Back in the spring, The Parsons Advocate submitted several photographs and articles that were published amongst different issues for judging. This annual competition is held by the West Virginia Press Association and each spring they set out to request submissions from local newspapers in several different categories, such as photography, articles derived from legal notices, and many more.
The Parsons Advocate reporter Heather Clower submitted a handful of entries for their consideration though being newer to the newspaper world, didn’t expect much. “I knew they weren’t bad stories,” said Clower, “but I didn’t realize they were as good as the judges thought they were.” Prior to receiving a position with The Parsons Advocate, she had little writing experience but really enjoyed her new career and caught on quickly with the help of veteran editor, Mikie Dumire. “If not for her guidance and patience, I never would have been able to produce stories of any quality,” Clower said.
Clower and Dumire decided to submit the stories together and decided which categories they would fall best into. The deadline was toward the end of March and nothing has been heard since. Dumire knew the association awards dinner would held in August, though due to scheduling neither she or Clower were able to attend. “I just assumed since it was already the end of August we just didn’t get anything,” Dumire said. To their surprise, she received a notice of not just one, but three awards earned by Clower and The Parsons Advocate.
Awards earned were third place in the category of feature photography for a picture under the newly repaired bridge on Route 38 from the flood in 2018, first place in feature photography for a photo captured at the Ranch Sorting National Championships of a contestant exiting a barn with his horse, and first place for reporting generated from a public notice as a result of the proposed hydro plant. There are several divisions and categories where entries compete amongst other similar weekly publications as well as the number of readers reached.
“It was a very unexpected honor,” said Clower about her awards. “I am proud to work for our community and have been blessed to experience so many things I never would have without this opportunity.” This is the first time in over a decade The Parsons Advocate has received any awards within the WV Press Association.