2007 Better Newspaper Contest — Headline 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

Headline Writing

Division 2 Large Dailies

1. The Beaumont Enterprise - "Red vs. blue is gray area in SE Texas" Colorful slant to basic news story, draws you in. "Can't name the forest for the trees" A fresh twist to an old saying and highly appropriate for story. "Hull on Earth: Rita leaves sailors in limbo" The perfect head. This alone wins the category for you. Best and most appropriate hurricane head I've seen. With that and the photo, you almost don't need a story.

2. The Galveston County Daily News - "GPD blue turns to UPS brown to catch woman with the green" Great play on colorful words to tell story. "Pirates' residents fear city plans to plunder" Great tie on pirates and plunder. Made me want to read an otherwise basic story. "Front porch upswing: Lonely, longing Americans flee suburbia in search of more traditional neighborhoods" Told the story in a nutshell.

3. Lufkin Daily News - "Candlemakers wax nostalgic about craft" Kind of cliché but fits and works with story. "LISD officials believe exam too 'TAKS'ing" Play on words difficult to understand at first but it fits nicely. "Man allegedly blows his stack at IHOP" Laugh out loud. This one got you third place.

4. New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung - "Under God's management: New owners have heavenly plans for dance hall" Nice twist on unique story. Liked it. "Breeders have dog in roadside sales fight" An oldie phrase but works. "River violations surge higher" Weakest of the bunch, surge higher is redundant. How about a "wave of violations on river"? Something like that.


Division 3 Small Dailies

1. Ennis Daily News - "Swelter shelter: Elderly, low income families get help for the heat" Very eye-catching. "Dunn deal: New superintendent signs on the bottom line" and "Notes from history glass: Czech historians get an art glass lesson" No comments.

2. Brownwood Bulletin - "In praise of pumpkins; or, lessons by the grace of gourds" This one would have won if it had started "Lessons..." or was just "By the... "The corporal delivered major punishment, but earned private respect" and "Awash in memories after putting the spin on some rinsed-out thoughts" All of these were too long and convoluted for maximum impact.

3. Waxahachie Daily Light - "Deadly beast: Runaway donkey causes fatal crash on I-45" This one seemed to be cheating a little, since donkey did not actually do the killing. "No time to kill: Police, Union Pacific join forces to increase rail crossing awareness, safety" and "Good cop, bad cop? Investigation links Waxahachie police officers to murder/arson case" No comments.

4. Taylor Daily Press - "Pumpapalooza: SPJST celebrates national accordion month" Bottom two were better; this one drags them down. I'm not sure what it means. "Dog gone expensive: Costs climb under proposed contract with Humane Society" and "Blade runners: Parts for wind energy farm transported through Taylor"


Division 4 Large Semiweeklies

1. Wise County Messenger - "Neighbors pooh-pooh proposed sewer plant" Hilarious. One of the best of them all. "finding Tristen's smile" Works with subject. Not the strongest of the three but good. "Silence of the stands: Fireworks: You can sell 'em and buy 'em but you can't set 'em off" Great play on words, good presentation.

2. Round Rock Leader - "Justice delayed...but not denied: Convicted felon captured 20 years after fleeing" Serious but catchy and accurate. Dramatic. "Mucho Macho Munchers: There was a hot time in the old town tonight" Cute, perfect for topic. "Sometimes it's hard to be a woman" Told me right off what you were trying to invoke. Funny. Best set of three entries in division.

3. Boerne Star & Recorder - "Parents not sweet on vending machine contents" Says it all - simple, funny, effective. "Looking for dove in all the wrong places" Great play on words. Fits right. "Breeding concern: Small ranchers have beef with livestock ID system" Not as strong as other two entries but catchy.

4. Beeville Bee-Picayune - "College's LVN program on life support" Effective. "Promoter gets bad rap, but no complaint filed" Best of three. "Despite burn ban fireworks sales are skyrocketing" Not as original as some, but works here.


Division 5 Small Semiweeklies

1. Copperas Cove Leader Press - "No hot dog here: Doghouse catches fire; dogs remain unharmed" Extremely eye catching! One of the best head-photo combos I've ever seen. "Taxing time for Coryell: Appraisal district office broken into; computers had been tampered with" and "Un-pleasant lane: Murder of 71 year old man not first for quiet neighborhood in South Copperas Cove" No comments.

2. The Canyon News - "Pop a hot TOPic: Three Canyon restaurants, including Eagle Diner for the fourth time, seek P&Z approval of specific-use permits for the sale of alcohol" A little gimmicky for my taste. "Taxes hold 'em: It's back ... three days of shopping without paying sales tax, though still not on school supplies" Good! "Live and Let Dye: He always wanted to jump out of a plane thousands of feet in the sky. His wife's birthday gift finally turned him into the Skydiving Preacher" Good although it looked like a typo at first, copy was too far from lead.

3. Lampasas Dispatch Record - "Memories flood back: On anniversary of Lampasas deluge, old story details destruction, flight from raging waters" "A timely investment: Courthouse clock needs continued adjustment, care" and "Departing from the script: Chiropractor veers from routine to dabble in screenwriting" All these heads suffered because they were too small and too jammed together for maximum or even good effects. Concept: 8-9; Execution: 0-1.

4. Drippings Springs Century News - "On the right track: Former Lady Tiger gets off the ground at Trinity University" "Whole bunch of muck in Dead Man's Hole" and "Quarantine puts PAWS on pause" No comments.


