2004 Better Newspaper Contest — Column Writing


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

Column Writing

Division 2 Dailies 7,000 to 99,999

1st. Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Burle Petit - "Memories of a special friendship overshadow Super Sunday" Spellbinding! Wonderful word choices. Great story telling. "Snowy days of yore warmed by November memories" You are able to paint vivid pictures with your words.

2nd. Odessa American, Laura Dennis - "Life's lessons are often hard to take" You have a very warm and friendly writing style that makes your columns a joy to read. "Thongs belong on feet - not on seat" Well done! You took a simple, not so important issue and explained something (generation gap) that befuddles nearly everyone.

3rd. Midland Reporter-Telegram, Gary Ott - "Please, Lord, don't let this be happening again" A wonderful job of tying the two tragedies together from a news person's perspective, but also a person, like everyone else, dealing with the sadness. "Johnny Cash, 'the man in black,' always seems to defy the norm" Very enjoyable reading. I loved the way you described Cash as an entertainer who crossed boundaries and appealed to a wide audience, even a 16-year-old who slicked his hair straight back and belted our Folsum Prison blues.

4th. Odessa American, Gene Powell - "Sticking neck out for football can be rough" You appeared to have great fun while writing this piece. It showed and it made me, the reader, have fun too. "Parenthood isn't always everything you expect it to be" This piece was an emotion evoker and a thought provoker. For me, as the reader, it made me wonder how I would address it if a similar tragedy had befallen one of my children.

Division 3 Dailies Less Than 7,000

1st. Hereford Brand, Don Cooper - "What's wrong with pool halls?" Dialogue keeps this moving along at a lively pace. Subject matter - forbidden territory and non-committal grown-ups - is inherently funny. And this has a kicker at the end, like a good short story. "Dad's biggest pain is his fear of pain" Homely details keep the reader empathetic and amused. And here's another "kicker" ending. Real pro stuff.

2nd. Athens Daily Review, Art Lawler - "Hanging on to hope" Details leading up to the crash heighten sense of tragedy when it happens. "Kicker" ending makes a lingering impact on the reader. "Shock and awe indeed" An anti-war column all the more effective because it "shows, not tells" and there's no preaching.

3rd. Alice Echo-News Journal, Nicole D. Perez - "You call those pants" Funny, homely details here, that any mother or grandmother can relate to. "Perales had to fight to right wrongs" The two columns show the writer's versatility, her ability to change pace, from the personal to the political.

4th. Henderson Daily News, Tony Floyd - "Remember the Lions and Tigers, too" Writer performs a great service to his readers by keeping past events alive with evocative details. "It's a Southern thing, y'all" "Hick" and "corny" phrases - a great touch.

Division 4 Semiweeklies 4,001 or More

1st. Hood County News, Stan Weinberg - "Entering 'Geezerhood'" You have a wonderful ability to hold the attention of the reader. "Twas the night before..." Funny, original and makes me wish I could read your column each week. Fantastic writer!

2nd. Hill Country Recorder, Boerne, Elena Tucker - "Short-circuit days" I'm sure many people could relate to the day - catchy and realistic. "Braving the elements" Interesting. Keeps a person reading.

3rd. Wise County Messenger, Erin Boeckman - "Where's the in-between?" Great point to ponder. I hope it made someone stop, think and donate! "The tragic life of April Dawn Lacy" Really held my attention.

4th. El Campo Leader-News, Jerry Aulds - " EC domino talents span generations" Definitely a talent for writing. "No challenge too great for Clarke" Great positive piece.

Division 5 Semiweeklies 4,000 or Less

1st. The Monitor, Mabank, Opal Toney - "Cloudy days" Great talent! "Watching the sun rise..." Excellent writing!

2nd. The Brownfield News, Lynn Brisendine - "'60s dreaming" Excellent writing, subject and lead! "Public scrutiny best" Superb writing talent!

3rd. Mansfield News-Mirror, Mark Wright - "'People ask me if I'm bitter. I'm not bitter'" Great writing style! "Parents of 3-year-old thankful for CPR" Excellent subject. Quality work!

