Southern Crescent Buzz editor Gabriel Stovall brought home the publication’s first awards recognition Sunday during the annual Georgia Sportswriters Association’s awards banquet held at Coolray Stadium in Lawrenceville, GA.
Stovall won first place in the category of Best Feature Or Series for Non-deadline High School Sports with his piece on Eagle’s Landing High football coach Joe Teknipp’s battle with cancer.
In addition, he won second place for Best Column with this retrospective on the coach shortly after he passed away last summer.
Teknipp coached the Eagle’s Landing Golden Eagles from 2008 through 2014, compiling a combined 25-48 record while leading the Eagles to three state tournament appearances, including back-to-back showings in 2013 and 2014.
Stovall said the award recognition took a distant second place to the honor he felt for paying tribute to a beloved Southern Crescent coach.
“It’s always nice to be acknowledged for your work, but I didn’t need awards to validate the importance of those two stories for me,” Stovall said. “You come into journalism because you want to give voice to people’s stories, whether that be through great triumphs or tough pains. I’ll always be intensely grateful to the Teknipp family for allowing me to tell their story in such a sensitive time.”
The Southern Crescent Buzz appeared to be the only digital only publication to win awards during the annual recognition event — a feat that Stovall hopes is just an omen for things to come with the year-old publication.
“I think it’s awesome to know that as a fledgling publication, your media outlet’s name is being called among the great and stalwart newspapers and news organizations that have served Georgia for hundreds of years,” he said. “I think we’ll definitely see more, though, as digital is only going to increase. I’m also looking forward to seeing some of our other writers and photographers getting some recognition next year, as they’ve all put out some pretty quality stuff in 2016 so far.
“We’ve got some kinks worked out during this first year or so, so I’m looking for the 2016-17 school year to be huge for us.”