Division 6 Large Weeklies

1. Silsbee Bee - "Taxing problem: Nearly $3.7M due in delinquent payments" Easy head but effective. "Principal's principles: Lynn Bilberry heads to Iraq - again" Really liked how this play on words fit story. "No home for the holidays: Grandmother, 5 grandkids lose home to fire" Simple head, nice fit to story.

2. Mansfield News-Mirror - "Wok this way: Take out menu focuses on low cal" Good play on words. "What's up with Doc's?" Don't normally like question heads but works here. "Wily coyotes raising ruckus in King's Mill" Not an easy story to write a head for. You did nicely.

3. Mineola Monitor - "Travel reporter falls for governor, has stitches to prove it" Way too short, had good idea, just didn't fit. "Works like a charm: Sheriff's department uses transmitting bracelet to find elderly man quickly" Very effective; told story. "Chief horses around when not at department" Head a better read than story.

4. The Free Press, Buda/Kyle - "Oh baby! Mother uses breastfeeding incident to educate city" Short and sweet. "Blunderpalooza? Future is iffy for music fest" Teaser makes you look twice. "Flag burning debate seems like a red, white and blue herring" Cliché but not bad with this story.


Division 7 Medium Large Weeklies

1. Westlake Picayune - "Austin power: Maroons stun Westlake for first series win" Could have been longer but tells the story. "Gem dandy: Westbank jeweler's one-of-a-kind pieces include necklaces, bracelets" Short and sweet. Gets the point across. "Hahn solo: Violin prodigy Hillary Hahn joins ASO at celebration of Beethoven" Bad pun, but works really well on basic story. All these are simple plays on words but nice effect.

2. Lake Travis View - "April 20 sewage spill still stinking up Fantail homes" Tells the story. "Will toll roads really make everyone sing 'Kumbaya'?" In a few words, captures the gist of the story. "Wrong dam name opens accountability discussion" Somehow a dam name always works.

3. Freestone County Times - "Jack is back! Builder adds retail to daily business" Gets the point across. "Fairfield Jr. High students: Quilt evolution taught in schools" Liked the double meanings on this one. "Did you hear the boom? Freestone County seat explodes in construction" Good imagery conveyed by head.

4. Burnet Bulletin - "School as good as gold: Burnet schools recognized for achievement by state" Too short but good idea. "Report: Like 10 miles of bad road: Engineering study identifies 143 city street segments needing repair" Cliché but gets the picture across. "Leaky jail drains county coffers" In a few words tells a more complicated story.


Division 8 Medium Weeklies

1. Hill Country News, Cedar Park - "Cedar Park unhooked from BRA deal" Clever wording. Headline grabs attention. "Suspension. Fire. Death. Questions! Leander assistant principal suspended because of reported inappropriate behavior with a student; believed to have died in house fire just minutes later" Tremendous impact. Good job of placing dynamic headline with dynamic story. Way to seize the opportunity! "CP thong too cheeky for city" Yet another clever headline. Good work!

2. The Smithville Times - "Aggressive vultures will be dead meat" Good, clever headline "City smells savings in sewage: City manager: Customers will save if city purchases treatment from LCRA" Nice work. Very sensory headline. "TxDOT pulls plug on electric marquee" Decent job.

3. Iowa Park Leader - "Success breeds suspicion: IPCISD 'flagged' for high TAKS test scores..." Good play. "TAKS hike recommended" Good headline, but layout needs work. Font is too small. "Seay you later: IPCISD asst. superintendent is selected as lone finalist for Van Alstyne superintendent position" Very clever.

4. Lake Country Sun, Graford - "Graford High cuts out pocket knives" Clever headline. "Area author Kearby hangs first book's theme on racial issues" Good impact on reader. "Little suckers: River's leech population up" Headline draws reader into story.


Division 9 Small Medium Weeklies

1. Pearland Journal - "Pearadise Lost: Austin Westlake 35, Pearland 32" Great display on page. Very unique and clever. "Oiler win is Saenz, sealed, delivered" Nice word play. "Believe this! Reid Wendell's amazing effort caps off a day to remember for the Pearland Oilers" Ties in well with story.

2. The Clarendon Enterprise - "The End is Near: Street project could be finished next week" Good display on page. "Oh, hail!" Nice word play. "Dam fire torches 70 acres" Very clever headline.

3. The Albany News - "Lights to burn bright in fight against cancer" Good rhyme scheme. Creative. "Musicians start off on right foot" Good headline with solid accompanying photo. "Leaders plunge into water study" Good job.

4. Hico News Review - "Mulch ado about seismic testing..." Good pun. "Fish nets over $7,200 for Fire Dept. and good time for diners" Very descriptive headline. "'Well, you make me want to shout' Questioning crowd hears Railroad Commission, other info about nearby gas field disposal well" Solid impact.


Division 10 Small Weeklies

1. Overton Press - "Grandma got run over in election year" This headline set the standard in this category. Clearly the best! "Communication gap discussed at meeting" Solid headline that begs for a second look. "Lions fed to Greenville Christians, 76-26" Nice effect.

2. Thorndale Champion - "Grease to add build up in city's budget" Original headline with good execution. "Ghouls & boys ... it's carnival on Saturday" Nice job. "Fast curve leads to soft serve" One of my favorites! Very creative.

3. The Eagle Press, Fritch - "Fritch Ink" Good display. "Don't meth around" Solid play on words. "The apprentice boss: Fritch's youngest businessman tells how he went from apprentice to boss in four short years" Creative effect.

4. South Tarrant Star - "Sports theme hits home run" Good creativity. "Mock session; good lesson: Everman honor students hold 'Mock City Council' work session" Good rhyming. "Everman fright sights delight: Everman carnival bigger than ever" Lyrical headline.