Billy Liggett and Gordon Anderson | Photo by Jordan Anderson

In its first year as a member of the North Carolina Press Association, The Rant earned six NC Press awards handed out at the annual NCPA conference and awards banquet held Aug. 25 in Raleigh. The Rant took home four first place awards, a second and a third for coverage in 2021 and early 2022.

NCPA’s advertising and editorial contest is one of the largest in the nation with over 4,000 entries submitted by more than 125 newspapers and news organizations.

Most notable of The Rant’s awards was a first place in “Community Coverage,” which took into account a month’s worth of news and features and judged based on a news organization’s overall scope and how it benefits the community it serves.

“Webster’s Dictionary defines ‘community’ as ‘a unified body of individuals’ or ‘an interacting population of various kinds of individuals in a common location,'” Anderson said. “And Webster’s defines ‘coverage’ as ‘inclusion within the scope of discussion or reporting.’ Interestingly enough, ‘award’ is defined as ‘something that is conferred or bestowed especially on the basis of merit or need.’ I recently bought a dictionary.”

Anderson and co-founder Billy Liggett won first place for sports feature writing for its feature on the return of the Sanford Spinners baseball team and the history of the team dating back to WWII. Liggett won first place for sports enterprise writing for his feature on adult soccer in Sanford, and he won first place for headline writing. He won second for column writing and third for arts and entertainment reporting (“The Show Must Go On“).

Anderson and Liggett were joined by co-founder Jonathan Owens, Richard Sullins, Brandon Allred, Charles Petty and Ben Brown in the community coverage award.

“A lot of people say they don’t do it for the awards, but we’re not those people,” Liggett said. “Without awards, why do we even have jobs? Money? Fulfillment? No, it’s plaques and framed sheets of good-quality paper. Without those, we’re no better than primates.”