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Sentinel staff members earn state awards

Southside Sentinel photo journalist Tom Chillemi and multimedia manager Mike Kucera won awards in the 2008 Virginia Press Association (VPA) News, Editorial and Photo Contest. The awards were presented Saturday night at the VPA’s 2008 awards banquet in Norfolk.

Chillemi won three photography awards, including two first places, and Kucera won first place in the Specialty Category for a video on kayaking that appeared on the Sentinel’s website—

Chillemi took first and second place in the Breaking News Category. His photo of a log truck driver being comforted by a firefighter and the driver’s wife at a fatal crash scene near Saluda won first place. The judges commented. “Nice emotion. Photographer did good job of focusing on the people affected while still showing the whole story.”

Chillemi won second place in Breaking News Category for a photo of a firefighter in front of a blazing house fire near Urbanna. The judges commented. “We could feel the firefighter’s futility with the blazing flames and flat hose tossed away.”

Chillemi won first place for a photo illustration titled “Missing in Action.” The photo depicted a “table for one” set up at the American Legion Post 82 home in Saluda. All items on the table symbolized the dilemma of soldiers who are missing in action. Chillemi positioned an American Flag behind the table for added impact. The judges commented, “Very clean and simple.”

All three of Chillemi’s winning photos can be seen at

“Tom Chillemi once again has shown why he is considered among the top photographers in the state,” said Sentinel editor Tom Hardin. “His talent and enthusiasm for photography is truly inspiring.”

Winning video

Read the complete article that Mike’s video accompanied in The Rivah Visitor’s Guide.
Multimedia manager Mike Kucera won first place for the video “Better to Kayak,” which supported a feature article in the The Rivah Visitor’s Guide.  His video took first place in the Specialty Publications Category against larger publications such as Style Weekly and Richmond Magazine. 

The judges commented, “Excellent use of music and voiceovers along with great B-roll. Well done.”

Each issue of The Rivah is posted on the last Friday of the month, April through September.

“Mike Kucera has led a Sentinel team effort to have a high quality newspaper website,” said Hardin. “ gets bigger and better each week, and Mike deserves much of the credit.”

posted 03.23.2009

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