The Laker and Lutz News received 11 honors at the Florida Better Weekly Newspaper Awards luncheon in St. Mary on July 24.
The winning entries were selected from a field of 1,600, in a competition judged by newspaper professionals from New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
B.C. Manion, the editor for The Laker/Lutz News, received six awards for her work, including a first place in obituary writing, and a first place in faith and family writing, for work published in The Laker.
And, she won third place in the categories of outdoor, and for arts, entertainment and reviewing reporting for work published in The Lutz News.
Photographer Fred Bellet, whose work is frequently featured in The Laker and in The Lutz News, won three first place awards and two-second place honors.
He won first place in the categories of sport picture, feature photo and photo series in one issue, for work published in The Laker. He also won second place in the categories of photo series in one issue and portfolio photography for work published in The Lutz News.
Manion’s winning entry in the faith and family reporting category detailed a church’s efforts to make the word of God accessible to people with hearing disabilities – through the installation of special equipment.
Her winning obituary detailed the life of Don Porter, whose influence played a significant role in shaping the development of Wesley Chapel.
The judges said the piece was “respectfully written — painted a complete picture of the man.”
Bellet’s winning entry in the feature photo category was of a World War II veteran, which the judges called “the standout photo” in its group, and said it “serves as a reminder that our World War II veterans are dwindling in number.”
Bellet also claimed top honors for a photo series featuring the Festival of Flights. The judges said: “A nice mix of shots, especially the little boy’s reaction and the evening shot of the balloons, that really brings the reader to this event.”
Bellet also captured a first place finish in the sports picture category for a photo capturing the precise instant of a skydiver’s landing. “A nice, tightly composed shot of an unusual sporting activity,” the judges said.
Manion’s other winning entries featured two stories from her Worth the Trip series, showcasing The Tampa Theatre and Bok Tower Gardens. She also was honored for an education story on a prize-winning custodian.
Bellet’s other winning entries featured a photo series featuring skydivers and a portfolio of photos.
Published July 29, 2015