Observer staff wins 15 state press awards – Coastal Observer


Observer staff wins 15 state press awards

A photo of Marshall Chapman streaming a tribute to Jimmy Buffett from her Pawleys Island home won first place for portraits.

The Coastal Observer staff received 15 awards for reporting, writing, photography and design, in the S.C. Press Association’s annual news contest. 

The paper won first place for General Excellence among the state’s medium-sized weeklies. Judges cited the “local stories by local reporters,” the design, photos and letters to the editor. 

“Loved reading this newspaper,” they said.

Among all the weekly papers, Chris Sokoloski won first place for coverage of faith issues. The judge noted the variety of stories and the thoroughness of coverage. She won second place for sports reporting.

Charles Swenson won second place for editorial writing.

Among the mid-sized weekly papers, Swenson won first place for arts and entertainment writing for a story about a visit by Andy Griffith’s daughter to the local chapter of “The Andy Griffith Show” Rerun Watchers. The judge called it “a great read that left me with a smile.”

He also won first place for short story writing for an article about Waccamaw Intermediate School principal Travis Klatka, who dressed as an elf before Christmas break. “Humorous and cheeky writing,” the judge said.

Swenson won second place for his coverage of Georgetown County government. Sokoloski won third place for her coverage of nonprofits.

Swenson also won third place in feature writing for an article about the Hammock Coast Birding Festival.

He won second place for front page design for the July 4 edition and third place for feature page design for an article about the National Sculpture Society exhibit at Brookgreen Gardens.

Swenson won first place for sports feature photo of an image of rec players chasing a soccer ball on the sidelines of a Waccamaw High match. The judge said “it automatically put a smile on my face.” 

Sokoloski won third place in the same category for a photo of the Waccamaw High girls soccer team celebrating their state championship.

Swenson also won first place for portrait photo for an image of the singer-songwriter Marshal Chapman performing a tribute to Jimmy Buffett that the judge said had “intersting lighting and composure.”

He won first place for photo story for coverage of the Waccamaw Intermediate performance of “Aladdin Jr” that the judge said “really painted a picture of the show’s production and all that went into it.”

Swenson won second place for humor for a photo of young performers at the Litchfield Dance Arts Academy finale.



Georgetown County Board of Education: First and third Tuesdays, 5:30 p.m., Beck Education Center. For details, go to Georgetown County Council: Second and fourth Tuesdays, 5:30 p.m., Council Chambers, 129 Screven St., Georgetown. For details, go to Pawleys Island Town Council: Second Mondays, 5 p.m. Town Hall, 323 Myrtle Ave. For details, go to   , .