2003 Better Newspaper Contest — Editorials


Division 2, Dailies
Division 3, Dailies
Division 4, Semiweeklies
Division 5, Semiweeklies
Division 6, Weeklies
Division 7, Weeklies
Division 8, Weeklies
Division 9, Weeklies
Division 10, Weeklies


Division 2 Dailies 7,000 to 99,999

1st. The Galveston County Daily News — “The official story is hogwash” Heber Taylor. Good call prodding public officials to be open. “What It Could Be” Dolph Tillotson. The best editorial writers have visions as well as the ability to see flaws. Well done, demand to act — and in a great package.

2nd. The Facts (Clute) — Kelly Hawes. “Time to change county’s car policy” Well thought-out logic and well-made arguments. “Can any good come from Yates case” Great editorial to help readers focus on the system flaws that helped such a tragedy rather than the fascinated shock that attracted the nation.

3rd. The Beaumont Enterprise — “Hines’ gag order in Moore case unfair to voters” Strong and appropriate call to lift gag order with solid logic for public understanding of need. “Newton County must control its trusties better” Is this for real? Solid writing and logic demanding better controls for an unbelievably slack jail system.

4th. The Herald-Coaster (Rosenberg) — “Officers send mixed messages” Point well made. “Do the right thing — keep state school open” Again, good points.

Division 3 Dailies Less Than 7,000

1st. Texas City Sun — Michael Clements. “Citizens deserve more than lip service on input into Supt. profile” Very good chastisement of a school board’s disrespect to its residents. “BP shouldn’t leave taxing entities hanging on its tax bill” Took nerve to challenge such an employer. Well done.

2nd. Athens Daily Review — “Vote, Henderson County” Standard get out the vote editorial. “Put our house in order” Strong editorial with collected images to boost argument in case readers have forgotten.

3rd. Seguin Gazette-Enterprise — “Cheers & Jeers” Strong editorial on “Jeers” but “Cheers” is weak and terribly uncreative. “Remembering helps keep America strong” Very well written remembrance that pulls the reader back into the event, with unique local perspective.

4th. Waxahachie Daily Light — “Home of the Brave” Good looking page, but there’s a real disconnect on the flow of the editorial. I had to read three times to get it. Perhaps because I didn’t know the issues and players it was more difficult, but not everyone has longevity. Dislike the bold intro. “Come Together” Complaints of lack of communication aren’t followed with examples.

Division 4 Semiweeklies 4,001 or More

1st. Burleson Star — “Don’t make up our minds for us on crucial issues” Sally Ellertson. Well-written argument on a pertinent subject. “Put principle above praise on annexation” James Moody. Excellent editorial on a touchy issue. Closely reasoned, well phrased.

2nd. Wise County Messenger — “Poynor made wrong decision in hiding behind closed doors” Skip Nichols. A strong argument for open access to the people’s court. Good looking page. “Illness creates monetary crisis for couple” Brian Knox. Well written appeal, probably belongs in column category.

3rd. Round Rock Leader — “Consultant’s services no longer needed” Excellent subject matter. Facts are damning. Public interest obvious. Writing is not too whippy: clean slates can’t be offered; benefit of doubt is given, not issues, etc. “This is Carter Country” Round about way to endorse a candidate, but interesting and well argued.

4th. Williamson County Sun — “Square talk” I would label this a column rather than an editorial. Still it gets around to making some excellent suggestions. “Tough case” Another laid back, pipe and leather chair long, long discussion. Say the same thing with half the words and it would be more effective. Sound advice, though.

Division 5 Semiweeklies 4,000 or Less

1st. Lamesa Press-Reporter — Russel Skiles. “City should avoid balloon” Strong editorial on need to keep economic development organization. Good analogy. Hope it worked and would like to see 2-column editorials. Easier to read, seem more forceful. “State shirking duties to fund public schools” Excellent argument for more state support for schools. Would have been better with proposal to raise taxes to make aid possible.

2nd. The Canyon News — “Gold strike in Randall County” Fair observation on a matter of public concern. “You picked on the wrong folks, Tony” Gutsy writing on a tough subject.

3rd. Perryton Herald — “Vote Yes on amendment” Too much history, not enough discussion of why constitution must be amended to deal with such a minor office. “Council courage” Good editorial on economic development, but it’s a mix of news story and opinion. Been a better editorial without so much detail about the proposed plant. Detail belongs on page one.

4th. The Highlander (Marble Falls) — “Hurd leaves his mark on Highland Lakes area” Nice tribute; good reflection on impact of development. “City needs to act on ordinance” Good editorial on important decisions. Suggestions for getting ordinance passed were thoughtful, which is what editorials are supposed to be.

Division 6 Large Weeklies

1st. Austin Business Journal — “Sematech is our reputation” and “Future flows with the water” Both editorials were well thought out and written. They push the buttons for future growth and development. Nice job.

2nd. The Cameron Herald — “Trustees must look at discipline policies” Good job in pointing out importance of ethics and values. “Social promotion ends with new TAKS tests” As testing becomes important in our communities, parental involvement is a key. Thanks for drawing them in. Nice job.

