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Media Law Awards Presented

Media Law Awards Presented

Scott Sexton accepts award from NCBA President Jacqueline Grant.

The 2018 North Carolina Bar Association Media and the Law Awards were presented on Thursday, March 21, at the annual meeting of the North Carolina Press Association.

Jacqueline Grant, president of the NCBA and the North Carolina Bar Foundation, presented the awards.

“The North Carolina Bar Association is proud to again help sponsor the North Carolina Press Association Winter Institute and present the North Carolina Bar Association’s annual Media and the Law awards,” Grant said. “We embrace the relationship between our two organizations that dates back to our establishment in 1899.”

The Media and the Law awards program was established by the NCBA in 1989. Judging is conducted by the NCBA Communications Committee based on accurate, informative coverage of law-related issues which fosters greater public understanding of the legal system and the role of lawyers in society.

Renee Spencer, left, accepts award from NCBA President Jacqueline Grant.

Media and the Law Awards were presented in three categories: Best Daily Newspaper Article, Best Community Newspaper Article, and Best Series.

President Grant’s introduction of each recipient read as follows:

Scott Sexton of the Winston-Salem Journal is this year’s recipient in the category of Best Daily Newspaper Article. Sexton tells a poignant story about the Forsyth County Veterans Treatment Court, the program’s impact on the lives of its graduates, and funding challenges faced by the program in spite of its success. The strength of Sexton’s article is exemplified by his selection of the following quote for the lead sequence, in which a 63-year-old Navy veteran and program graduate states, “It was worth it. I have a lot better relationship with my oldest sister and younger people in my family. When I go to family reunions now, I’m Uncle Nick instead of that old guy who came just to get drunk.”

Renee Spencer of The State Port Pilot is this year’s recipient in the category of Best Community Newspaper Article.

Virginia Bridges, left, accepts award from NCBA President Jacqueline Grant.

This is the second time she has received this award. This year’s honor is presented for “Local ICE arrest raises questions.” States one of the NCBA members who judged the award, “This article put a face on the immigration matter, and the tactics that we are using to address it. I wish it had wider distribution. What would you do if you were suddenly picked up and taken to a country that you did not know, without identification, money, or contacts, and left in a dangerous area in the middle of the night?”

Virginia Bridges of The Herald Sun in Durham is being honored tonight in the category of Best Series for her in depth coverage of five murder suspects who were released from jail after a judge unsecured their bonds. Stated one of the attorneys judging this category, “The author made a good effort to explain how the efforts of the criminal justice system don’t always comply with our ideals, and one judge’s efforts to make sure that even the accused murderers among us get the benefits of ‘innocent until proven guilty.’ “