2006 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

1. The Facts, Clute - "Who should speak for Terri?" by Yvonne Mintz. Your position is clear, very good writing, pulls no punches, it's the law that takes precedence but your sympathy for her family and her was evident. "TCEQ doing too little to punish, fix violations" by Michael Morris. Great lead! Very strong editorial, good local significance - you are the conscience of your community.

2. The Galveston County Daily News - By Heber Taylor. "What if Katrina had hit here?" What an image! Starting with what could have happened, I could almost picture it all - I'd leave, no doubt about it! Stronger of the two examples. "It's time jurors had a real choice" Good job but ending more powerful than lead. The next to last graph - "you'd think at some point" and third from last "in case after case" - would have made better lead. Move those to the top and try it out aloud.

3. Port Arthur News - "PAISD board politics cost $12 million" Good local topic, just enough numbers. You made your point clear, ending particularly powerful. "Legislative session true to form" Like your style - a little subtle humor/sarcasm - but no doubt about your opinion. Better overall of the two entries.

4. The Beaumont Enterprise - "Sunshine Week" You put it on readers' level - examples of how they not the press alone benefit from open government. Well done. "Officials who respect public merit praise" "Two bites of the apple" great way to put it, inventive and still effective. You pointed out the good and the bad, good job, well-written.

Division 3 Dailies Less Than 7,000

1. San Marcos Daily Record - "It's their land, it's their money, it's their business" Amen! Good facts, well-reasoned argument, strong stand. "Neighborhood 'solution' must be accountable too" The voice of reason on an important community issue.

2. Waxahachie Daily Light - "Real tax relief" Cogent, well-reasoned opinion. "Welcome" Nice voice of the community.

3. Ennis Daily News - "Tomorrow is the big day" Good citizenship. "Rep Pitts isn't speaking for those in his district" I think describing it as some of the state's district political foot work might be over the top. But it was a good piece of work to call Pitts on the double-dealing.

4. Brownwood Bulletin - "Expediency no reason to skip reports" Interesting piece on Bangs City Council. Couldn't your paper offer the meat of those reports in short capsules? "Budget season not time for vacation" What's your point?

Division 4 Semiweeklies 4,001 or More

1. Uvalde Leader-News - "Same song, third verse" Good summary of the long-standing issue for newcomers, combined with solid insight and sharp opinion, makes this a winner. "Too much sign" Another fine job of laying out the argument and explaining the public-policy implication.

2. Round Rock Leader - "Spay or neuter those pets" Good use of local statistics to bolster an editorial on a fairly non controversial topic. "School bond failed for reasons numerous and obvious" The writer deserves a cut of the $125,800 for explaining why spending that much on a survey is a waste of time. And explaining why the bond issue failed.

3. Williamson County Sun - "Bond vote signals high expectations" Excellent job of summarizing a community's feelings and issuing a challenge to the community. "What a drag!" Fine writing, but I feel as if I walked into the middle of the show (drag or otherwise) and missed all the fuss.

4. The Graham Leader - "Lessons learned" A good effort to localize a national issue. "Be proud of the turnout" Or should they be ashamed that 2 in 3 did not bother to vote - context needed to know from turnout compared to other elections. Its seems as if this editorial backed into what was important - what happens next, which was covered well.

Division 5 Semiweeklies 4,000 or Less

1. The Gatesville Messenger - By Marshall Day. "As a steward" and "As you can see..." Both entries earned excellent ratings in all four categories. These examples suggest you serve your community well.

2. Jacksboro Gazette-News - "Rumors innuendos and half truths" and "Your voice still speaks the loudest" Your voice also speaks loud and clear. Congratulations on your second place finish.

3. The Perryton Herald - "Death penalty deters" and "Railroad district" Your discussion of two important community issues is impressive.

4. The Wimberley View - "Most Woodcreek residents object to deal" by Jan Hirst and "Change to encourage public participation" by Charles McClure. Your views on two important community concerns deserves recognition.

Division 6 Large Weeklies

1. Park Cities People, Dallas - "Equity not equality" Writing is clear, convincing, excellent points well presented. You write with certainty and I imagine readers appreciate it. "What's as bad as Robin Hood?" Again you write clearly, making a point anyone can easily understand. No question about your position.

2. Fredericksburg Standard Radio Post - "What do they see?" Second graph would have been better lead, but overall well done, not too long, not too short, easy to read and point made. "Too soon to be a failure" Really like the first person style - not one to use often, but this really works. Great lead. Better of two good entries.

