Andrew Krech ’13 named Hugh Morton Photographer of the Year

Several Elon University graduates were recognized in the North Carolina Press Association’s 2016 News, Editorial and Photojournalism Contest, the centerpiece of the association’s annual Winter Institute.

A month after being honored by the National Press Photographers Association, Andrew Krech ’13 added another accolade last week: the Hugh Morton Photographer of the Year award, courtesy of the North Carolina Press Association.

Andrew Krech ’13, a Greensboro News & Record photojournalist, was presented the Hugh Morton Photographer of the Year award at the North Carolina Press Association’s Winter Institute on March 9. The award recognizes Krech as the state’s best daily newspaper photographer. Photo courtesy of Sarah Lentz ’13

The honor, presented at the association’s annual Winter Institute on March 9, recognizes the Greensboro News & Record photojournalist as the state’s best daily newspaper photographer in 2016. The award is named for Hugh Morton, a prolific North Carolina photographer who had his work featured in Life, National Geographic, Time and numerous other national and state publications.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” said Krech. “I keep thinking this is going to be a ‘Moonlight’/‘La La Land’ situation, and that I’ll get a call this week from NCPA taking the award back. Some phenomenal photographers have won the Hugh in the past and I’m honored to be a part of that club.”

Here is a look at the images the photojournalist captured during the past year.

Krech credited his award-winning work to increased consistency, which allowed him to make quality images throughout the year, as well as his decision to often leave his long lenses at home.

“I used to use my longer (telephoto) lenses as a crutch, keeping my distance and shooting from farther away,” he said. “Now I carry two shorter lenses and try to get closer with the subject I’m photographing. It makes for intimate pictures with more context.”

Krech was one of several School of Communications graduates to receive hardware as part of the NCPA’s 2016 News, Editorial and Photojournalism Contest, which celebrates excellence in reporting, photography and other projects. The awards were distributed at the NCPA’s Winter Institute.

The North Carolina Press Association’s Winter Institute, held on March 9 in Raleigh, brought together several Elon University graduates currently working in the journalism field. Pictured (from left) are Hannah DelaCourt ’14, Anna Johnson ’12, Zachary Horner ’14, Natalie Allison Janicello ’13, Adam Lawson ’12 and Stephanie Butzer ’14. Photo courtesy of Janicello’s Twitter account, @natalie_allison

​Stephanie Butzer ’14, a multimedia reporter at The High Point Enterprise, was honored as a finalist for the Associated Press Walter Spearman award, recognizing her as one of the top young journalists in the state. Butzer, who also captured a second-place award in the feature photography category, was honored for her 2016 story examining how the Boston bombings affected local runners. The April 17 article is titled “In it for the Long Run: Local Runners Remember 2013 Boston Attack.”

Natalie Allison Janicello ’13, a crime and breaking news reporter with The Times-News of Burlington, captured two first-place awards. Her article “Jurors see discovery site” won the deadline news reporting category and her series of articles following a surge of Burlington shootings prevailed in the beat news reporting category.

A group of Wilmington StarNews staff members, which included Hannah DelaCourt ’14, won first place for online breaking news coverage in the case of a 6-year-old abducted in Monkey Junction.

The StarNews crime reporter also took home two other first-place awards, including a story on guns in schools. She co-authored the education reporting entry with Wilmington colleague Ashley Morris. Additionally, DelaCourt won the best lede category.

Stephanie Butzer ’14, a multimedia reporter at The High Point Enterprise, was named a finalist for the Associated Press Walter Spearman award, recognizing her as one of the top young journalists in the North Carolina. Photo courtesy of Butzer’s Twitter account, @HPEStephanie

​While Anna Johnson ’12 is currently working for The Herald-Sun in Durham, the Elon alumna was honored for several articles she penned during her tenure in Burlington with The Times-News.

The Herald-Sun’s online producer won first place for “How safe is our water?” in the investigative reporting category, captured second place for “The fight continues” in news enterprise reporting, and placed third for “Payment due” in city/county government reporting.

Johnson was also a finalist for the O. Henry Award for Outstanding Writing for her story, “Unique Challenges,” which detailed elder abuse, neglect and exploitation cases in Alamance County.

Charity Apple ’92, the Times-News’ accent editor, placed third for “Gaffigan’s comedy relatable to all ages” in the arts and entertainment reporting category.

Adam Lawson ’12, a crime reporter at The Gaston Gazette, also received a first-place award in the general news reporting category for a series of stories regarding the disappearance and death of 3-year-old Jordyn Dumont. While he wrote several single byline articles, Lawson also worked with colleague Kevin Ellis on the series.

Lawson and two other Gazette reporters captured a third-place award in general news reporting for their coverage of the death of Keith Lamont Scott, a 43-year-old African-American man killed by a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department police officer.

Kristin Zachary ’09, an associate editor for digital content at The Daily Reflector in Greenville, also earned a second-place finish in general news reporting. Zachary and colleague Tony Castleberry provided detailed news coverage on the death of Dave Mirra and the BMX legend’s impact on the Greenville community.