Taylor Batten, editorial page editor of the Observer, was named Monday as winner of the Carmage Walls Commentary Prize, presented by the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association.
Batten won in the large-newspaper division (over 50,000 circulation), while Keith Magill, executive editor of the Houma (La.) Courier, won in the smaller category.
The award is named for Walls, a longtime newspaper owner who battled segregation in the South. He died in 1998.
Batten was honored for his series of five editorials on negotiations between the Carolina Panthers and the City of Charlotte over public financing for stadium improvements.
“Not every community possesses a major sports franchise, and not every reader is a sports fan,” the panel of judges said in a statement. “But when a writer with Taylor Batten’s skill tackles the topic of public financing for stadium improvements, it doesn’t matter.
“His engaging writing drew in the judges.”
Magill wrote a series of columns about Hurricane Isaac. He previously won the award in 2005 and 2010.
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