From the Publisher: Post and Courier Columbia, Free Times reporters win 21 state awards | Columbia

Each year, the South Carolina Press Association holds a news contest that recognizes the best reporting and journalism in the state. We’re thrilled that Free Times and The Post and Courier were again recognized for the thoughtful, quality journalism our team produced.

Results for 2019 were announced on Sept. 18 after the SCPA’s annual meeting, which was rescheduled from March to September because of safety concerns around COVID-19. News staff working for Free Times earned 14 honors in the SCPA’s contest. The Post and Courier Columbia staff took home seven awards as well.

Notable achievements included Columbia-based reporter Joe Cranney, who won the Assertive Journalism Award for his work to build a database on the state’s judges for a series called “The Untouchables” that examined more than 1,000 ethics complaints. Cranney also served on the team that won first in Investigative Reporting in the daily newspapers over 30,000 circulation division. This award was in response to the team’s piece Above the Law, examining the state’s sheriffs.

Free Times Managing Editor Jordan Lawrence, alongside freelancer Kevin Oliver and Charleston Scene reporter Kalyn Oyer, won first place in the Arts and Entertainment Writing category among larger weekly newspapers for a piece on Hootie & the Blowfish.

Staff writer Chris Trainor took home the top honors in Food Writing among weekly papers for his experiences working a shift at a food vendor during the South Carolina State Fair. Post and Courier editorial writer Cindi Ross Scoppe won first place in the Editorial Writing category amongst all daily newspapers in the state, while University of South Carolina beat writer David Cloninger won for Sports Beat Reporting.

The Post and Courier Columbia and Free Times staff also won 15 second- and third-place awards.

Our team will continue to expand our local news and other content relevant to you through the launch of The Post and Courier Columbia alongside Free Times. In a time where local journalism is arguably more vital than ever, I invite you to support our efforts by subscribing at

The work that our reporters do continues to impress me each and every day.

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