2004 Better Newspaper Contest — Sports Coverage


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

Sports Coverage

Division 2 Dailies 7,000 to 99,999

1st. Odessa American - Far and away the best sports section in this category. Layout forces the reader to give it a chance and it's worth the look. You've answered every question anybody could possibly have about high school football - and it was fun.

2nd. The Beaumont Enterprise - Good variety in these pages - soap box derby to boxing. Loved the "our home" feature and related stories throughout. Several great reads in the football section, especially "food for thought" - different and fun. Track photos were great.

3rd. The Facts, Clute - Love the breakout boxes. Snazzy design gives a fun feel. Nice section.

4th. Amarillo Globe-News - Mike Lee's "running from the past" is reporting at its finest. Sports with perspective - what a concept!

Division 3 Dailies Less Than 7,000

1st. The Huntsville Item - The track package is awesome! Good leads to great stories and excellent photos to help out. Your layout is very good. Clean and tight. Good use of graphic art on baseball story and thumbnails on VB stories. One question - why is there one paragraph on "gray" jump bolder and with larger point? Should have filled space between "jump" jump and ID credit.

2nd. Alice Echo-News Journal - The writing is good. Great lead. Love the heads "the wall" and "one tough mama." The range is great FB, boxing, G basketball and fishing on page 1 (8/31). Photos are good but production hurts them, too cloudy. My biggest problem is there is too much of it. The Biazzell story is good, but there are only 2 1/2 paragraphs before jumping. Too much graphic art. Prediction box has no predictions, just shows who versus who.

3rd. Athens Daily Review - I laughed at the lead on the TVCC girls basketball game. No. 2 in the nation for a homecoming opponent? That's good writing. Great lead. Would have tied the swimming pic with the jump. I like the use of text boxes for box scores, but I'd put them on the jump if possible. Good range, FB, VB, boys and girls BB. Thumbnails too large for FB lead-in, takes away from a good VB pic.

4th. Stephenville Empire-Tribune - I liked the "Strawn statebound" package. Good pictures with the game on Fri. Would liked to have seen a followup story with it. Great BB pic to go with round-up. Soccer works with range. "Gotta make the soccer moms proud." Would have liked to have a clear-cut dominant photo in 8/31 front. Both good action pics but nothing stands out. The bottom story (Tolar 35-0) has second-tallest head - shouldn't be at the bottom. Good leads help the stories and good writing makes everything better. Good job.

Division 4 Semiweeklies 4,001 or More

1st. Williamson County Sun - Nice photos! The mix of action and reaction is well-done. You can tell the planning and layout are important to the final product. Strong headlines and presentation with many points of entry for the reader. The reporters don't settle for merely spitting back stats and don't rely on tired clichés to carry the story. They tell stories! Well done.

2nd. Hood County News - You can tell a lot of hard work and planning went into the production of these sections. I enjoyed the themes and the content. Nice graphics and well-organized. The writing dropped off somewhat after the sports editor. A very reader-friendly guide to the season and the best part is that it appears you had fun while doing it.

3rd. Round Rock Leader - Captivating photos and well-done design. Some overcrowding on the cover but lots of value to the reader. Good balance of action and emotion in photos. Would like to see the writing convey more emotion and tell stories than rely on stats, but overall a good product with space limitations compared to others in this category. Keep up the good work! This paper does a lot with a little!

4th. The Graham Leader - Overall, a strong newspaper front to back. The sections could benefit from better photo display and layout. Be bold! Loved the cover graphic illustration of fall sports preview. Tell me more stories and provide a more balanced mix of coverage between gamers, features and previews. Think enterprise. Put sports briefs inside and either create a more entertaining rail for news nuggets or use the space to make more impact with photos and design. Lots of potential here.

Division 5 Semiweeklies 4,000 or Less

1st. Mansfield News-Mirror - This section puts readers first - nice presentation, navigational tools and writing that told stories, not just the score. Very good section.

2nd. The Highlander, Marble Falls - Nice change of pace with cross country and LPGA on cover.

3rd. The Canyon News - Writer works hard to cover all the bases.

4th. The Monahans News - Enterprise in naming Lobo of the year. Stands out. Sports at a glance is good use of small newshole.

Division 6 Large Weeklies

1st. Pleasanton Express - The writing, in combination with the photos and design, makes this paper the clear winner.

2nd. The Wylie News - This is a local version of USA Today. Lots of info, easy to read with a nice variety.

3rd. The Jasper Newsboy - In this division, third place is as good as first place in other divisions. Nice job on fall sports.

4th. The River Cities Tribune, Marble Falls - More variety on layouts needed. Would like to have seen more writing and less photos.

Division 7 Medium Large Weeklies

1st. Westlake Picayune, Austin - You produce a section you should be proud of. The class of this division.

2nd. Rockwall County News - Thorough job on volleyball preview. Very clean look. In another division, could be best.

3rd. The Free Press, Diboll - Some of the best writing of the division and a complete section.

4th. The Schulenburg Sticker - Always remember to include voices in stories. A writer can write what he/she sees but it takes athletes to tell the readers what they feel.

Division 8 Medium Weeklies

1st. Pilot Point Post-Signal - Good layout, crisp writing. Well-thought-out section.

2nd. Pearland Reporter-News - Best special section of the division.

3rd. The Farmersville Times - Makes the most of space, but still leaves lots of room for improvement.

4th. The Springtown Epigraph - Writing and range of coverage took this section from non-winners.

Division 9 Small Medium Weeklies

1st. Lancaster Today - Special treatment for a special event. Well done.

2nd. Crowley Star - Nice collection of photos and special treatment of football title was right on the money.

3rd. Midlothian Today - Basketball photos really strong. Lot of depth to these pages. Change my mind on range of coverage - excellent to include hockey, soccer, tennis, baseball rodeo, track - something for everyone.

4th. The Albany News - Kid loading crunch, parachute jumper offers something a little different. Variety is good.

Division 10 Small Weeklies

1st. Burnet County Citizens Gazette - Best in division in terms of overall depth and quality of coverage and range of sports.

2nd. The Princeton Herald - Solid effort what's lacking are voices of athletes, of coaches.

3rd. The Merkel Mail - This entry knew what to do with a big story, without sacrificing other sports.

4th. Thorndale Champion - Enjoyed game story on same page with look-ahead to next week's opponent.