The Cardinal & Pine team, along with some of our colleagues from Courier Newsroom, in spring 2022. Front row, from L-R, Kate Bassett, Courier director of content organizing; former C&P Associate Editor Emiene Wright; Kim Lawson, Courier regional editorial director; former C&P Senior Editor Sarah Ovaska, Courier Newsroom CEO Tara McGowan. Back row, from L-R, C&P Reporter Michael McElroy; C&P Managing Editor Billy Ball. Cardinal & Pine Team
The Cardinal & Pine team, along with some of our colleagues from Courier Newsroom, in spring 2022. Front row, from L-R, Kate Bassett, Courier director of content organizing; former C&P Associate Editor Emiene Wright; Kim Lawson, Courier regional editorial director; former C&P Senior Editor Sarah Ovaska, Courier Newsroom CEO Tara McGowan. Back row, from L-R, C&P Reporter Michael McElroy; C&P Managing Editor Billy Ball.

In just our second year, the Cardinal & Pine team has been recognized for our work in political reporting, video, newsletters, multimedia journalism, and commentary. 

For more than two years, we at Cardinal & Pine have been dedicated to telling stories that center North Carolinians and making sure they can easily access that information. (You’ll find no pay walls here!) With the future of our kids and their kids on the line, we’re committed to strengthening our democracy by making sure people have the facts, especially when they go vote. 

That’s why we’re excited to announce our small but mighty team has taken home nine awards this year from the N.C. Press Association, including five first-place awards. The NCPA honored winners with a dinner and awards presentation Thursday in Raleigh. 

Our staff garnered top honors in the online division for political reporting, commentaries, newsletters, video, and multimedia journalism. We were also recognized for feature writing, profile features, and news feature reporting. 

Cardinal & Pine, which launched in March 2020, is part of Courier Newsroom, a civic media company with eight state-based newsrooms. Our mission is  to create a more informed, engaged, and representative America by bringing credible, fact-based journalism to the spaces people are spending the most time nowadays: social media. 

“We’re trying to do something new, combating misinformation and promoting civic engagement with good, honest journalism that centers the people we cover,” said C&P Managing Editor Billy Ball. “We love North Carolina, and we love covering it.”

C&P Reporter Michael McElroy, former Associate Editor Emiene Wright, and Ball won first place for the team’s free, thrice-weekly newsletter. The newsletter offers a personable and fresh take on news, commentary, and lifestyle from across N.C., with an emphasis on civic engagement and voting.

Ball also won first place for serious columns for his coverage of Andrew Brown’s police-involved killing in Elizabeth City, and first place for election and political reporting for 2020 coverage of the Biden/Harris campaign’s last stops in N.C.

Former C&P Senior Editor Sarah Ovaska and Courier Senior Video Editor Shaun Sindelman won first place in video for their work exploring N.C.’s lack of racial diversity in Congress. Four of every 10 North Carolinians are Black, Latino, Asian, or Native, but the state’s representation in Congress has been historically very white in the last 150 years.

Ovaska and Sindelman also won first place in multimedia journalism for a series of reports and videos on wrongfully convicted North Carolina man Ronnie Long’s decades-long wait for a pardon from the state. Hours after the series was released, Gov. Roy Cooper announced Long’s pardon. 

Wright, meanwhile, won two third-place awards for a profile of a Black-owned Rocky Mount brewery’s rise and a feature on Juneteenth in North Carolina.

McElroy and Sindelman also won second place for a video on why local elections in N.C. matter. And McElroy won third place for a news feature on a Robeson County man’s fatal encounter with local police.   

It’s an understatement to say Cardinal & Pine’s first two years have been wild, what with the pandemic, the 2020 presidential election, the insurrection at the US Capitol, the rolling back of rights, and so much more. But we’re so proud of the work we’ve done thus far to ensure more people can get reliable information about the things that matter most. 

Just you wait and see what we do next.