2008 Better Newspaper Contest — Editorials


Division 2 Dailies 7,001 to 99,999
Division 3 Dailies 7,000 or Less
Division 4 Semiweeklies 4,001 or More
Division 5 Semiweeklies 4,000 or Less
Division 6 Large Weeklies
Division 7 Medium Large Weeklies
Division 8 Medium Weeklies
Division 9 Small Medium Weeklies
Division 10 Small Weeklies


Division 2 Large Dailies

1. The Facts, Clute — by Michael Morris. “Disputes in way of erosion solution “ Great descriptive writing for an editorial, provides a narrative entry into a complicated issue. “Resignations the only way to salvage ACHE” Takes a hard line on a local leader but offers a concise and well-reasoned call for her resignation.

2. Lufkin Daily News — “Blowing smoke: Temple-Inland wrong to oppose biofuel subsidy” Takes a conglomerate to task on government subsidies and nicely ties in regional environmental issues. “Legal loophole: Hudson ISD, teachers exploit system without really doing anything wrong” Takes an unexpected but well-substantiated stance on a local issue that surely had a lot of people talking.

3. The Galveston County Daily News — “Kent should resign” by Dolph Tillotson. Very thorough and well laid-out argument for a federal judge’s resignation. Some discrepancy between the “lack of details” released and the sureness of the editorial. “Congress must step in on Kent” by Heber Taylor. Sheds light on the protective secrecy for federal judges. A stinging rebuke that also calls for action form specific legislators.

4. Victoria Advocate — “Tyler should appoint a special prosecutor” Some redundancies with earlier editorial but keeps a continued focus on an important community story. “Public trust is at stake in Ratliff case” Raises important concerns about conflict of interest and miscarriage of justice.

Division 3 Small Dailies

1. Henderson Daily News —“Land deal cooperation merits citizens’ praise, appreciation” A bit overused, but the land deal seems a win-win for everyone involved. Good job of pointing out this success. Really though both editorials tapped key local interest. “Getting their attention” Roads are such a crucial part of our lives, showing the county going out on a limb to try to get their needed loop extension was great news. Nice to see editorials praise good efforts rather than condone bad behaviors.

2. Waxahachie Daily Light — “New tax not the answer to health” Makes several good points and offers a viable plan. What more could you ask for. “Where’s the crime?” Retelling the plight of this woman and how many different ways she was wrong was good. I liked the use of rhetorical questions. The “bed and breakfast with bars” bit was great!

3. News Telegram, Sulphur Springs — “Fighting steroids: Legislature goes to bat for our kids” Timely subject. Good use of popular media coverage (Bonds, Canseco) to validate your points. “What now? It’s time to take a leap” Really highlights the need to move ahead. Asks readers to look ahead to the end-game.

4. Seguin Gazette-Enterprise — “Most letters on dog case fall out of bounds” Well-written response as to why you are not publishing letters to the editor. Both editorials really speak to local issues. “Seguin can’t afford to sit still on annexations” Even though annexation can be a way of life in some areas, people tend not to like it. Editorial points that out and why annexation is needed in rational manner.

Division 4 Large Semiweeklies

1. The Graham Leader — “Students learned valuable lessons” Well-written piece. Interesting position. “Agency helps combat growing scourge” Again, well-written. This could have been an ordinary “don’t do drugs” editorial, but you pushed it to the next level when suggesting a way to take action at the end.

2. Williamson County Sun — “Assessing drug testing” Good arguments/logic, but I wish the newspaper would have taken a stronger stand. The lead was wishy-washy. “Our small eateries need your sigs” Strong voice and important topic. The list of places to sign the petition got to be a little much.

3. Round Rock Leader — “ACC can provide lost-cost education” I liked the lead, but it took too long to get to the issue at hand. “Heated rhetoric skews shelter discussions” Interesting inside look at reporting. It would have been helpful to include a summary of the controversy closer to the beginning.

4. Wise County Messenger — “King offers his views on issues” by Skip Nichols. Strong voice. It was hard to understand the issues though, maybe a little more background would have been in order. “NISD should communicate better with parents” by Brian Knox. Good, personal voice.

Division 5 Small Semiweeklies

1. The Jack County Herald — “Enough is enough” Good point and nice to see the paper taking the high road on this one. However, I’m surprised such a rule was only now put into place. “What were you thinking?” Very interesting conundrum with inclusion of spicy quotes. What could be a bureaucratic county story comes off as compelling read.

2. The Sealy News — “Morality questions cloud alcohol debate” Very salient points about letting “morality” issue cloud debate over alcohol in one part of town. “Consider the consequences” Good timely editorial. Use of “consequences” gets a little repetitive, however.

3. Breckenridge American — “Life didn’t end without the Internet, e-mail and cell phones” Cute opinion piece. Would liked to have seen one example (or more) of a resident without all the current technology. Refreshing take on a business inconvenience. “Don’t stop at just the ‘n-word’” Great point about just stopping at the “n” word, and where do you stop? As much as I despise the “n” word, seeing a town try to enforce language bothers me.

4. The Light & Champion, Center — by John Krueger. “We should realize that it happens here” I liked the anecdote about the old acquaintance as the tie-in to the topic that spurred a whole series. I would have liked to know more about the specifics of her situation. “Don’t worry if you have a ‘cracked pot’” Unusual column, nicely written with salient points for all.

Division 6 Large Weeklies

1. Park Cities People — “Detour of reason: Beverly Drive residents have to recognize the facts of east-west traffic” Very strong local interest. The story idea must have came from some second-guessing and careful analysis of traffic routes. “The Opposite of Decency: A few reflections on what we’re teaching our students” It would have been easier for the writer to have made a simple opinionated claim, but instead they built a logical, yet accessible case for their argument that hinged on ‘decency.’ Much more hard-hitting. It worked well to tie-in ‘reflections’ about students leading from the actions of administrators.

