Alexandria Times wins nine VPA awards

Alexandria Times wins nine VPA awards
(File Photo)

By Denise Dunbar |

Alexandria Times employees won nine Virginia Press Association awards for their work during 2021, including five first place awards, one second place and three third place awards.

Times editor Cody Mello-Klein led the way by winning the open competition for feature writing for his story “Going for Gold” about Alexandria resident Briana Scurry, the star goalie of the women’s soccer team that won the gold medal in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. In the open category, Mello-Klein was not only competing against other weekly papers like the Times; he was judged to have written the best feature story in all categories, including those submitted by daily papers.

The Times won first place for its Port City Flavor food section designs, with stories by Mello-Klein, reporter Olivia Anderson and former intern Will Schick, design by former staff graphic designer Lyvian Sieg and ad sales directed by Margaret Stevens.

The team of Sieg, Times office administrator and graphic designer Tina Franco and part-time designer Sepideh Karaee won three more first place awards for their design of ads in the real estate, fashion and entertainment categories.

Times publisher Denise Dunbar won second place for her editorial writing entry, which included “Remembering 9/11,” from Sept. 2, 2021; “All systems failed,” Sept. 9, 2021; and “Toothless Sunshine Law,” Nov. 18, 2021.

Reporter Olivia Anderson won third place for her investigative reporting on the Karla Dominguez murder case. The three stories in this package were: “Bondsman’s gun used in murder of Dominguez,” from Sept. 9, 2021; “Bondsman in Karla Dominguez case charged,” Oct. 7, 2021; and “Magistrate fired over comments to Times,” Oct. 21, 2021.

The Times team of Mello-Klein, Anderson, Stevens, Dunbar, Franco and former intern and graphic designer Chelsea West won third place for general makeup of the paper for the July 15, 2021, Sept. 9, 2021 and Nov. 11, 2021 issues.

Finally, the Times took third place for its Tying the Knot wedding sections in the specialty sections category, with contributions from Mello-Klein, Dunbar, Schick, Stevens and Sieg for layout and the feature stories “There’s something about Mary,” March 18, 2021; “Perfectly imperfect,” April 8, 2021; and “From pretzels to politics,” May 13, 2021.