Fort Mill Times

Fort Mill Times wins journalism awards

Mac Banks, Catherine Muccigrosso, Mike Harrison, Jennifer Becknell and Amanda Harris hold their awards at Saturday's SCPA annual meeting and awards luncheon.
Mac Banks, Catherine Muccigrosso, Mike Harrison, Jennifer Becknell and Amanda Harris hold their awards at Saturday's SCPA annual meeting and awards luncheon.

The Fort Mill Times and its sister newspapers won more than 30 awards in the 2015 South Carolina Press Association newspaper contest.

Awards were announced Saturday during the SCPA’s annual meeting, held this year at The Marriott and presented by the Columbia Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau. The annual contest, which recognizes excellence in print and digital journalism, is judged by SCPA officials and out-of-state press associations. The 2015 entries were judged by the Virginia Press Association.

The Fort Mill Times brought home six awards, including three for first place. Correspondent Amanda Harris won first place in the Series of Articles category for her stories about a Fort Mill family’s struggles with Alzheimer’s disease. The judges called it a “well-written series taking a local approach to a feared illness.” Harris is a native of Charleston and a graduate of Winthrop University.

Former Times Sports Editor Mac Banks, a graduate of Fort Mill High School and Winthrop University who is now a sports correspondent for the paper, won a first-place award in Sports Enterprise Reporting for his feature on Miami Marlins prospect KJ Woods. Banks spent time with Woods, a Fort Mill High grad now playing in the Marlins’ minor league system, and Woods’ family and some members of the team to get a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to be a professional baseball player.

The judges called Banks’ work “excellent storytelling.”

Banks also won two awards for Spot Sports Reporting, including one for a story about a basketball player on the autism spectrum getting varsity playing time.

Fort Mill Times Editor Michael Harrison won a first-place award for Best Use of Social Media and a second place for Feature Video for one capturing the sights and sounds of Carowinds’ debut of the Fury 325 roller coaster. On the use of social media, the judges remarked, “Terrific engagement in the form of likes, shares and comments. Great job live-tweeting news, events and sports.”

John Marks, a reporter for the Times and sister weekly the Lake Wylie Pilot, won a second-place award for Public Service for a series about a Lake Wylie charity that ran in the Pilot. Catherine Muccigrosso, editor of the Pilot, won a first-place award for Breaking News Reporting for her story about people who came to the rescue of a driver trapped in a burning vehicle after a crash. She also won third place in Feature Video documenting the blooming of a rare flower.

The Herald, the Times’ sister daily, brought home more than two dozen awards, including three first-place awards. One is for a series by government reporter Bristow Marchant for his coverage of the Chester landfill file. Sports Editor Bret McCormack won first place in the Sports Enterprise Reporting category.

Also at the meeting, Harrison was elected to serve on the SCPA’s Executive Committee. For the past several years he has served on the association’s contest rules committee.

All three newspapers are part of the East Coast Newspapers group owned by Sacramento-based McClatchy Co.