3 awards go to Observer

The Charlotte Observer won three Green Eyeshade Awards in the 58th annual competition among Southeastern newspapers.

Bruce Henderson, Elizabeth Leland and John Simmons won first place in non-deadline news for “A Cry for the Catawba,” an eight-part series published last October.

Henderson, Leland and Simmons traveled the 225-mile length of the Catawba River to document its critical role in the region's future. The journalists took boats, drove, hiked and even kayaked to get to key points, from the Catawba's headwaters in the Blue Ridge Mountains to its southernmost point, Lake Wateree in South Carolina. The series emphasized the majesty and beauty of the Catawba, but also cast an unsparing eye on the effects of massive development and a series of droughts.

Metro columnist Tommy Tomlinson won a first place in serious commentary for a series of 2007 columns, including his exploration of the famous 1957 photo of 15-year-old Dorothy Counts entering Harding High. Other columns included a trip to the new Mecklenburg courthouse, where Tomlinson followed the heartbroken parents of a young man who was in trouble with the law.

Metro columnist Mary Curtis won second place in political reporting for her columns from the campaign trail during the S.C. presidential primaries.

Charlotte Magazine won three awards in the magazine competition. Street and Smith's SportsBusiness Journal, based in Charlotte, won two awards.

The Charlotte Business Journal won a first place in breaking news for non-daily papers. Among small dailies in the region, Chris Verner of the Salisbury Post won first place in serious commentary.

WFAE-FM radio placed in three categories. In television, Steve Crump took second place in public affairs reporting for a WTVI-TV documentary on school integration.

The Green Eyeshades are sponsored by the Society of Professional Journalists and honor outstanding journalism from 11 southeastern states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia.

The Jackson Herald, a weekly newspaper published in Jefferson, Ga., took the “Best in Show,” the competition's highest honor, for a two-month investigation of the local district attorney's office.