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The Enterprise wins 5 state journalism awards

Posted on March 1, 2021

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Kay

Kay

The Enterprise ranks among North Carolina’s best small newspapers, according to results of an annual statewide competition. 

Judges awarded The Enterprise second place for general excellence, Division A, in the North Carolina Press Association’s 2020 News, Editorial and Photojournalism Contest. The award recognizes overall quality in news coverage, writing, photography and design. Reporter Lindell J. Kay earned four individual awards in the contest. 

Awards were announced Friday in a virtual presentation due to the COVID-19 pandemic and state restrictions on mass gatherings. The association customarily holds an awards banquet. 

“It’s a great honor to receive a general excellence award in our highly competitive circulation class,” said Corey Friedman, editor of The Enterprise and executive editor for parent company Restoration NewsMedia. “We hope this shows our readers that we’re working hard to bring them the news and tell the stories that makes this community a special place.” 

TRAVIS LYNCH CASE

Kay won first place in investigative reporting for “What Happened to Travis Lynch?” The series of stories examined Lynch’s disappearance and likely death in southern Nash County. 

The 21-year-old Wilson man vanished on Christmas Eve 2003 and was last seen alive with his girlfriend, who lived on Claude Lewis Road near Middlesex at the time.

Investigators believe Lynch was murdered and have uncovered new evidence in the case since Kay began writing the series. 

A reward of up to $20,000 is being offered for information leading to an arrest. Anyone with information about Lynch’s case is asked to call Maj. Miste Strickland of the Nash County Sheriff’s Office at 252-532-4574.

‘DOGGED DETERMINATION’

Kay earned first place in city and county government reporting for his coverage of a scathing 2020 state audit into Rocky Mount’s finances that revealed city officials wrote off $47,704 in unpaid utility bills a city councilman owed. The audit report also questioned City Manager Rochelle Small-Toney’s lavish spending on meals charged to Rocky Mount taxpayers.

State Auditor Beth Wood’s report doesn’t name the councilman, but through a public records request, Kay obtained an email that identifies him as Andre Knight, the mayor pro-tempore. The email is mentioned in the state audit, but the reference to Knight is redacted and replaced with the term  “council member.”

“Reporter Lindell J. Kay demonstrated dogged determination in getting to the bottom of a city scandal,” the contest judge wrote. “Terrific work.” 

Kay received a second-place award in election and political reporting for “Attack ads emerge in state Senate race,” which traced the source of mailers circulated in Nash and Johnston counties during Sen. Lisa Barnes’ campaign against Democratic challenger Allen Wellons.

“Goes beneath the surface and explains behind-the-scenes shenanigans in a clear and insightful way,” the judge wrote. “Good, enlightening political reporting.” 

Kay garnered a third-place honor in beat news reporting for a story detailing bid-rigging allegations against David Hunt, the contractor city officials selected to build a hotel, parking garage, retail outlets and a housing development surrounding the Rocky Mount Event Center. Hunt faced a federal indictment in Mississippi. 

“Good linkage between two stories, one out of state and the other in state, detailing community impact and course of action,” the judge wrote. 

SISTER PUBLICATIONS

The Enterprise is published by Restoration NewsMedia, a Wilson-based community newspaper company that owns five papers and provides design, consulting and management services to nearly a dozen others. Collectively, Restoration’s properties combined for 46 press association awards in the 2020 contest.

The Enterprise competes in NCPA Division A, consisting of all nondaily newspapers with circulation under 3,500. The Johnstonian News of Smithfield, also in Division A, received six awards.

The Wake Weekly of Wake Forest earned seven awards and the Butner-Creedmoor News in Creedmoor brought home eight. Both papers compete in Division B, nondaily newspapers with circulation between 3,500 and 10,000. 

The Wilson Times received 20 awards, including third-place general excellence honors, in Division D, daily newspapers with circulation under 12,500. 

Journalists from West Virginia Press Association member publications judged the 2020 contest in a reciprocal agreement with the North Carolina Press Association. To ensure impartiality, judges’ identities are not revealed to participants.  

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