COLUMBIA - The staff of The Post and Courier won 93 journalism awards Saturday night at the South Carolina Press Association banquet, finishing first among the state's largest newspapers for the eighth time in nine years.

Among the top honors were general excellence, journalist of the year and photojournalist of the year.

The newspaper also won the Montgomery Freedom of Information Act award for the fourth time in five years. The award honors The Post and Courier for its role in keeping the public informed through the state's open records law.

The newspaper's total included 34 first-place awards. In all, the prizes covered a variety of writing, reporting, page design, photography and graphics categories.

"It's a privilege to work with such a dedicated and talented group of journalists," Post and Courier Publisher P.J. Browning said. "The Post and Courier has a long history of providing exceptional journalism, and this year the team has successfully carried on that tradition. To win overall general excellence three times in the past four years is a true testament to the entire team."

Doug Pardue, a projects reporter, was named journalist of the year, largely for his eight-month investigation that resulted in "Forgotten South Carolina." The four-part series chronicled the disparities in education, health and economic opportunities across the Palmetto State.

Pardue also won first place for investigative reporting and took home the Judson Chapman award for community service. "Forgotten South Carolina" also earned the newspaper first-place honors for integration of print and web content and online general news/feature video.

Grace Beahm was named photographer of the year. She also won first place in the spot photo category for photos capturing the mourning of Derryl Drayton, a James Island man who was shot by Charleston County sheriff's deputies last year.

Andrew Knapp, a crime reporter, won the Jay Bender Award for Assertive Journalism and the in-depth reporting award for his work on the high-profile custody battle over the American Indian girl known as Baby Veronica. He also took top honors in enterprise reporting for his stories about college campus sex assaults and in beat reporting for his courts and crime coverage.

Page designers Maureen Hartshorn, Brandon Lockett, Luke Reasoner and Chad Dunbar won first-place awards for their work.

The Post and Courier took top honors for daily newspaper website, affiliated website for CharlestonScene.com and for its Facebook page. Social media editor Andy Paras won for best use of Twitter.

The newspaper's e-book, "Second Chance: The Mark Sanford Story," won first place for innovative concept. The book, written by projects reporter Tony Bartelme during Sanford's successful run for Congress last year, chronicled the rise and fall and rise of the former governor.