2003 Better Newspaper Contest — General Excellence


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

General Excellence

Division 1 Dailies 100,000 or More

1st. The Dallas Morning News – Very strong and newsy display. Writing, in general, is incredible. Some consideration should be given to too many stories jumping. Superb election coverage. Might have promoted the inside election section more prominently on the front page. Didn’t like the classified ads slopping into the obituary space. Incredible commitment to local news in the zoned sections. Excellent map on the 6/12 edition front page. This is a great newspaper – covers major local news and doesn’t lose sight of the microlocal –nice blend.

2nd. Fort Worth Star-Telegram – Good looking and newsy. Excellent Game Day section. Good centerpiece, “color of hate,” on the front page. Summaries, in general, are well-written and very useful. Great display font on the arts section. Liked the weekly review section.

3rd. Houston Chronicle – Good promo for special section in the 8/18 edition. Front page could use a more drastic and severe headline hierarchy. No headline really stands out. Why do all stories jump? Fabulous special section on Reliant Stadium. Good feature on Judge Joe. Some section fronts are b&w and that is a drawback.

Division 2 Dailies 7,000 to 99,999

1st. The Galveston County Daily News – Good enterprise package on seawall crime. Should have been page 1. Like “high fives!” and “applause” – good community news content for a large circulation paper. Well designed newspaper. Solid reporting. A well rounded, good newspaper. Good op-ed content.

2nd. The Beaumont Enterprise – Good local news coverage, of course local politicians provide good material. Clean design despite weak press work. Good feature pages.

3rd. Kerrville Daily Times – Well designed and solid and diverse local news reporting. Would prefer the editorial page closer to front of paper, more visible.

4th. The Facts (Clute) – Good “Freeport future” package. Good local news coverage. “Community” page well done. Ads on sports front look tacky.

Division 3 Dailies Less Than 7,000

1st. Texas City Sun – Large short headlines should be an example for others to consider in breaking up seas of gray. Overall feel, read and look of this paper makes me think it has a much larger circulation. Great job all-around. Kudos! (But where’s your local editorials?) Note – toss that 20 lbs. of inserts before you send in next year. They have no bearing.

2nd. Hereford Brand – I like your flag! Nice column down left of front. Nice variety of news and features. Jumps are well done and easy to find. Larger headlines and use of white space done well. Note – Use of American flag on page 5 (3/23) in ad is against U.S. flag code. Also p. c2 (9/7) and c4&5 etal. Just because the material is in art services, doesn’t allow us to violate code. President is only one who can change this. Use your influence.

3rd. Taylor Daily Press – Great layout/design, brings the paper to the top. One may not know what’s going on in state/nation from front page, but lots of good local news in an attractive, easy-to-read package.

4th. The Pasadena Citizen – Good front pages, impressive color reproduction, strong local, but where’s the local editorials? Nov. 17 – note bad text in “new tattoo” – interesting this was overlooked for a contest “best” entry.

Division 4 Semiweeklies 4,001 or More

1st. Williamson County Sun – This paper stands out from the competition. It’s a quality newspaper all the way around. Clean, classic look throughout. The best of the bunch!

2nd. Wise County Messenger – A strong contender. Great news coverage complemented by compelling photos, especially in the wreck story. This is a real solid paper. Nice job.

3rd. Wharton Journal-Spectator – You do a lot of things well, but not necessarily great. Some of the writing is very good. I read with interest the story and editorial about Wal-Mart coming to town. Interesting take on it I wondered what the opponents or antis thought. Overall, a solid paper.

4th. Uvalde Leader-News – This paper has its moments, especially with the flood coverage. That was pretty good stuff. I didn’t see an editorial page. You need an editorial voice!

Division 5 Semiweeklies 4,000 or Less

1st. Mansfield News Mirror – Great layout and design. Good color and photos.

2nd. Lamesa Press-Reporter – Good color photo on the front. Try a thinner border line on the left hand column.

3rd. Lampasas Dispatch-Record – Front page is clear and clean. Sports photos need, all photos need, a fine 1/2 pt. to 1 pt. line to border them in. Good editorial page.

4th. The Highlander (Marble Falls) – Looks nice, full of community news.

Division 6 Large Weeklies

1st. Houston Business Journal – Strong, focused business coverage. Headlines (splits) the only significance weakness. Outstanding special section.

2nd. Austin Business Journal – A fine professional newspaper with solid content throughout.

3rd. River Cities Tribune (Marble Falls) – Good work on a difficult story. Balanced coverage and commentary. Nice package.

4th. The Cameron Herald – Attractive paper. Solid, focused writing, well-presented. Paper seems to be on top of the news.

Division 7 Medium Large Weeklies

1st. Copperas Cove Leader-Press – Clean layout, great use of photos, lots of community coverage – very local, which is why readers buy your paper.

2nd. North San Antonio Times – Well written with an easy to follow design. Good use of color.

3rd. Ellis County Press – Nice editorial pages and classified section.

4th. Alpine Avalanche – Great front page photos and reproduction, but rest of pages pretty gray.

Division 8 Medium Weeklies

1st. Pilot Point Post-Signal – The entire paper is very impressive. This is probably one of the best community-focused papers I have seen that maintains a polished, professional output in all areas. It gives me a good sense of the community, as an outsider, while also providing the sought-after details for subscribers and hometown readers.

2nd. Hill County News Weekender (Cedar Park) – Very good paper! The quality of photos is impressive, even in black and white. The writing is a little bland. A little polishing and more active verbs would make a positive change.

3rd. Lexington Leader – Nice coverage! It provides a good sense of the community there. Nice use of pictures, too. The writing can be a bit more polished with more interesting leads.

4th. Cedar Hill Today – Nice front page layouts on all sections. Great use of color and artwork. More photos (besides specialty pages/sections) would be nice. Strongly recommend identifying people in photos for more community focus. Finally staff writers seem to focus more on features than hard news; didn’t really get a good sense of what’s “in the news” in your community.

Division 9 Small Medium Weeklies

1st. The Canadian Record – Add color! Design is great and would be even better with color. Nice BTS section (content). All around great product. Just add full color every edition.

2nd. The Portland News – Excellent design elements and use of photos. Good writing. Wonderful job.

3rd. Castroville News-Bulletin – Good job. A little more creativity in design will take your paper to the next level. Front page is easy to read.

4th. The Clarendon Enterprise – No by-line? Overall good job. One of the best in the category.

Division 10 Small Weeklies

1st. Thorndale Champion – Clean design and good writing. A slightly smaller body copy size might allow for one more story on front page.

2nd. The Princeton Herald – Great writing – leads and headlines. Good photo reproduction.

3rd. The Freer Press – Good coverage, several good leads on stories. Clean design.

4th. Keene Star – Good coverage of your community.