RALEIGH, N.C. — Winners of the North Carolina Associated Press News Excellence Awards were announced Thursday at the North Carolina Press Association Winter Institute in Raleigh.

AP-member newspapers across the state submitted entries in the AP contest to recognize exemplary journalism published in 2017. The AP is a not-for-profit news cooperative representing thousands of newspapers and broadcasters in the United States.

Division III (newspapers with 200,000 or more total weekly circulation):

Thomas Wolfe Award Division III – Outstanding writing: 1, Scott Fowler, The Charlotte Observer, “Rae Carruth’s Prison Release Nears as Son He Wanted Dead Turns 18”; 2, Nancy McLaughlin, (Greensboro) News & Record, “Living Among Greensboro’s Unseen”; 3, John Boyle, Asheville Citizen-Times, “An ‘Indomitable Spirit’ and a Toe That’s Now a Thumb.”

Walter Spearman Award Division III – Outstanding writing by a journalist with less than two years of experience: 1, Camila Molina, The (Raleigh) News & Observer, “Faith Leaders Know They’re Breaking the Law”; 2, Drew Jackson, The (Raleigh) News & Observer, “A Lasting Legacy and Lingering Questions”; 3, Drew Jackson, The (Raleigh) News & Observer, “In Returning to Kinston, Vivian Howard Told the Stories of Her Home.”

Senator Sam Award Division III – Outstanding open government reporting: 1, Dan Kane and David Raynor, The (Raleigh) News & Observer, “Jailed to Death”; 2, The Fayetteville Observer, “Mike Lallier Case and Open Courts”; 3, Margaret Moffett, (Greensboro) News & Record, “Answers on Tanger Performing Arts Center.”

Division II (newspapers with total weekly circulation between 95,000 and 199,999):

O. Henry Award Division II – Outstanding writing: 1, Jimmy Tomlin, The High Point Enterprise, “The Old Testament”; 2, Paul Johnson, The High Point Enterprise, “Bridging the Divide”; 3, Kevin Ellis, The Gaston Gazette, “Gaston Woman First Black Female to Attend Classes at UNC Chapel Hill.”

Walter Spearman Award Division II: 1, Colin Warren-Hicks, The (Durham) Herald-Sun, “He Sat Behind Duke’s Bench at Cameron for 37 Years”; 2, Colin Warren-Hicks, The (Durham) Herald-Sun, “He Could Be a World Champ”; 3, Jordan Hensley, Hickory Daily Record, “Murder Trial: William Howard Lail III.”

Division I (newspapers with total weekly circulation of less than 95,000):

O. Henry Award Division I: 1, Rocky Mount Telegram, “Crime Statistics Don’t Tell Whole Story”; 2, Drew C. Wilson, The Wilson Times, “Chess Kings on Nash”; 3, Olivia Neeley, The Wilson Times, “Gregory Parks Murder Trial Coverage.”

Walter Spearman Award Division I: 1, Gavin Stone, (Rockingham) Richmond County Daily Journal, “Navy Veteran Flies US Flag Upside Down”; 2, Mackenzie Wicker, The (Forest City) Daily Courier, “Owls to Buy Foothills Cafe Building”; 3, Amelia Harper, Rocky Mount Telegram, “Ex-Chief Files Suit Against Prep School.”

Senator Sam Award – Combined Divisions I and II: 1, Corey Friedman, The Wilson Times, “Open Government Editorial Campaign”; 2, William Toler, (Rockingham) Richmond County Daily Journal, “Public Comment Policy ‘Un-American”’; 3, Brie Handgraaf, The Wilson Times, “Wilson Council Limits Travel, Meal Expenses.”

North Carolina AP Member Photo of the Year – Casey Toth, The (Durham) Herald-Sun.

List of winners: http://discover.ap.org/contests/north-carolina

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