Clifton Barnes of Cary has won a national writing award for a series of online posts.
Writing for his CapitalSportsNC.com website, Barnes won an Award of Excellence from the DC area-based Communications Concepts through its 2021 Awards for Publication Excellence competition.
Barnes, a UNC-Chapel Hill journalism and political science grad, was one of only three people across the nation to win Awards of Excellence in the Best Series of Blog Posts writing category.
The articles that propelled Barnes to win the honor dealt with UNC-Chapel Hill sports news coverage and analysis. One piece pointed out by judges was in regard to the death of UNC and Rocky Mount, N.C. star athlete Danny Talbott. Barnes’ breaking news beat all the mainstream media outlets and still managed to be a well-written retrospective said one judge who added that he felt the sorrow of the passing of the beloved hero.
Another piece noted by judges was a rather unique analysis of a basketball game. Following a tight UNC-Duke basketball, where even the announcers questioned official calls near the end of the game, Barnes decided to put to the test the commonly held notion that incorrect or bad calls by officials even out over the course of a game.
Barnes painstakingly went back and reviewed the game in detail – going frame by frame for much of it – to make sure his analysis was correct. He even read up on the rulebook to make sure he was seeing and understanding what officials missed or got wrong. As a result, he wrote a detailed analysis about how the calls didn’t even out.
The judge said he could feel the anger of the injustice in the game. “When an author can draw the reader into his/her world, you have success and that’s what both these pieces do,” he said.
One judge noted that the Internet is filled with poorly written pieces but that Barnes’ articles were “very well-written, thoughtful compositions that flow smoothly and involve the reader in such a way that surprises.”
Barnes has now won a writing award in the APEX national competition 11 years in a row, including five awards for his website CapitalSportsNC .com. That site features articles from all the top media outlets and sports teams in the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area along with his own original sports commentary.
Barnes served as director of communications for the N.C. Bar Association, located in Cary, for 15 years and, before that, was a newspaper writer and editor.
Today he is a freelance writer, editor and Web developer who owns several websites, including one that chronicles each UNC basketball game.
Barnes is also known for spear-heading movements to get a highway marker for Kay Kyser in Rocky Mount and a yearly Hometown Spirit Award in Cary.
Along with his wife Andrea, he raises their 15-year-old son Will Griffin. Barnes, a native of Rocky Mount, is the son of W.C. (deceased) and Lorraine Barnes of Atlantic Beach.