3. Jewish Herald Voice, Houston - "State of hate?" Very well done. You do your community a service with strong, no-holds-barred opinion. Your passion is evident! "Pillow talk" The anecdote was particularly apt here. Your outrage (in both pieces) over injustice is evident and convincing.

4. The Free Press, Buda - "Kyle trumps HBA race card" Good lead, good point. "You would get what you ask for" Sometimes standing up for the underdog or an unpopular opinion is the best thing we as journalists can do. Good job, good lead.

Division 7 Medium Large Weeklies

1. The Cameron Herald - "Right to know depends on editorial freedom" and "A city in the sunshine" A fine line distinguishes these two editorial submissions by The Cameron Herald for first place honors amongst a field of numerous excellent entries, all of which the judge scored high in terms of quality, style of writing and subject. Your attention in both entries to the importance of our existence is always timely and appropriate.

2. The Countywide, Karnes City - By Joe Baker. "Honesty and integrity of elected officials is always a newsworthy matter" and "Marriage" Congratulations to the editor for an excellent job in addressing two very critical and important issues both of community and national interest. Your work extraordinary. Both complex issues it's obvious.

3. Westlake Picayune, Austin - By Ed Allen. "Fight night arrests set the record straight" and "Lawmakers again fail on school finance" Your clear opinion on two critical matters clearly indicates you understand your role in your community and are not afraid to express it.

4. Freestone County Times - "When apologies aren't enough" and "Main Street" Your editorials are hard hitting, smacking both issues you address with brute force in just a few impressive well chosen words.

Division 8 Medium Weeklies

1. The Springtown Epigraph - By Bob Buckel. "A fair tax system" Love the lead. I can just see the scene! Courageous to ask for more taxes, shows real commitment to society. "School bond issue is about your children" I like that your newspaper had the courage to turn down an ad it found unsupported by facts, but then you explained reasoning. Especially like the conclusion - that last sentence essentially says you can't be bought.

2. Frisco Enterprise - "Veterans day 2005" Lead could have been better but the body and the conclusion had some real power. This writer cares and isn't afraid to question the powerful or the status quo. Gutsy opinion in a small town. "Legislature 2005" Good tie-in national/state lawmakers and what they see as responsibility to public good. Good writer overall with more localized topics would have been a clear winner.

3. Pilot Point Post-Signal - By Davis Lewis. "Our front door is a mess" Good local topic, like the use of photos. Lead good, conclusion ties in with it. Well done overall. "Deliver us from people like this" The stronger of the two - good for you!! Good lead strong language in e-mails handled honestly and in context.

4. Medina Valley Times, Lytle - "Behind the badge" A compelling story, but to a reader outside of the community who didn't know the details it was a little vague, but points for the emotion. "Cash on the barrel" Probably a good local issue but I just couldn't get excited, yet this is still the kind of topic that most communities want from their local paper.

Division 9 Small Medium Weeklies

1. The Canadian Record - By Laurie Ezzell Brown. "I've been working" Strong and important moral argument. "Roach's plea bargain" Excellent, strong local significance, excellent use of detail to make a compelling argument in the public interest.

2. The Citizen, Clear Lake - "Road block" and "Nightmare" Both editorials are well argued and spell out public interest clearly.

3. Castroville News Bulletin - "Blocking the sun" A bit more background on dispute between city and paper would help; can't assume all local readers are familiar with details. "Of the people" Strong local significance. Good job explaining why Seay has both supporters and detractors.

4. Lake Country Sun, Graford - By Beth Henary Watson. "Students and less-than-pure books" Interesting approach of not overly vilifying school officials but still makes the case for teaching controversial books in the end. Good. "Measurable progress"

Division 10 Small Weeklies

1. The Clarendon Enterprise - By Roger Estlack. "City alderman need to agree on paving plan" The issue is clearly defined. The need to have progress is put forth with emphasis. The writer does a service to the town and its readers. "Local stores meeting needs of consumers" The importance of locally-owned businesses is well considered and articulated in detail.

2. Burnet County Citizens Gazette - "City of Burnet needs to step up" An important issue is clearly defined and the newspaper's stand is made clearly and emphatically. "County officials need to end their squabble" A call for coolness, calm and clear heads. Well written.

3. East Bernard Express - "School funding" Good perspective on funding for public schools. "Open government"  Nice commentary on an issue which too many readers don't consider important.

4. The Eldorado Success - By Randy Mankin. "Kelo vs. City of New London" Interesting point of view on a topic that a lot of readers are concerned with. "The ayes have it" Quirky look at one of those press releases that come across our desks. Super ending.