The Dawson County News was honored by the Georgia School Boards Association Dec. 7 as a recipient of the Beacon Award for journalism excellence in education reporting.
On Friday, Dawson County News General Manager Brenda Bohn, Editor Allie Dean and Education and Features Reporter Jessica Taylor attended the GSBA winter conference at the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Convention Center to receive the award.
“It was an honor to even be nominated for this award but to receive it is a testament to the dedication of our education reporters, both past and present,” said Dean.
Beacon Award recipients are nominated by their local board of education and the final winners are selected by the GSBA.
“We are honored to have been nominated by the Dawson County school system for this prestigious award and are thrilled to have been selected the winner by the Georgia School Boards Association,” said Bohn. “Our schools are doing wonderful work and we look forward to continuing our partnership by keeping the community informed and connected.”
Dawson County Schools Superintendent Damon Gibbs and the board of education approved Dawson County News’ nomination for the publication’s work to inform the citizens of Dawson County of the work the school system does for its students during the Sept. 10 board meeting.
“We’re a very small team and to be recognized as one of the five winners for print media in the state among so many deserving publications is a great honor,” said Taylor. “We’re a small town weekly paper just doing our best to keep our community informed. This award says to me that even a little hometown paper with a four member team like us can make a big difference. I am so proud to be a part of it.”
The Beacon Award recognizes print and electronic media representatives or organizations whose coverage over time has created understanding of public education issues by informing the general public about programs, policies and issues affecting public schools, students and the community according to the GSBA website.
“With our community constantly looking to the news and school system for information, it is imperative that a strong partnership with our local paper be embraced,” the nomination read. “Their support to offer our public reliable information is exceptional and second to none. Our board of education recognizes the true value that our Dawson County News has on our community.”
In the application submitted to the GSBA, articles written by former and current DCN staff included topics of school safety, graduation rates, suicide prevention and mental health, the 1:1 iPad initiative and the Exceptional Children’s Community Based Instruction program.
The inaugural One Dawson magazine that was released to parents and students in the summer of 2018 was also included in the nomination.“We are very proud of our working relationship with Dawson County Schools and the Dawson County Board of Education and thank them for their openness and willingness to work with us on not only our first annual One Dawson magazine but in all of our coverage of school related activities,” Dean said. “This award highlights not only the hard work that our staff has put in but also the outstanding work that Dawson County Schools do on a regular basis to help the students in our community reach their full potential.”