By Sharon Dunten, editor of SPeachJ News; president, SPJ Georgia
Every year since 1950, the Green Eyeshade Awards have been given to the best in professional and collegiate journalism in southeastern U.S. Re-scored as the Green Eyeshade Excellence in Journalism Award by the Society of Professional Journalists, it still stands as an annual award in achievement for top-notch journalism from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia. The categories have lengthened to include not only print but television, radio and online.
So how did the name Green Eyeshade latch onto a journalism award? In a throwback to the late 19th century when copy editors labored hard in vision-intensive work with old-time incandescent lights, the idea of a visor to help lessen the eyestrain was born. To many editors working under less than desirable lighting conditions, the visor portion was designed with dark-colored celluloid to provide a “rest” for the eyes. The green eyeshade visor became a valuable part of the newsroom and was seen as a valuable asset along with typewriters and natural light through a window.
The 2014 Green Eyeshade Award winners from Georgia include:
Online Reporting: Second Place, Curt Yeomans, Clayton News Daily, “Morrow city manager hiring raises questions.”
Feature Writing/Small Dailies: First Place, Curt Yeomans, Clayton News Daily, “Love of the game.”
Humorous Commentary/Magazines: First Place, Mark Wallace Maguire, Cobb Life Magazine, “The Apple, The Tree and Letting It Be.”
Serious Commentary/Magazines: First Place, Susan Percy, Georgia Trend Magazine, Business causal columns
Documentaries/Radio: First Place, Jim Burress, WABE, “Stuck in the Bluff: AIDS, Heroin and One Group’s Illegal Quest to Save Lives.”
Videography/Online or Television: First Place, Fellicia Feaster, HGTV Gardens, “Future Farmers.”
Feature Writer in the South: Third Place: Ellen Eldridge, Reporter Newspapers, Clips from Reporter Newspapers
Editor’s Note: Curt Yeomans and Ellen Eldridge are SPJ and SPJ Georgia members.