South Carolina’s Free Times Wins Five State Awards

Columbia, S.C.—March 11, 2004—Free Times, a 40,000-circulation alternative weekly in Columbia, S.C., picked up five awards at the South Carolina Press Association’s winter meeting in Myrtle Beach on Feb. 27.

“We’re thrilled to have finally some recognition of the work that Free Times is doing,” said editor Dan Cook. “The paper was founded in 1987, and this was the first time we’ve ever been eligible to compete in the state press association’s awards. In previous years, the awards were not open to free papers.”

Competing in the category of weekly papers over 4,000, Free Times won first place for Enterprise Story (“Water Inequality” by Amanda Presley); first place for Sports Feature Story (“Just a Game?” by Amanda Presley); second place for Reporting in Depth (“No Land to Call Home” by Raymond Thibodeaux, David Axe and Dan Cook); third place for Enterprise Story (“The End of Innocence” by Amanda Presley); and third place for Reporting in Depth (“The End of Innocence” by Amanda Presley).

“Our publisher, Amy Singmaster, has made a serious commitment to investing in the editorial department and making sure that we have the right conditions for keeping a high level of editorial integrity,” Cook said. “I think the awards show that her commitment is paying off.”

“If there’s anything bittersweet about the awards, it’s that the staff writer who won most of them has left us,” Cook said. “She’s gone to California to pursue screenwriting, and we wish her the best of luck. Meanwhile, here in Columbia, we’ll still be trying to do the kinds of stories that win awards.”