2000 Better Newspaper Contest — General Excellence

Division 1, Dailies 100,000 or More
1.    Houston Chronicle — Special report “Worlds Apart” stood out. Superb work. Overwhelmed readers with photos instead of too much text. Overall, excellent work demonstrated in a variety of ways. U.S. weather map, however, looks amateurish for a paper your size. Headlines on news pages often seem too subdued.
2.    Austin American-Statesman — Very impressed with George Bush coverage and A&M Bonfire tragedy. Special projects and deadline reporting appear to be strengths. Design elements, such as standing heds, seem stale. Overall, excellent work.
3.    San Antonio Express-News — Very difficult to rank anyone third in this division, but rules are rules. Excellent Spurs coverage, but it seemed to repeat itself in different stories and columns. Photos were erratic in quality. Honduras heartache package was strong.

Division 2, Dailies 7,000 to 99,999
1.    The Galveston County Daily News — Paper has a vigorous pulse. Strong local presence throughout from lively P. 1 to outstanding sports section to meaty edit page. Especially enjoyed the week in review approach to letters. It’s extra effort but it really pays off. Special packages on football championship and Mardi Gras were outstanding. Paper really goes extra mile on local news that makes people feel good. Very little to dislike about The Daily News. Great work!
2.    The Beaumont Enterprise — Design of paper makes it stand out from others in class — too many of which look like they were conceived by the same guru. Beaumont’s design is very clean and organized. Type faces on headlines add to very elegant look. Strong local news commitment. Two papers in entry had abundance of powerful local coverage. Enjoyed Warren Wells profile. Also commend staff on thorough coverage of both Texas A&M Bonfire disaster and Berry sentencing on same day. Good work. Would encourage stronger (bigger) play of best photos. Also, spend some time trying to improve color reproduction. Color photos on P. 1 of both papers were sub-par — too red. Also commend you on commitment to presenting comprehensive and balanced opinion package. Very impressive! Outstanding paper.
3.    Odessa American — The American is a paper I would enjoy reading every day — and I’m a Nebraska Cornhusker. Good sense of local. P. 1 and section fronts dominated by local stories. Strong editorials and letters column add to feeling this is a paper that knows its town. I even liked Poor William, although it was a little goofy. Gives publisher very human face. Art is well-conceived and displayed, but not overbearing. Don’t care for larger type on paid obits. Doesn’t seem like it belongs. Finally, I like the philosophy statement on edit. page. I like papers that aren’t shy about telling what they stand for. Good work!
4.    Kerrville Daily Times — This is a paper I would enjoy reading. Design is well-conceived and carried throughout. Test of good design is how inside pages look. Yours are well-thought out. Strong local presence all the way through, especially like weather/market page. Good clean Page 1. Design is a little different than many others in class — that’s good. Too many of the others looked like they were designed by same guru. Especially liked the strong, pointed local editorials. Small paper stands tall among big boys!

Division 3, Dailies Less Than 7,000
1.    Texas City Sun — Excellent newspaper. Has the look of a much larger paper. Good photos, strong writing, headlines, too.
2.    Hereford Brand — Bold headlines, strong photos, good headline treatment. It was a pleasure to review your newspaper. Keep up the good work.
3.    Vernon Daily Record — Very news-oriented paper — good work. Not necessarily the best-looking paper, but content makes up for it. Do we need six-column banner heads in 72 point type announcing a wedding? Use some discretion there.
4.    Athens Daily Review — Nice-looking front page. If you’ve got some Pg. 1 photos in color, why not all of them? Sports photo quality needs to improve. Some nice, witty headlines and good treatment. Keep up the good work.

Division 4, Semiweeklies 4,001 or More
1.    The Garland News — This paper jumps out of the stack. Front page is excellent. Good composition, use of headlines. Great photos. Obviously a great paper. Keep up the good work.
2.    Wise County Messenger, Decatur — A good-looking newspaper. Lots of photos. Very interesting front pages and many other great pages. Wonderful use of color. Great writing. This paper has it all. Wonderful.
3.    Hood County News, Granbury — In a very tough class. All four papers which placed could easily have won. Photos are super. A wide array of articles for the reader to choose from. Solid paper. Keep up the great work.
4.    The Highlander, Marble Falls — A solid newspaper which truly cares about the community it serves. Truly deserves to be among best in this class.