2. Jewish Herald Voice, Houston — “Going on the offense” I thought it was an important realization that you made about conflict-centered discourse at the conference. It was made stronger by the call to arms for the local Jewish community to reach out to non-Jewish neighbors. “Rock the boat” You painted a picture of a religious community in jeopardy and I especially liked the italicized question you rhetorically asked toward the end of the piece.

3. Cherokeean Herald, Rusk — by Terrie Gonzalez. “No ‘golden parachute’” The perfect venue for an editorial. Not only does Ms. Gonzalez write with confidence about TPWD, but it is obvious that she is sympathetic to the workers. The TPWD’s changing statements are italicized and broken up, so the reader really gets a sense of the ‘ride’ these employees have been taken on. “Lake Fastrill is like the mythological Phoenix” The metaphor is perfect. It must have really resonated with local people (water policy and local sovereignty seem prevalent in editorials). The description of “water hustlers” also bolsters your argument by painting a picture.

4. Pleasanton Express — by Sue Elizondo. “Bric-a-brac(kish)?” The combination of the two terms was clever and relevant. Mostly I was impressed with how easily the piece read. The writing quality makes it more persuasive and signifies local interest. “’07 bond” This piece showed support for the bond, which seems important for locals. “The way I see it” was weaker on this one, though.

Division 7 Medium Large Weeklies

1. Westlake Picayune — by Ed Allen. “WLH’s $3 million contingent liability clarified” Good use of an editorial to set the record straight. No-nonsense language breaks it down for the reader. “A time to prove trustworthiness” Nice way to let the new council know it’s being watched by you.

2. West Austin News — “Immigration’s human cost” by Tudey Teten. Awesome use of statistics to bring home the message that illegal aliens’ actions can impact us all, even Teten. “USA on world podium” by Seldon B. Graham, Jr. An unusual subject but I was swayed — I now believe snowshoe racing should be an Olympic sport.

3. The Community News, Aledo — by Randy Keck. “East Parker County deserves a bigger piece of the road budget pie” Solid work here. Good idea to include phone numbers of local judges’ phone number and fax number. “A good time to say ‘yes’” Nice summary of the issue at hand. It’s not always easy to say yes to these kinds of issues, so good work reciting the ‘why’ behind it.

4. Duncanville Today — by Angel Morris. “Community policing” Solid reasoning in this piece to advocate for community policing, and putting the burden on readers, too. “Community newspaper” Kind of weak — this editorial would have been better served by using NNA or other statistics about newspaper readership and community involvement.

Division 8 Medium Weeklies

1. The Springtown Epigraph — by Bob Buckel. “Weatherford College has earned this vote” Good use of facts to advocate for this issue. Nice work. “ESD, public info: Closing off public information won’t improve coverage of SVFD” Good use of watchdog role to advocate for public honesty.

2. The Canadian Record — by Laurie Ezzell Brown. “Governing with incendiary devices” Nice lead and good use of military terms to explain the difference between warring factions. Solid analysis. “The living and the dead…” This was a little over the top and could have used some restraint. The reader feels sympathy but keeps getting hit over the head.

3. Lake Country Sun, Graford — “Believing in Santa” Heart-warming, fuzzy, feel-good editorial. Nice work. “Little changes” The editorial was a nice ribbing to get leaders moving on this issue.

4. Pilot Point Post-Signal — by David Lewis. “In search of new leadership — It’s time to harness new ideas, new energy to move ahead” Good work, just not top three material. “Huh? Krugerville’s intervention in land sale hard to fathom” Sounds like something is happening behind the scenes. Perhaps cornering a council member or camping out in the city attorney’s office would be the next step.

Division 9 Small Medium Weeklies

1. The Clarendon Enterprise — by Roger Estlack. “Perry attacks Texas colleges with veto plan” Solid writing with good information to support claim. Bold and confident tone carried all the way through, keeps reader locked. “City should look for a new administrator” Excellent support throughout and depiction of meeting — solid writing, great local story.

2. The Gladewater Mirror — “Pressing an issue with police officer” Excellent approach/response to incident and helping to educate readers about job as journalist. Writing very solid. Headline worked very well. “Keep your family on guard against fire” Good way to reach out and educate community — statistics worked very well to support. A way to localize fire statistics would have really boosted it. How many fires in community past five years? Fire deaths?

3. Frankston Citizen — by J. Tom Graham. “What have we learned from statewide tests?” Topic clearly stated in top of article and well supported. Examples and analogy of school like business worked really well to support. “The highest and best use of my time” Build up of “no one will pick me” led to unexpected turn in story. Word usage very good. Solid conversational voice that keeps reader in article.

4. The Albany News — “Street repair is critical issue” Good piece, assuming it parallels news story about city developing plan, good explanation in conversational tone. “Tax freeze is risky” Excellent support of why tax freeze is risky and explanation of grants. Lead could have had more of a draw.

Division 10 Small Weeklies

1. The Overton Press — “OEDC to research sidewalk project” and “A horse needs water, it also needs to think: advice for leaders” I like the subject matter of this column. I thought you brought the point home nicely at the end.

2. Alvarado Star — “4B board steps up with extra money” This is nice because you included the opinion of the dissenting voter, even though it was different than yours. “Here’s your chance to make a difference” This was a good, explanation of a local matter. Easy to understand.

3. East Bernard Express — “A good solution” A good explanation of a local issue and I like that you ended with the point that a better solution can come up. “Voting: We fight for the rights of others but squander our own” Very good point.

4. Wallis News Review — “Blood drive” and “TTC” A good explanation of a local issue. I like that you included the comment about the letters from the Homeland Security spokesman.