SCPA Annual Meeting & Awards

March 9-10, 2023

Congratulations 2022 Contest Winners!

Awards from the 2022 News Contest were presented March 10 in Columbia.
Here’s more about our Annual Meeting & Awards Presentation, presented by AT&T! 

Winners Presentation with Judges’ Comments

View and download slides containing winners’ name, newspaper and graphic representation. Contains judges’ comments for First Place winners, as well as Best of the Best and secret winners. Download high res PDF in SCPA’s DropBox or view/download lower res version in Issuu below (note that it is split in two parts). 

Annual Meeting Program


Photos are now live on SCPA’s Facebook page so you can view, download, tag and share them. Thanks to Gwinn Davis and Sydney Dunlap for doing a great job shooting this important event! 

President’s Award for Excellence


      • Under 3,000 Division — The Post and Courier North Augusta/The Star
      • 3,000-6,500 Division – Myrtle Beach Herald
      •  Over 6,500 Division – The Island News


      • Under 7,500 Division — Index-Journal
      • 7,500-20,000 Division — The Island Packet
      • Over 20,000 Division —The Post and Courier

Daily Journalist of the Year

Avery Wilks, The Post and Courier

This reporter functions best in a whirlwind of activity that sometimes makes him to appear to be everywhere at once – at least where South Carolina’s biggest stories are concerned. He’s one of most tenacious, focused and productive reporters that you will find, anywhere. His wide range of skills are showcased in his reporting on everything from the Murdaugh case to investigative work, the creation of a podcast and daily Tik-Toks… and he can be counted on throughout the football season to give running Twitter updates and commentary on every Carolina game. His range includes school district embezzlement and Jan. 6 insurrectionists from South Carolina, to the biggest South Carolina story of the year – Murdaugh. Avery Wilks is a reporter and writer with great instinct, remarkable investigative skills and a fluid writing style. 

Weekly Journalist of the Year

Abbie Sossamon, The Gaffney Ledger

In a close race, this journalist demonstrated remarkable coverage and participation in community affairs. In the handful of years since she joined the newspaper staff, she has immersed herself into the fabric of her community. From continuing reporting on a bitcoin mining operation and local crime to a couple celebrating a 75th wedding anniversary, she demonstrates range, talent and an eye for what counts in her community. She wears many hats – writer, photographer, page designer, news editor and associate publisher. And she’s making her family proud as the fifth generation of the Sossamon family to be associated with The Gaffney Ledger.

Daily Photojournalist of the Year

Andrew J. Whitaker, The Post and Courier

Photographer shows tremendous versatility, capturing news, sports and features equally. Compositionally, the photographer has a great eye for making an image stand out. Technically, the overall quality of the photos is excellent. And the photo story is terrific, with a wide variety of images to draw the viewer in. In an incredibly competitive class of entries, it should be noted that this year’s winner takes top prize for the THIRD year in a row.

Weekly Photojournalist of the Year

Janet Morgan, Myrtle Beach Herald

Outstanding composition. Good use of unique angles. Good use of lighting. Great timing on sports shots.

Daily Assertive Journalism Award

Tony Bartelme, The Post and Courier

Judges commended Bartelme for an impressive body of work. Covering numerous topics in which he took on North Charleston’s politically powerful mayor; a long-buried rape allegation made against a powerful sheriff in Sumter County by one of his former deputies; mysterious deaths at SC State, and mold problems not only there, but at colleges and universities all over South Carolina, makes his work stand out. He relentlessly and methodically works to expose injustices, giving a voice to people who have been wronged and light to difficult stories that have long been overlooked or hidden from public view.

Honorable Mention

David Weissman, The Sun News

“Cashed Out” had a lot of digging and Weissman proved adept at overcoming obstacles and writing the story. The project dove into the complicated world of structured settlements and targeted the industry’s big national players like JG Wentworth, their slick lawyers and the S.C. judges who seemed to be in their pockets. Weissman stood up to these big dogs, refusing to back down when they barked, growled and even bit. It appears that his reporting will lead to a change in the law, putting teeth in it and protecting sellers for the first time in our state’s history.

