The Coastal Courier recently earned several 2014 Georgia Press Association awards, which were formally announced last week at the association’s annual Better Newspaper Contest awards ceremony and banquet on Jekyll Island. The prizes recognize the best newspapers in Georgia for their achievements in reporting, writing, photography, website content creation, newspaper-page and special-section design and videography.
The Courier received first-place awards in four categories — magazine product for the fall 2013 edition of Liberty Life magazine, special issues for the 2013 Neighbors and Newcomers guide, humorous column writing for managing editor Hollie Moore Barnidge’s weekly “Welcome to Motherhood” column and best newspaper website in Georgia’s bi- and tri-weekly publications division.
“We were really pleased and proud of our first-place awards this year. Liberty Life magazine has been very popular with Liberty County readers, and we really put in the extra effort to create a high-quality editorial publication for the community,” Courier publisher Mark Griffin said. “Of course, we are proud of our efforts to maintain a strong, local online website with www.CoastalCourier.com. We are averaging over 200,000 page views every month, and many online readers depend on our website for up-to-date local news and information. We have a great staff that really cares about our community and it shows in our publications and websites.”
Barnidge concurred and reaffirmed Griffin’s assertion that the newspaper’s employees are committed to excellence.
“I’m thrilled my writing and our other winning entries were so well-received,” Barnidge said. “Creating top-notch print and online products we can be proud of — ones that showcase our community and meet the needs of our readers and website users — isn’t easy, but our staff has proven time and again they’re up to the challenge. The Courier is dedicated to telling Liberty County’s stories and efficiently delivering them to the public through variety of mediums, such as the paper itself, our special sections, magazine and websites.”
The Courier’s website has long been labeled one of the best newspaper sites in the state, having won first-place GPA awards in 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013.
“The staff here works hard to keep our site fresh and interesting because that’s what we think our readers want,” Courier website editor Pat Watkins said. “And our owner, Morris Multimedia, has provided us with a platform that makes updating the site easy.”
The Courier’s sister paper, the Bryan County News, came in first in the lifestyles-coverage category for its biweekly Life on the Hill section.
The newspapers were judged in divisions based on publication frequency and circulation. The Courier competes with other biweeklies and triweeklies, including the Douglas County Sentinel, the Henry Daily Herald, the Walton Tribune, the Covington News and the Clayton News Daily.