PAGELAND, S.C. — Kim Harrington, former editor of the Pageland Progressive Journal, has been honored for news-writing excellence among weekly newspapers owned by Landmark Community Newspapers.
The judges said Harrington’s first-place entry combined the “power of good sources and quotes with a to-the-point narrative.”
The articles Harrington submitted were: a six-hour marathon session by the Pageland Town Council over then-suspended Police Chief Larry Brown, the murder of Ternetha Bennett by William Grant and then Grant’s suicide, and the discovery of Erica Parsons’ body near Mount Croghan. Parsons had been missing from Rowan County, N.C., for five years.
The piece on the town council’s executive session was just one of a series of stories Harrington wrote about Brown’s suspension and investigation by the S.C. Law Enforcement Division. Brown was investigated for a 2014 search of Brent Nicholson’s home on McGregor Street. At issue was whether Brown restricted where his officers could search. He denied restricting their search.
Nicholson was later arrested for hoarding thousands of stolen weapons and convicted on three stolen weapons charges and served 14 months in prison.
Brown was suspended Oct. 30, 2015, and was reinstated March 7, 2016. He retired two weeks later.
The marathon executive session drew an overflow crowd to the council chambers. The crowd stayed from 6:36 p.m., when council went into closed session, to nearly 1 a.m. when they returned.
While the town council deliberated, the crowd sang, prayed, and even had water, snacks and pizza sent in. The judges called Harrington’s almost hour-by-hour narrative of the meeting a “creative approach.”
Harrington said what was truly creative was how community leaders handled the situation. She said it was like a church service or a sit-in.
The reporting of the murder-suicide of Bennett and Grant in August 2015 was an example of “straightforward reporting,” said the judges.
The discovery of Erica Parsons’ body on Sept. 27, 2016, ended a story that got national media attention but was also of intense local interest.
Harrington recently resigned from the Pageland Progressive Journal, having served as its editor since 2014. She worked at community newspapers in North Carolina — including the Anson Record and Richmond County Daily Journal — and South Carolina for 12 years before working as a marketing director for a health care company.
She is now assistant director of public relations at Livingstone College in Salisbury.
Harrington said the stories the judges considered “were the most memorable stories I covered (at the paper). They are forever singed in my memory.”
Pageland Progressive Journal Publisher Susan Rowell said, “It is an honor to win LCNI awards. They are very hard to come by, as we compete with the best journalists within our company. Kim Harrington produced great stories for the Pageland Progressive Journal. I am excited for her that she was recognized with a first-place award.”
The company contest drew 450 entries from daily, tri- and semi-weekly and weekly newspapers. Landmark owns 83 newspapers in 12 states.
Don Worthington is the editor of the Pageland Progressive Journal in Pageland, S.C.