Weekly Assertive Journalism Award

Barbara Ball, The Voice of Blythewood

Barbara Ball shows incredible strength and assertiveness in standing her ground against small town government. Without her work, there’s no telling what Blythewood Town Council would get away with. Judges said they’d never seen such an attack on a local journalist by a public body and said Ball withstanding those attacks and continuing to report is the essence of assertive journalism. 

Honorable Mention

Christian Boschult, Myrtle Beach Herald

Myrtle Beach Herald journalists, led by reporter Christian Boschult, delivered investigative reporting that punched above the paper’s weight, questioning those who have power and elevating the voices of those who do not.

Daily Montgomery/Shurr FOI Award

The Post and Courier

For the breadth and depth of their work, The Post and Courier wins this top honor. The newspaper extensively used the FOIA throughout 2022 and filed open records requests on an almost daily basis to bring crucial information to light for their readers. Highlight projects include Mold U and Uncovered. They used FOIAs to expose corruption, profligate spending, government dysfunction and more. News and editorial page efforts solidified their reputation for holding governments accountable.

Weekly Montgomery/Shurr FOI Award

Travis Jenkins, The News & Reporter

Jenkins’ work exhibited textbook examples on how FOIA requests can lead to uncovering misdeeds and yield accountability in journalism topics. There was also follow-up editorial work to encourage openness in public bodies, something that is a service to newspaper readers.

 Jim Davenport Award for Excellence in Government Reporting

Joseph Bustos, The State

The late Jim Davenport was a tenacious reporter known for his fair and aggressive coverage of state government and political matters. During his 13 years with The Associated Press, Davenport cultivated sources because those he covered respected his ethics, his compassion, his tireless work ethic and his desire to hold those in power accountable for their actions.
Today’s recipient is the go-to reporter on the Legislature and politics for his newspaper. He does the job exceptionally well.
In his few years on the State House beat, he has easily tackled beats that include the budget, the U.S. Senate race between Lindsey Graham and Jaime Harrison, the governor’s office and the now starting 2024 presidential race.
During the contest period, this reporter kept busy with a focus on explaining to South Carolinians exactly how their tax dollars were being spent.
He wrote about the Legislature’s budget priorities after lawmakers looked to give a $1 billion one-time rebate back to taxpayers, and explained to readers just how the tax reform plan pushed by State House leaders would actually affect them. He also analyzed a Senate funding plan that in turn actually would give more money to wealthier districts, and he reported that salaries will increase next year for the state’s top officers in part to find better candidates.
He analyzed the new chairman of the Senate Finance Committee after Sen. Hugh Leatherman’s death last year, and Rep. Murrell Smith, who this past year was elected the House’s new speaker, giving him more power over the Legislature’s lower chamber.
He covers complex issues professionally and with depth, but also makes them digestible for readers. For his effectiveness in covering government and public matters, we recognize Joe Bustos of The State with the Jim Davenport Award for Excellence in Government Reporting.

2023 S.C. Journalism Hall of Fame Inductees

Scott Hunter  (1949-2018)
Aiken Standard

Read more about Hunter.

Louis Cody Sossamon  (1921-2019)
The Gaffney Ledger


Thanks sponsors! 

We could not have a successful, affordable meeting without the help of these generous sponsors. Please take a moment to get to know the representatives of these special organizations! 


Illinois Press Association
Public Notice Illinois | | Advanced Contest Entry System


Dominion Energy

University of South Carolina College of Information and Communications



Associated Press

Carl F. Muller Attorney at Law, P.A.

Creative Circle Media Solutions

Harrison Radeker & Smith, P.A.

OnPremise Networks



Winthrop University Department of Mass Communication


South Carolina Press Association Foundation Smoak Fund

Duplicate Awards and Plaque Bases

Duplicate awards are available for purchase. Duplicate engraved First Place plaques are $35. Duplicate Second and Third Place certificates are $2 each. If you’d like to frame your Second or Third Place award, wooden plaque bases are available for $25. Prices include shipping. To order, please contact us.

Winners Badge

If you have any questions, contact Jen Madden or call SCPA at (803) 750-9561.