Courier named one of state’s top newspapers

COLUMBIA — The Pickens County Courier was honored as one of the best newspapers in the state at Saturday’s annual South Carolina Press Association meeting.

Competing with the largest weekly newspapers from around the state, the Courier was awarded second place in the prestigious general excellence category in the SCPA’s annual news contest. General excellence is based on a set of criteria including every aspect of journalism, including content, writing, design, editing, headlines, use of photographs, editorial page quality, sports and lifestyle coverage. The Courier finished second in the weekly over 4,500 circulation division.

“I am so proud of our staff for all the hard work, dedication and diligence they have put forth to ensure Pickens County has one of the best newspapers in the entire state of South Carolina,” Courier publisher Rocky Nimmons said. “This is an award that we strive for with each and every issue we produce. We feel our subscribers, readers and advertisers deserve the very best newspaper to call their own.”

In addition to the general excellence award, Courier editor Zack Mauldin received a first-place plaque in the front page design portfolio category competing against the largest weekly newspapers in the state and the state’s two to three times weekly publications. Mauldin also earned second place in the feature page design portfolio contest competing against all weekly papers in South Carolina.

“I have watched Zack develop into the best page designer and editor I have ever worked with in my 36-year career,” Nimmons said. “He just has a knack for making everything he does jump off the page. As incredible as his design skills are, his ability to make each story he edits better is what makes the Courier entertaining to our readers.”

The news contest honors came just months after Courier graphic designer Emily Wright received a dozen awards in the press association’s annual PALMY advertising contest, including a Best in Show award in the less than 8,500 circulation division for an ad for Behavioral Health Services of Pickens County.

Wright also won first place awards in the professional services, outdoors/recreation, food and health services categories for her work on ads for Dillard-Hillcrest, Southern Appalachian Outdoors, the Six Mile Farmers Market and Behavioral Health, respectively.

Wright took both second and third place in the home and garden category for ads for Dixie Lumber and Buddy’s Chain Saw, and also had second-place finishes in public services for an ad for Pickens View Wesleyan Church, health services for an ad for Baptist Easley, merchant group or sig page for Small Business Saturday and newspaper promotion for a Courier house ad.

She also took third-place honors for an ad for Bee Well Honey in the food category and a third-place award in the restaurants category for an ad for McDonald’s.

“We are truly blessed to have the incredible talent of Emily Wright on our staff,” Nimmons said. “Emily has the ability to draw the eye of the reader to any advertisement she creates. She brings customers into local businesses by producing some of the best ads in the state year in and year out. She is a huge part what make the Pickens County Courier the county’s favorite newspaper.”

Since its founding in 2007, the Courier has now received nearly 120 statewide awards for every aspect of the paper — from advertising, writing news, features, columns and sports to photography and a variety of page design categories — but Saturday’s general excellence award is the most prestigious yet.

“We take pride in saying the Courier is Pickens County’s newspaper,” Nimmons said. “We would be nothing without the support of the people of Pickens County. We will strive to keep getting better each and every week, because you deserve the best we have to offer. From Zack and Emily to Iva Stratton, Mignonne Matheson, Jason Evans, Ron Barnett, Olivia Fowler, Bru Nimmons the inserters and route carriers and all those who contribute, we all want just one thing, and that is for you — the subscriber, reader or advertiser — to be proud to call the Courier your newspaper.”