Sunni Blevins (class of 2005) of WWBT-TV 12 in Richmond, Va., has repeated as the winner of the television category for the Farm Bureau Journalism Awards. Blevins was honored for her comprehensive agriculture coverage throughout 2010.
Despite working in the capital of the Commonwealth, agriculture reporting holds a special place in her heart. Growing up in a small town in North Carolina, many of her fellow classmates lived on farms themselves.
“It’s one of the main sources of revenue in the county I’m from, especially Christmas tree farms,” Blevins said. “My dad made a living in his later years by selling roping machines, which hinged on the Christmas tree industry, so I know how important agriculture was to my family.”
Farm Bureau judges were impressed with her reports on where to find and select the freshest Christmas trees and her coverage on the issue of how food security could be in jeopardy if a bill to ban cattle antibiotics passed in the General Assembly. "She let farmers and Farm Bureau weigh in heavily on this report," the judges pointed out.
Other stories that garnered Blevins attention by the judges were her reports on the effects of the summer drought on livestock and corn. Her ability to explain the complicated crop insurance program and how lower yields of wheat, corn, soybeans and barley crops could affect the local economy showcased her understanding of the agriculture industry.
"Sunni once again proves that an urban-area reporter can educate consumers about the importance of agriculture," the judges said.
Blevins hopes to show people how much agriculture affects their everyday lives no matter where they live.
“All they have to do is look to their plates at breakfast, lunch and dinner,” Blevins pointed out.
Sunni Blevins is originally from West Jefferson, N.C. She is a reporter for NBC 12 and anchors the Saturday edition of 12 News Today. Sunni previously worked at WCYB in Bristol, Virginia, where she was a producer, assignment editor and reporter.