The Charleston City Paper on Friday won two first place opinion awards in the SC Press Association’s 2021 contest for the best journalism in the state. It also won first place in mixed media illustration.

Best editorial.  The newspaper’s 2021 editorial team of past editor Sam Spence and publisher Andy Brack won best editorial writing in the state for weekly newspapers.  Judges wrote: “Hard-hitting and unafraid should be the goal of every newspaper. This paper is most certainly unafraid.”  Editorials cited included a February 2021 piece on how Charleston County officials need to remember they work for taxpayers and a September 2021 commentary on how the state’s transparency law keeps the public in the dark.

Best cartoon.  Cartoonist Robert Ariail’s weekly “Lowcountry” cartoon feature took home the top honor as best cartoon for all newspapers in South Carolina.  “The artist got the point across well with these cartoons,” contest judges said. “Good job!”  Veteran City Paper cartoonist Steve Stegelin nabbed third place for his wry look at politics in the Palmetto State.  

Best mixed media illustration.  Art director Scott Suchy, a perennial winner for his illustrations, received the top honor for a mixed media illustration related to COVID-19.  “Eye-catching and creative graphic,” judges wrote. “Excellent!”

“These awards reflect the newspaper’s continuing commitment to provide incisive commentary that encourages our community to discuss issues that make a difference,” Brack said today.  “A little over two years ago, we offered periodic commentaries but didn’t even have a formal editorial page.  And now we’re recognized as the best in the state.  We’re blown away by this recognition from our peers.”

About 80 news organizations made 3,000 entries in more than 250 categories in the awards announced Friday in a Columbia ceremony.  Other awards won by City Paper staffers include:

  • Best weekly newspaper website, second place: Staff.
  • Best feature page design for a weekly over 6,500 circulation, second place: Scott Suchy.
  • Best profile feature writing or story for a weekly over 6,500, third place: Samantha Connors.
  • Best lifestyle feature writing for a weekly over 6,500, third place: Samantha Connors.
  • Best news feature writing for a weekly over 6,500, third place: Sam Spence.