Citizen staffers earn AP honors

The Rockdale and Newton Citizen newspapers recently earned a combined nine awards from The Associated Press for outstanding reporting and photography.

"I am extremely proud of each of these awards earned by our staff members," said Alice Queen, editor and publisher of the Rockdale Citizen and Newton Citizen. "We are blessed to have a talented staff that produces this quality of work and also understands the importance of the community newspaper. Our writers and photographers are focused on serving the readers of Rockdale and Newton counties by providing credible reporting that is informative, balanced and fair."

Earlier this month, the Georgia Associated Press Association announced the winners of its annual news writing and photography contest.

Daily newspapers in Georgia that are members of The Associated Press are judged in four classes based on circulation.

California AP member daily newspapers judged the Georgia contest entries of stories and photos published in 2008.

Newspapers with daily circulation above 40,000 compete in Class AAAA, circulation between 15,000 and 40,000 in Class AAA, circulation between 10,000 and 15,000 in Class AA and daily circulation of fewer than 10,000 in Class A.

The Rockdale Citizen, which competed in Class AA, received four awards, and the Newton Citizen, which competed in Class A, earned five.

Rockdale Citizen awards are as follows:

· Staff Reporter Michelle Floyd, second place Best Public Service reporting for her story, "New clothing charity."

· Features Editor Karen J. Rohr, second place Best Feature Writing, "Green burials."

· News Editor Aimee A. Jones, second place Best Beat Reporting, "Law enforcement in Rockdale County."

· Robert Porter Jr., former staff photographer for the Rockdale Citizen, took home first-place honors for Best Picture Story, "Morgan's life."

The Newton Citizen honors are as follows:

· Staff Reporter Crystal Tatum and News Editor Barbara Knowles, second place Best Public Service, "A criminal's candidacy."

· Staff Reporter Crystal Tatum, first place Non-Deadline Reporting, "A question of ethics."

· Staff Photographer Sue Ann Kuhn-Smith, second place Best Feature Photo, "Harvest of sunshine;" first place, Best Picture Story, "Rodeo and Jasper County;" and second place Best Portfolio, "Portfolio."