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YES! Weekly Staff Recognized for Award-winning Work

(Last Updated On: March 14, 2017)


Journalists and designers at YES! Weekly won multiple awards in the recent NC Press Association 2016 News, Editorial and Photojournalism contest and the Advertising Awards contest. The awards were announced last week at the NCPA Winter Institute 2017 held in Raleigh.

Graphic designer Alex Eldridge won her third straight first place award for ad design. This year, Eldridge was recognized for her design work in the Best Color Institutional Ad for an ad she created for Health and Style Institute. Judges noted that “beautiful skin tones and accent color makes this stand out and get noticed.”


Alex Eldridge.

Eldridge also won a third place award this year for an ad she designed for High Point Theatre. Competing in the Best Color Restaurant/Entertainment category, the judges noted simply, “that’s a lot of color!”

Eldridge has previously won first place awards in the NCPA contests in 2015 and 2014, in addition to winning first place awards in the national Association of Alternative Newsmedia contest and the regional Southern Advertising Publishers Association.

The duo of writer Steve Mitchell and podcast producer Deonna Kelli Sayed won multiple awards in the Editorial contest last week. Both awards came in the multimedia category, in which Mitchell and Sayed won both first and second place awards.

The team of Mitchell and Sayed won first place for Best Multimedia Project for their series Out in the South, which featured five stories from across multiple generations of LGBTQ community members in which their personal narrative of striving for acceptance and equality was chronicled.

Mitchell and Sayed approached YES! Weekly editor Jeff Sykes with the concept in the winter of 2016 and the series debuted just weeks after Republicans in the state’s legislature shamed the state with passage of HB2, now globally known as North Carolina’s “bathroom bill.”

“I knew the series would be compelling when they laid out the concept,” Sykes said. “When the short-sighted politicians in Raleigh played their discriminatory hand, the project took on a whole new meaning.”

Mitchell’s interviews brought each person’s story vividly to life, Sykes said, but Sayed’s podcasts brought a deeper level of experience.

Steve Mitchell and Deonna Kelli Sayed.

Steve Mitchell and Deonna Kelli Sayed.

“I’ll never forget listening to Deonna’s podcast with Coen Crisp,” Sykes said. “Coen’s story is powerful in itself, but as Deonna produced the podcast she mixed in Coen’s changing singing voice as he experienced hormone therapy with reflection on Coen’s search for acceptance. Coen singing “Amazing Grace” at the end moved me to tears on several occassions.”

Mitchell and Sayed took home a second place prize in Best Multimedia Project category as well for a feature they did on Hospice counselor Stimp Hawkins.

Hawkins led a series of “Death Cafe’s” where he helped people plan for end of life needs and face issues of loss and grief. Hawkins discussed his own personal journey and end of life concerns as he approached his mid-80s. Hawkins had specific end of life preferences and helped others approach the subject with grace and dignity.

Hawkins passed away in June 2016 and several family and friends again shared Deonna’s podcast, saying it brought back vivid memories of the man they loved.

Stimp himself was upbeat about his final days and coming end of life celebration when the story and podcast ran in January 2016.

“I get so excited talking about it, I want to do it now,” Stimp said. “But if you do it before you die, people will just lie. I want folks to be able to talk about what a pain in the ass I was too.”