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Telephone earns six state awards

The Sylvania Telephone claimed six Georgia Press Association awards at the annual banquet on the PeachState’s coast June 5 at the Jekyll Island Club Hotel.

In the state’s largest division of newspapers with its 42 of similar circulation, the Telephone earned the honors in photography, writing, editorial cartoons and informational graphics.

“It isn’t easy winning awards in our sizable division of weekly newspapers against quality publications,” said Enoch Autry, Telephone publisher-editor. “I attribute our newest accolades to the hard work our staff and the blessing of living in this fine community.

Autry won four awards – three for photography and one for column writing. Robert Lee Davis placed in the category for editorial cartoonists, while Eric Robinson placed in the information graphics category.

In the Sports Feature Photograph category, Autry claimed first place with his photo published Nov. 6, 2008, of Georgia Southern Eagle kicker Patrick Bolen hoisting Ty Hatcher so the youngster could headbutt the bust of the legendary Erk Russell before an Eagle football game at Paulson Stadium. Ty Hatcher is the son of GSU head football coach Chris Hatcher.

“Features are ‘slice of life’ photos that rarely get the same play on the page as the action shot,” penned the judge about the 2009 first-place winning photo. “But this image tells an important story that has nothing to do with final scores. It’s about tradition – the past, present and future coming together. Few people probably saw this moment until they picked up the paper, but tradition is a part of sports at every level, and it was well captured here.”

Since the Sports Feature Photograph category was added to the GPA contest in 2005, Autry has won first place in the category three times and has placed in the category four years. In 2006, Autry took first, second and third in the category.

Autry also won second and third places in the Sports Photograph category for two action plays at home plate.

The second-place photo, published March 20, was of ScrevenCountyMiddle School catcher Blake Evans tagging BurkeCounty’s Justin Thigpen out at home plate.

“Good angle to show the sprawling legs and arms,” wrote the judge.

Published Aug. 21, the third-place photo was of Lauren Thomas sliding into home plate during the Lady Gamecocks’ first game at their new softball facility on the ScrevenCountyHigh School campus.

“This time it’s a softball slide with good expression and action,” the judge wrote.

“I suppose the judge really liked plays at the plate,” Autry said. The first place winner, incidentally, was an upclose photo of two grappling football players from MorganCounty.

Autry has placed in the Sports Photograph category three of the six years he has been publisher-editor of the Telephone.

The publisher-editor also won second place for Humorous Column. Last year Autry won third place in the category.

Autry’s winning entry contained three of his columns written in 2008. The grouping included the June 19 column about kazoo prizes for parents of babies born 40 weeks after the “Day of Conception,” a population enhancer ballyhooed by Autry; an Aug. 7 column about the adventures of taking the Autry children school clothes shopping; and a Dec. 18 one about confused frogs who obviously did not realize that mid-December is not the traditional time of year for the amphibians to be hopping across the roadway.

Robert Lee Davis earned third place out of all the non-daily newspapers in the state in the Editorial Cartoonist category.

Davis has placed in the editorial cartoonist category four consecutive years.

“Some people just flat out impress me. They can do things that I, in my wildest dreams, couldn’t do. Robert Lee Davis is such a person,” Autry said. “He can take a concept, churn it and whip it around in his mind, and then gracefully depict it through his drawings. My stick figures just don’t have the same pizzazz.

Davis has all that talent and he is a top-notch person too,” Autry said.

The three editorial cartoons in Davis’ entry were the May 22 drawing of Hillary Clinton as the Energizer bunny still going and going in the campaign for the Democratic nomination; the July 31 cartoon about lots of money for the “Big Oil” piggy bank, less cash for the health care and retirement piggy bank and a cost-of-living piggy bank cracking and losing money; and the Oct. 30 cartoon about the Screven County sheriff’s race between incumbent Mike Kile and Mike Bohannon as the two “cowboy” candidates prepare to have a Mike vs. Mike “This here town ain’t big enough fer’ the both of us” duel.

Former staff writer Eric Robinson won third place in the Information Graphic category. Robinson now is a sports editor at a daily newspaper in North Carolina.

“Robinson can write well, take splendid photographs, design spectacular pages and create graphics that grab ya,” Autry said. “With that combination, Robinson has a very promising career ahead of him.”

The graphics in Robinson’s entry were the Jan. 31 line drawing renderings of Democrat and Republican primary candidates for president; the Feb. 28 timeline that showed important dates in the growth of the local Keep Screven Beautiful; and a May 29 full-page display of individual photographs of the Class of 2008 with a group picture of the graduates laid on top.