4th. The Highlander, Marble Falls, Eric Bishop - "Homeland security or government cover up? Great writing style! "Llano school still has questions to answer" Excellent lead. Quality writing!

Division 6 Large Weeklies

1st. Port Aransas South Jetty, Mary Henkel Judson - "Keep an eye on big picture" Nice job. Good specifics. Pulled me in and persuaded me to study the candidates and vote. Nice tight writing. "Change a reflection of growth" Again, good specifics, persuasive, positive use of your perspective.

2nd. Azle News, Bob Buckel - "Texas government is beginning to remind me of another Jerry..." Good shot! Good read, quick, specific, persuasive conclusion. Timely. "Summer, and the clothes make me queasy..." Entertaining. Good points in a humorous package.

3rd. Alpine Avalanche, Sam Richardson - "Common ground" Engaging. Brings reader into a ho-hum election topic. "Had Haddaway had his way things might not be thisaway" Well written, supportive data. Good treatment of a sacred Texas topic.

4th. The Jasper Newsboy, Julie Webb - "That dog won't hunt: one side of the story isn't good enough" Nice conclusion. Good stuff for the general public to read. "Lessons from America's porch" Very nice! Wonderful, human perspective, picturesque examples and persuasive conclusion.

Division 7 Medium Large Weeklies

1st. Aransas Pass Progress, Eddie Davis - "A tale of insanity on the high seas" Interesting style! "Hollywood shouldn't be our conscience" Great subject. Quality writing!

2nd. The Countywide, Karnes City, Pamela Baker - "Molly the invincible" and "Stuff invasion" No comments.

3rd. The Countywide, Karnes City, Joe Baker - "Law and order?" Good writing style! "We got him" Great subject. Quality writing!

4th. Mineola Monitor, Gary Edwards - "Be careful what you wish for!" Quality writing! Great subject matter. Excellent writing!

Division 8 Medium Weeklies

1st. Cedar Hill Today, Kirk Dickey - "Song in my heart" Fabulous writing style! "Fortune smiles" Talent! Talent! Talent!

2nd. The Springtown Epigraph, Edwin Newton - "Uncle Les, Grandpa enjoying a big reunion" Excellent, quality, style of writing! "Community provides heroes for us to imitate" Inspirational subject matter! Great quality. Well done!

3rd. Freestone County Times, Karen E. Leidy - Great subject matter. Excellent style! Quality stuff. Excellent lead!

4th. The Community News, Aledo, Jenny Bruce - "Drucilla Woods continues the song of her life" Great writing style! "Mohr family has a houseful of treasures" Excellent subject matter. Great writing!

Division 9 Small Medium Weeklies

1st. Hansford County Reporter-Statesman, Harletta Carthel - Great style and flair! Excellent quality, style of writing!

2nd. Lexington Leader, Linda Conn - "The deafening silence" Outstanding writing style! "It was time" Great subject. Excellent writing style!

3rd. Lancaster Today, Steve Snyder - "A rose without a ban doesn't smell any sweeter" Great subject matter! Excellent writing style. "Father's Day feelings get more poignant with age" Excellent writing voice!

4th. The Winters Enterprise, Jean Boles - "The flip flop side of thongs" Great writing style! "School, shoestrings and carrot sticks" Crisp, creative, interesting!

Division 10 Small Weeklies

1st. The Brackett News, Shanae Simmons - "Crushing a crush" Good writing, honest, personal, but smartly done. "Society places unrealistic goals on personal appearance of teens" Nice way of dealing with issues on a personal level.

2nd. The Eldorado Success, Randy Mankin - "Sometimes a memorial can be pale blue" Good observational writing. Emotional without resorting to sap. "Cats, cardboard and paper sacks" Cute, but well written.

3rd. Deport Times, Nanalee Nichols - "Little miracles" Works as a nice little parable. Simple, folksy writing that makes for a very readable column. "Did I have a bad week?" Nicely written start to finish. Tight little stories. Good.

4th. The Eagle Press, Fritch, Debra Wells - "Oh, gnats!" Some good phrasing. Vivid portrait. Not particularly pointed, but well done. "Trading paint" Nice personal portrait. Good use of light humor.