2004 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 - Outstanding range. Tight writing. Fine makeup and display.

2nd. Houston Chronicle - High quality newspaper. Good work throughout.

3rd. Fort Worth Star-Telegram - This is a fine newspaper that just misses excellence throughout. Super coverage of Bliss scandal.

Division 2 Dailies 7,000 to 99,999

1st. Midland Reporter-Telegram - Excellent local content. Headlines tend to be very long, very little use of subheads. Outstanding local photography and layout. Reader can gain excellent insight into Midland community by reading Reporter-Telegram. Wire copy does not dominate, but rather is blended in nicely. Classified section is enhanced with local covers including photos. Overall, a very inviting, entertaining, highly-informative newspaper. Terrific visual insight into Midland's diverse community.

2nd. New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung - This was difficult to judge because of the two different design concepts. The new design is well-organized and follows nicely the NAA Readership guidelines. Photos offer an excellent visual insight into New Braunfels. Stories are well-written and engaging. Headlines draw reader interest. Very nicely done.

3rd. Lubbock Avalanche-Journal - Love the spotlight on kids sections - obviously advertisers like it as well. Terrific photography from local staff. Writers are entertaining. Design could be a bit more lively. Savvy magazine could be improved by upgrade to brite white paper. Good array of local people photos. Sports coverage is very good. Lots of feature-style writing. (Of course Bob Knight personality helps.) Newspaper reflecting that Lubbock is a very nice place to live.

4th. Amarillo Globe-News - Very entertaining and informative newspaper. Exceptionally nice special edition honoring the Space Shuttle Columbia. (Should have been printed on special paper.) I learned much about Amarillo from these two editions. Nice reflection of the Panhandle city.

Division 3 Dailies Less Than 7,000

1st. Texas City Sun - Great layout and design. Good looking clean look! "Salute to Industry" is a winner! (Didn't use the same photo twice - power campus.)

2nd. Seguin Gazette-Enterprise - Good looking section heads. Photos could be larger. Color reproduction fair. Enjoyed reading "the scene."

3rd. Stephenville Empire-Tribune - Good looking flag. Why not four color in sports? Back to school specialty page was done well.

4th. Hereford Brand - Good looking paper. Nice feature heads, good photo reproduction. Weather forecast too large! Sports weekend head hard to read. Why not put an ad on the weekend lifestyles page?

Division 4 Semiweeklies 4,001 or More

1st. Williamson County Sun - Strong news writing, excellent photography, good sports section. Add an engaging editorial page and you have a lot to admire in this newspaper.

2nd. Round Rock Leader - Good mix of stories on page one. The Leader covers a lot of ground. Business coverage good. Give sports more space.

3rd. Wise County Messenger - Ordinary people shine in this newspaper. Good use of photos, too.

4th. Wharton Journal-Spectator - Clean page one with a nice blend of stories. Good sports coverage.

Division 5 Semiweeklies 4,000 or More

1st. Mansfield News-Mirror - Great layout and design. Excellent coverage of school bond story. Color reproduction is fantastic. What happened to your classified section?? Thank your for not putting an ad on page one.

2nd. Moore County News-Press - The Horizons section was great. Why do all the section fronts look correct? Get rid of the star on all section fronts.

3rd. The Gatesville Messenger - Good color reproduction. Do you really need the weather report graph? Nice clean, crisp look.

4th. The Canyon News - Great color reproduction! Good real estate ad lineage. Classic community support - simple, clean, different idea!

Division 6 Large Weeklies

1st. Azle News - This is a well-rounded, first class newspaper. Attractive appearance, crisp writing, broad coverage, excellent art.

2nd. Fredericksburg Standard/Radio Post - An attractive, interesting community paper. Outstanding art, first class appearance, good writing and subject matter.

3rd. Cedar Creek Pilot, Gun Barrel City - A newspaper to be proud of for its broad coverage, smart crisp writing, excellent front page and good quality throughout.

4th. Pleasanton Express - Well done throughout, especially appealing pages one art and make-up.

Division 7 Medium Large Weeklies

1st. North San Antonio Times - Sharp, professional "big-city" style paper. Something to aspire to. Fine composition. Real strength in specialty pages.

2nd. Colorado County Citizen - Across the board solid, no flaws. Clean layout, crisp writing. Well-written headlines.

3rd. Frio-Nueces Current, Pearsall - You guys really cover the hell out of your community. I'm amazed at the number of stories and photos each week. Watch out for those awful digital images though.

4th. The Free Press, Diboll - Nice "light" use of color. Not overdone. Layout very clean. Writing direct, to the point.

Division 8 Medium Weeklies

1st. West Austin News - Great "fall foliage" page. Most refreshing. High energy, creative.

2nd. The Community News, Aledo - Redesign is serving you well. Too many Texas weeklies are design-poor. Better press work than most, too. Good energy inside.

3rd. The Smithville Times - Good back to school section. 8/7. Good energy on inside pages.

4th. Pilot Point Post-Signal - Good display. Good community involvement.

Division 9 Small Medium Weeklies

1st. Lancaster Today - Good looking, great color reproduction. The Southwest gridiron is fantastic!! Wow! Along with the SW address. City salutes veterans, good feature story.

2nd. Midlothian Today - Good use of different size photos in page 1. Don't put a house ad on page 1. Good classified section. Back to class, great idea, wow! SW athletes, good idea.

3rd. Friendswood Reporter-News - Good sports preview! Great color reproduction. Good use of headlines.

4th. The Citizen, Clear Lake - Excellent job with shuttle tragedy story. Good use of color. Layout could be better used on page 1.

Division 10 Small Weeklies

1st. Thorndale Champion - First impression: strong local news coverage. Overall this is a very good newspaper with good local coverage - be it news, sports or community. This newspaper stands out from its competition.

2nd. The Brackett News - Strong news coverage. The Brackett News finds a balance among local hard news, soft news, state, editorial, sports and features like no other newspaper in the category. With decent photos and design, the newspaper is solid.

3rd. The Morton Tribune - The biggest question I had after looking at the front page was "who wrote this?" Despite a lack of bylines or some sort of attribution, this is one of the strongest in the division. Very orderly design that is not too flashy. Overall a good hometown paper. The news coverage of hard news is lacking, but the Tribune overcomes that with photos, design, local feel good stories and sports coverage.

4th. Century News, Dripping-Springs - Overall a good community newspaper. The editorial page is definitely a strength of the Dripping Springs Century-News. The focus on local news was a plus.