Division 5, Semiweelies 4,000 or Less
1.    Rockwall Texas Success — Thomas Kinkade reproduction is beautiful. (I’m a fan of him.) Nice color on real estate pages! What do classifieds cost? Good sports coverage! December, Page 6B — Space between lines on minister columns detracts from page. Good editorial page. Paragraphs breaking up editorials very effective! Page 11B Book titles in boxes call attention to story. That might have been passed over! The ad in headline could have been omitted!
2.    The Clifton Record — Good columns and editorial. Good sports coverage! Nice use of color! Good fair coverage. Missing supplements! Been better if two columns had been reversed!
3.    The Angleton Times — November Nice editorial page! Nice coverage on Austin Town! Make-up could have been better on page 2B. What do classifieds cost? March Good special section. Excellent use of color! Main headline “Drilling for dollars” could be improved, ending line with preposition bothers me. You could have reversed family ad and picture on page 10A.
4.    The Bowie News — February List two inserts - there are three! Headline “Obituary News” hit me wrong (personal opinion). Obituaries would be sufficient! What do classifieds cost? Good use of color! March Page 1B, “Ladies fair well at” should have been on second line! Lists one insert - there are three! Good news coverage and use of photos. Sports stories are good length. Don’t make them too long. Editorial cartoon would help page.

Division 6, Weeklies 3,001 or More
1.    The Examiner, Navasota — Just a darn-good newspaper. It’s got it all - ad index online, inside index. Easy for reader to go through newspaper. Inside photos could use some work (larger). Maybe not so many reverse or screened heads.
2.    Rockdale Reporter — Good variety of news. Pictures make this a fine newspaper. Good editorial page, good sports, strong inside pages. Classified page layout little cluttered, but there’s lot of revenue so readers must like it and use it!
3.    The Azle News — Clean, crisp appealing newspaper. Good inside layout of pages. Good classified info, etc.
4.    Fredericksburg Standard-Radio Post — Hard to match this paper for news coverage. None better. Inside pages could use some work with graphics and artwork, larger photos. Press quality could improve. Paper reflects excellent news and ad staff!

Division 7, Weeklies 2,001 to 3,000
1.    The Community News, Aledo — It’s excellent overall. I’d prefer having the lead specialty page (social/editorial/sports/feature) with more stories and fewer ads. Color looks great!
2.    Lancaster Today — Very attractive layout. I’d prefer leaving sports for the sports pages unless there is a remarkable performance (the relay state title might qualify). I’d also like to see a little more space between story/graphic element packages.
3.    North San Antonio Times — Well-organized. Departments are easy to find. Good variety of news.
4.    Cedar Hill Today — Front page is attractive. Use of a more dominant photo and a little more space between elements could push it to “excellent.” Try not to end a headline in a preposition: Board reviews new classes to offer at CHHS. When a contest judge first wrote that comment on one of my newspapers I thought “What is the big deal?” After eliminating them I realized it improves the pace of the head.

Division 8, Weeklies 1,201 to 2,000
1.    Midlothian Today — Nice block style on front. One too many headline typefaces used in June. Good grad day pictures. Nice overall package. Good tight leads. Tough choice between the top two in this division. Excellent overall job. Congratulations.
2.    San Patricio County News, Sinton — Good layout, especially Nov. 25. Spot color helps. Great communities page in both. There was very little I didn’t like about your pages. Excellent job! Good choice of pictures to help tell your story. Now if you could only print in full color … A better lead on “Minimal storm” was there.
3.    Lake Cities Sun, Lake Dallas — Good front block style, but they look a little alike. Go for some variety in layout. Aim for more active verbs in headlines. Some paragraphs (front) have long, one sentence. Could be two sentence leads.
4.    County Star-News, Shamrock — Great fronts. Carry the active verbs into the newswriting. Interesting political story on front. Great sports. I liked the out and about.

Division 9, Weeklies 1,200 or Less
1.    The Clarendon Enterprise — In all the entries in this division, I could not find one that stood out until I came to this last one, the Enterprise. Your front page attracted attention immediately. That doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement. Content was good. It seems to give readers a package they will look forward to and refer to.
2.    The International, Presidio — While there are areas that could be improved, what jumped out at me and put this paper in runner-up status, was how well the two languages involved were handled in a single issue. One disadvantage may be that snoopy me doesn’t know what was being said in a different language.
3.    The Eldorado Success — Attempts to give its community a good product. Maybe front page is a bit too busy. Question the reverse on one subhead. Maybe too many boxes. Liked the attraction, getting photos at the top of the front page.
4.    The Eagle Press, Fritch — Use of color made the attraction in this entry. Appears that content of news could be improved, as well as some make-up style on type-setting styles.