter won for her individual use of social media.

The State staff won for breaking news reporting for their coverage of George Floyd protests in Columbia and for election and political coverage in 2020.

The State sports staff won for single sports page design.

Second place

John Monk won for his obituary, “Edward Sloan, SC citizen watchdog who fought government Goliaths and won, dies at 91.”

Bland won in the beat reporting category for his coverage of last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests.

Ellis won in the business beat reporting category for her coverage of retail and restaurants opening and surviving in a pandemic.

Marchant won in the short story competition, for his article, “Lexington couple has celebrates Valentine’s Day for 12 years at the same Waffle House.”

Ben Breiner won in the spot sports story category, for his article, “King Dixon, former South Carolina football star, AD and ‘war hero,’ has died.”

Boucher won for sports feature photo depicting Malcolm Wright watching Ridge View play Myrtle Beach and in the news video category for “Crystal Priester remembers her mother Sandra Priester.”

Malcolm Wright watches Ridge View play Myrtle Beach in the class 4A championship game at the Colonial Life Arena on Saturday, March 7, 2020. Ridge View beat Myrtle Beach. Joshua Boucher [email protected]

Tracy Glantz won in the pictorial category for her photos of Columbia-area law enforcement pushing back protesters and for her sports video of the “Benedict football team rises early to start the season late due to the coronavirus.”

The sun sets as law enforcement officers form a line to push a group of protestors back in the Columbia Vista after a peaceful rally to protest the killing of George Floyd escalated into groups breaking into businesses and burning police cars in the Columbia Vista. Tracy Glantz [email protected]

Third place

The State staff, third place for COVID-19 coverage and innovation for Breaking Point: Tackling Systemic Racism in South Carolina; Emily Bohatch, third place for government beat reporting and profile feature writing; Lucas Daprile, third place for education beat reporting; The State’s sports staff, third place for single sports page design; Lou Bezjak, third place for spot sports story; Matt Connolly, third place for sports feature story.

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