Coastal Point staff members brought home 17 awards from this year’s Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association Awards luncheon, held in Annapolis on Friday, May 10. Five individual staff members representing every facet of the Coastal Point, from editorial to advertising, received awards at the luncheon.
“I’m proud of our staff. They work hard, and they care about our community. It’s very nice to see them be rewarded for their work,” said Coastal Point Publisher Susan Lyons. The Coastal Point competes with other newspapers in a tier encompassing papers with circulations between 10,000 and 20,000 copies per week. Best of Show competition then pits against each other category winners from all tiers — from nationally-known metro dailies to small local weeklies — to name the best of the best from across the region, no matter their staff size, circulation or budget.
Matt Metz, who joined the Coastal Point’s graphic arts team last year, won eight awards in all, including two Best of Show honors, for Advertising Design for Tailchasers and for Community Service Program for Troop 281.
Metz also won, in addition to placing first in those two categories, first-place awards for advertising pieces for the Cottage Café and Ike & Vina’s, as well as second-place awards for advertisements for Bethany Massage and Ropewalk.
“Matt has been a great find and has really jumped right in to add his own flair to our art department. His future is bright, and I’m glad I get a front-row seat to watch him continue to grow,” said Executive Editor Darin McCann.
Metz, who is a newcomer to the world of journalism, said, “It’s been great working with such a talented group of people, within a business to which I thought was dying. In fact, it’s still alive and well today, thanks to people that care. In fact, it has been an honor.”
Staff reporter Laura Walter won three awards, in the categories of Public Notice reporting, which refers to stories that are gleaned from the oft-ignored Public Notices section of the newspaper; Education Reporting; and General Social Media Reporting.
“Laura is a fantastic reporter, and an even better person,” McCann said. “That’s what makes her special. She is from here, and attended these schools. It matters to her — the schools, our environment, the citizens who vote people into office to represent them. Nobody cares more about doing the right thing, and I am just thrilled that unbiased professionals from outside the area recognized her terrific talent and hard work again this year.”
Of her first-place story titled “Michael’s heavy rains cause Mountaire overflow,” Walter said, “Here’s why an open and transparent government is so important: public notices might be the boring part of newspapers and government websites, but that’s how we learned about a wastewater treatment system failing and overflowing into Millsboro’s Swan Creek during heavy rains.”
Walter won another first place for her story titled “ACLU sues state over education funding inequality.”
“Delawareans are starting to notice the trouble with education funding. This lawsuit hit on challenges that even our local schools face in getting specialized instruction for student needs,” she said.
Walter’s second-place-winning General Social Media entry, “Storm Scientists,” depicted University of Delaware students and a stormy beachfront experiment on the impact of wave action on the shoreline.
Tom Maglio, who recently returned to the Coastal Point family as a member of its graphic arts team, brought home three awards — first and second place for the Coastal Point calendar in two different categories and a second-place for an advertisement for the Cottage Café.
“It was great to be able to represent Coastal Point again, especially shoulder to shoulder with Matt Mettz, who has been a joy to work alongside since returning. We’ve done some work together that I’m really proud of, and I expect an even better showing from us next year,” Maglio said.
“Tom is a seasoned pro now, and he continues to refine his talents every year. I’m proud of the artist he’s become and happy that he was recognized for his hard work,” McCann said.
McCann himself received first-place awards for two of his columns, “Some simple words can have a dramatic impact” and “We need to put more focus on local elections.”
“I’m thankful and appreciative of being recognized for the columns. They are a labor of love, and it’s rewarding when someone other than my mother appreciates them,” McCann said.
Technical Director and Renaissance Man Shaun Lambert won a second-place award this year for a sports photo of Declan Burke.
“You know you have a one-of-a-kind job when you’re happy to come into work with the talented people that the Coastal Point seems to attract. It’s always a pleasure to see those people who pour their hearts and souls into their job get recognized for their hard work,” Lambert said.
Of Lambert, who has been with the Coastal Point since its beginning, McCann said, “Shaun is an artist in every sense of the word. He is recognized every year for his efforts, and I’m always wondering if it’s going to be for photography, page design or ad design. He is a talented guy, and he earns every accolade he gets.”
Lyons also reflected on a particularly poignant aspect of this year’s luncheon.
“Every year I go to the MDDC awards ceremony, and it is always special,” Lyons said. “I get to see the looks of pride as different members of the Coastal Point staff get recognized for their hard work and continuing efforts. It reminds me of why we do what we do.
“But this year was different,” she said. “It was a time of celebration for the winners but also a time of reflection. You see, June 28 will be the one-year anniversary of when four journalists and one ad rep were gunned down in the newsroom of the Annapolis Capital Gazette.
“This year’s conference was in their honor, dedicated to Rob Hiaasen, an assistant editor and columnist; Wendi Winters, a community correspondent who headed up special publications; Gerald Fischman, the editorial page editor; John McNamara, a longtime sports reporter; and Rebecca Smith, a sales assistant.
“But it was also in honor of the entire Capital Gazette staff who are still dealing with the awful aspects of witnessing this horrific and senseless tragedy, and yet were still determined to put out a newspaper the very next day and every day after that,” Lyons said.
“To be in the same room with these journalists was truly an honor, and they have all of our respect,” she said.
By Kerin Magill