Valley newspaper wins top journalistic honor for agricultural coverage

BestDailyandIsheeQuann_DailyNewsRecord_JessicaWetzlerandDanielLin_JAwardwinners_kd_191812The Daily News-Record in Harrisonburg captured Virginia Farm Bureau Federation’s 2019 Ishee-Quann Award for Media Excellence, the top honor in Farm Bureau’s annual Journalism Awards program. The newspaper, which serves one of the state’s most vibrant agricultural centers, also won in the award program’s daily newspaper category.

The Ishee-Quann Award is named in part for Jeff Ishee, co-host of Virginia Farming, which airs across Virginia and nationwide. Ishee also operates On the Farm, a daily, web-based farm news service. The late Homer Quann was WSVA radio’s farm news director for several decades and was known as the most dedicated agricultural reporter in Virginia.

VFBF Journalism Awards recognize exemplary ongoing coverage of agriculture issues, practices and events by print and broadcast news operations. Winners were honored Dec. 3 during the VFBF Annual Meeting in Norfolk.

  • In the category for weekly and semiweekly newspapers the Kilmarnock-based Rappahannock Record racked up its fourth consecutive win, and its 13thin the past 15 years.
  • Morning anchor Neesey Payne of WDBJ7 in Roanoke won in the television category.
  • Operations Manager Frank Wilt of WSVA in Harrisonburg won in the radio category.
  • Reporter Cathy Dyson of The Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg won the Members’ Choice Award, reserved for journalists nominated by county Farm Bureau leaders.
  • Honorable mentions went to Casey Fabris of The Roanoke Times, Adele Uphaus-Conner of The Free Lance-Star and Terry Beigie and Logan Bogert of the Greene County Record.

Farm Bureau judges praised Daily News-Record content for balanced coverage, quality photography and an obvious commitment to coverage of farm news, farming practices and farmers’ concerns. The paper serves not only the city of Harrisonburg, but also four surrounding counties in Virginia, and part of West Virginia.

Work submitted by the Rappahannock Record staff featured “colorful, engaging writing” and consistent, year-round coverage of agricultural topics, judges noted. The Record has served Virginia’s lower Northern Neck since 1916. Its coverage area is Lancaster County and parts of Northumberland, Richmond and Middlesex counties.

Judges praised the “uber-enthusiastic” Payne for the crossover appeal of her ongoing series of agricultural stories titled Grown Here At Home. The Pulaski County native also has worked in radio and print media. CBS affiliate WDBJ7 serves 26 counties in Southwest and Central Virginia.

Wilt co-hosts WSVA’s Early Mornings show, covers a broad range of agricultural topics and reports weather for stations in the Harrisonburg Radio Group. In 1935, WSVA became the first radio station to broadcast in the Shenandoah Valley. Listeners have long been reminded that the station’s call letters stand for We Serve Virginia Agriculture.

In addition to covering agricultural topics, Dyson writes feature and health articles, covers news in King George County and is a local columnist. The Free Lance-Star serves readers in Fredericksburg and parts of Spotsylvania, Stafford, King George, Caroline, Culpeper, Fauquier, Louisa, Orange, Prince William and Westmoreland counties.

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