Newspapers from across the country submitted a total of 2,900 entries in various categories. The News received one first place award and one third place award.
The hometown paper placed third in the Best Local News Coverage category in its size division.
This is an immense honor, CCN Editor Kevin Cummings said. To go head to head with newspapers from Maine to Maui and be judged among the elite in a category like local news coverage is a tremendous testament to our staff and this county.
NNA judges were pleased with certain key strengths of the News, observing that the paper provides a focused, detailed account of local business, law enforcement and government activities.
The staff diversity and community diversity evidenced in the newspaper, judges noted, was the product of a creative and talented group of individuals.
In addition, NNA officials applauded other aspects of the News: the paper also provides excellent coverage of education and business, offers readers interesting human interest feature stories, and presents a detailed community calendar.
NNA official Terri Loughery said a win in this category is very exciting.
Best Local News Coverage speaks to your newspaper as a whole, she said.
Loughery added that the judges reviews and commentaries were extensive and indicative of the strength of the publication as it relates to the local (community).
The NNA judges reviewed work from 2004, which the CCN staff compiled under the leadership of former Editor Stan Guess and former News Editor Chris Zelk.
The 2004 CCN editorial staff consisted of writers Randall Franks and Kevin Cummings; photographer April Hill; sports writer Misty Martin, and feature writers Naman Crowe and Jeff O Bryant.
Cummings, now editor of The Catoosa County News, received first-place recognition in the Serious Column category in the national contest for his February 18, 2004 article, Morning of the abortion.
Wow, judges said. An amazing column, especially for this circulation (and) classification. The piece moves quickly, yet leaves a reader emotionally enriched.
According to Loughery, entries in the Serious Column category are judged on the timeliness of the topic, significance of the material to the community, suitable handling of the topic, appearance and originality.
Cummings chose an outstanding topic, judges said, and prefaced it with outstanding writing. The article was one of the best entries I've ever read, said one judge.
Morning of the abortion also garnered Cummings first-place recognition from the Georgia Press Association (GPA) this year.
I dont feel like this was my best written column, Cummings said, but I wrote it from the heart.
My son is my world, he said. I hope the story of his life can illuminate the hearts and minds of others at least a tenth of how he has blessed me.
The Catoosa County News won a total of 11 awards in this years Georgia Press Association competition, including placing second in the category of general excellence.