3rd. Coppell Citizens Advocate — Jean Murph. “The council beat” It took a while to get the beat going, but this was great. “Open discussion is Coppell’s strength” Good job — explain open discussion and the always interesting topic of taxes.

4th. Rockdale Reporter — “Vote count” Good job explaining crisis in voting counts and pushing way to make things better next time. “Challenge” It’s a battle being fought everywhere. You did a good job exploring what needed to be done in your community.

Division 7 Medium Large Weeklies

1st. Medina Valley Times — “Area restaurants…” Concise, writer’s voice is strong. Good point made in clever way, not lecturing. Subject is not terribly compelling or risky but done in effective manner. “A system problem…” Good analysis, easy read, persuasive.

2nd. North San Antonio Times — “‘Cheer-drinking’ incident warrants school discipline” Easy to follow, points and facts clearly stated. “Statewide property tax answers education’s call” Same as above. Two solid entries.

3rd. Westlake Picayune — Ed Allen. “Unsafe at any speed” Comprehensive, states case well. “Dedicated DAs” Not a terribly risky editorial, a safe stance, but is written in an interesting, compelling manner.

4th. Pittsburg Gazette — “What’s right for the county?” Good use of details, good reporting, well stated. “Say ‘yes’ to the college” Weaker of the two. Facts presented well. Not as well written.

Division 8 Medium Weeklies

1st. Pilot Point Post-Signal — David Lewis. “Saving these trees worth our vigilance” Without your attention to this issue, your locality might not have been reminded of such an important legacy. Well written and thoughtfully presented. “It’s time for PPISD to win academics” While most education entries in this category lamented state funding, you pick a local issue specifically at a local school and demand excellence. Very well done.

2nd. Lake Country Sun (Graford) — Mark Engebretson. “Make ’em work” Good factually-based commentary. A little weak in getting to the point. “The tour d’farce” Again, good topic, but takes too long to cough up the point. Try to write less and say more.

3rd. Monahans News — “‘Bombing’ shows need for flyover change” Well-written and well presented overall. You get beat on topic and demand for action. “Looming education crisis begs leadership” Well done, but could have been more concise and less wordy.

4th. Hill Country News Weekender (Cedar Park) — Don Moore. “Apathy prevails in Hill Country” A common lament, but no solution is proposed. You forget to tell us a percentage of turnout??? “Overlay over the top” Maybe this makes more sense in your community, but the impact of a paving project just doesn’t seem to me to warrant such dissection.

Division 9 Small Medium Weeklies

1st. The Clarendon Enterprise — Roger Estlack. “Airport, streets are two entirely different issues” Very informative. Well written and to an outsider gave much needed information to know the circumstances. Good job. Warning at top a bit different but I like it. “Press guards the liberties of Americans” Always like editorials on our freedoms. Sometimes public needs eyes opened to the real freedoms the U.S. has. Excellent and well written.

2nd. Midlothian Today — “School district should rethink bond package, reschedule for May” Good well-written editorial that required research, good common sense and managed to get a favorable response from the board. Whenever an editorial accomplished this goal it’s effective. Good job! “MISD needs to include public relations in its strategic plan” In a small community PR on any level is important. As a weekly publisher we struggle with this also. Informative packages are a must and are a great asset to our weekly in Kansas. Hope this editorial changes the policies of your local board. Well written and to the point!

3rd. Lancaster Today — “Council should have confidence in special commissions doing their work” Good well-written editorial. Hope it opened the eyes of the council. Volunteer help is essential in a small community. “Can city get trucks to pay for needed road work?” Appreciate the additional letter with editorial. It explained the print much better. Local residents should know this info. Also might have put the results of your editorial. Did it change things? Good job and well written to the point.

4th.  The Canadian Record — Laurie Ezzell Brown. “In a nutshell” Good editorial. Well-written on a subject that readers know costs money, but also is very important. Key issues addressed and gave valid reasons to opinion of “yes” vote. “A long old day” Good opinion on politics. Kept the interest but felt it was a bit long, but still well-written.

Division 10 Small Weeklies

1st. Benbrook Star — “Civic pride” Excellent subject. Unfortunately, it’s something that needs to be said over and over again. A local issue that can be applied just about anywhere in the nation. “About Time” Local issue that would interest many readers. Well-researched and easy to understand for anyone familiar with the issue.

2nd. The Hart Beat — Rachel Wall. “School board’s discussion of the football program illegal” Extremely well researched with evidence to support your statements. Excellent job as a watchdog. This was an important local issue that you tackled head-on. I’m sure it took guts. “Post Pete Laney: ‘Washington Politics, Texas Style’” Not as crazy about this one. He sounds like an interesting man, but I would prefer to know more about his legislative record to support your reasons for preferring him as speaker.

3rd. Citizens Gazette (Burnet) — “City’s look into the arts a good move” An important reminder that a city’s health and vitality consists of more than infrastructure and business profits. You made a good case. “Rock crusher issue needs bigger focus” Addresses both sides of the issue. This is a very fair editorial, while still stating your own position clearly.

4th. The Eldorado Success — Randy Mankin. “Can we agree now that conventional wisdom doesn’t apply to Bush?” You make your case in that G.W. defies the odds. “I wonder what Ira Hayes would think” Thanks for pointing out Pima. A lot of people may not have been award of his involvement.