NORFOLK, Va. (AP) – Anne Adams, editor and publisher of The Recorder in Bath and Highland Counties, has been named the winner of the Virginia Press Association’s 24th annual D. Lathan Mims Award for Editorial Leadership in the Community. The award was presented Saturday at the association’s annual meeting in Norfolk.
The award, presented for work published between Dec. 1, 2009, and Dec. 31, 2010, is named for the late D. Lathan Mims, a former editor and general manager of the Daily News-Record and a former president of the press association. The award was first presented in 1988 for the 1986-87 contest year.
The competition was judged by Jane See White, editorial writer at the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson. A graduate of Hollins University, she has worked for the Associated Press, The Roanoke Times, The Kansas City Star, The Arizona Republic and Thomson Medical Economics. She is an adjunct instructor at the University of Arizona School of Journalism.
Of the winning entry, White wrote:
“Anne Adams has guts. She knows Bath and Highland counties, she understands the challenges the community faces and as the editorial voice of The Recorder, she doesn’t hesitate to lay it all out for her readers.
“It doesn’t hurt that she writes well, with clarity and passion, and that she can marshal her facts in support of her positions. There’s no meanness or incivility at play here, just the facts, ma’am, and The Recorder’s take on them. Always this take is couched in a deep understanding of the community’s unique qualities, its strengths and its needs. What lucky readers The Recorder has.
“For instance, The Recorder has insisted that Highland New Wind Development must have in hand a federal take permit for endangered species before building 400-foot wind turbines on Allegheny Mountain. A similar project in Greenbrier County was halted by a lawsuit, even though its towers already had been built. The Recorder warned that if the project proceeded without its permit, it would face a similar lawsuit, a costly one that would certainly be filed as well against the county and its taxpayers.
“Further, The Recorder stood up for the community, pointing out that citizens who oppose the project aren’t necessarily against wind energy, but rather ‘they’re opposed to the location of the 400-foot towers this company chose in our community, and the lack of adequate planning in this case to avoid negative environmental impacts.’
“The Recorder consistently demands that a balance be struck between maintaining the extraordinary natural assets of Bath and Highland counties and ‘progress’ and commerce.
“The Recorder also explored a bizarre state school funding formula that inexplicably penalizes Highland and Bath counties, demanding reform; it pointed out an undue burden imposed on its schools by the state and federal governments’ ‘catchall’ education achievement standards; it brought into the light open meetings violations by Highland supervisors; it praised a local state lawmaker’s advocacy for a bipartisan redistricting commission; it pointed out that residents needn’t willy-nilly oppose all efforts to improve tourism, and explained why.
The Mims competition is for individual writers of editorials, signed commentaries or editorial page columns at a non-daily or specialty publication of any size or a daily publication with circulation of 40,000 or less.
The award was created to memorialize Mims’ conviction that newspapers and their editors should be active, caring parts of the communities they served. He believed that a newspaper should support those things which would make a community a better place in which to live and oppose those things which detract from the quality of life.
Entries are judged on skill in writing, clarity of position, fairness in handling of issues, appropriate use of pertinent facts, and vision of the community’s needs, both present and future.
Adams also won the Mims award in the 2007-08 contest year. P. Lea Campbell, who preceded Adams as publisher of The Recorder also is a two-time winner of the Mims award.
John B. Edwards, of The Smithfield Times, has won the Mims competition three times. Other two-time winners have ben Robert Benson of the Danville Register and Bee; William C. O’Donovan of The Virginia Gazette in Williamsburg; and Ken Woodley of The Farmville Herald.
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