2009 Better Newspaper Contest — Headline Writing


Division 2 Dailies 7,000 to 99,999

1. The Galveston County Daily News — “Tagged? you’re it: Homeowners have just 15 days to get rid of graffiti” Great display with word play. “Did vote chip off the city’s old bloc? New council members insist they’re independent but could constitute a new majority” Pretty clever. Takes a bit to sink in. “Comeback crawling” Traffic at standstill even as isle residents learn they can’t come home” Captures the moment. Nice job.
2. The Brownsville Herald — “So hard to Handel: ‘Messiah’ demands talents of eclectic group of local singers” Clever. Nice display. “”Beaten to a pulp: Dolly squeezes citrus crops” A bit cliché. “Downtown: Brownsville merchants struggle for sales, and some say times have never been tougher” Great wordplay combined with effective display. Nicely done.
3. Victoria Advocate — “Bienvenido, Bill: Clinton’s visit to Victoria being called ‘historic’” Nice display. “ ‘I did it, Dad’: Jeffrey Grimsinger pleads guilty in Blackwell case” Wow factor. “Nukeconomics” Intriguing.
4. Lubbock Avalanche-Journal — “A threat to sue Peggy: Buddy Holly’s widow protests book by woman named in song” Gets your attention. “Achilles Healed: Stem cells from own tissue help get dog back on feet” Clever. “Heavenly Advocates: Think of saints as a Catholic’s ‘Verizon Network’” Nice display and attention getter.

Division 3 Dailies Less Than 7,000

1. Brownwood Bulletin — “Persistence puts police in position to pinch pumpkin pilfers” Over the top alliteration. Love it. “The Perfect Swarm: No. 2 Lady Jackets repeat as ASC champions, remain undefeated with 77-55 win over Nov. 8 McMurry” Very nice word play. “A very deer, and very dear, project indeed: Hunters for the Hungry gets boost at Good Sam” Little cliché, but OK.
2. Stephenville Empire-Tribune — “From poop to power: Dublin welcomes methane plant” Criminy, this is funny. Good one. “Don’t get stripped — pick up your dry cleaning” Better hurry down there! Attention grabby. “un-BELIEVEable” Cliché.
3. Waxahachie Daily Light — “Against the Grain: Group seeks to defeat Nov. 4 bid for alcohol sales in Waxahachie” Nice word play. “Crossing Mom: After daughter nearly struck by car, parent sets up patrol at school zone” Good impact. “Rule limits sex in the city: Midlothian adopts sexually oriented business ordinance” Clever.
4. Alice Echo-News Journal — “Double digging — cemetery plot sold twice” Oh, gosh. This one sure gets your attention. “Mayor leaves office Grace-fully” Resignation became effective Saturday” Clever. “No magic for this lord of the rings: Good Samaritans helped in foot chase to catch burglar” OK.

Division 4 Semiweeklies 4,001 or More

1. Beeville Bee-Picayune — “Dolly not doing diddley! First hurricane to hit Bee County in four years dumps rain, blows some but causes little damage” Attention grabber. Works well with the second deck. “Bride’s ‘I do’ hits snafu – Iraq sandstorm may delay wedding day for Beeville bride-to-be” Gotta read this story. “Misty eyes in rain drop room: Created to help unfortunate children in time of need, storeroom of clothing, toys and dry goods is disorganized and half-empty” Nice word play — not too flip and gets a point across.
2. Wise County Messenger — “Doctors are in, even when they’re out” Fun, curious, attention getter. “No SOBs allowed, at least for 90 days” Oh my. A little risky, but fun. Probably was the best part of the week! “Hospital to smokers: move your butts off campus” A little cliché, but gets the point across. “Growing controversy: Keeping trees at root of concern over proposed site for new pharmacy” A little cliché, but tells the story.
3. Uvalde Leader-News — “Civic disorganization: Council holds one emergency meeting; mayor and two councilmen fail to show up for another” Not bad. Could get the wrong angle in the deck. “Driving force: Duo works together to get students to class” Simple and effective.
4. Fayette County Record — “Bye-Bye Birdies: Priest seeing his flock off to South America for winter” Nice word play. Fun. “Monumental success: Stolz family shapes the rock of ages” Clever. “Horse and Ryder: Gentle touch at extreme Mustang makeover” Makes you wonder about story. Nice.

Division 5 Semiweeklies 4,000 or Less

1. Lampasas Dispatch Record — “Gas prices put brakes on truck buying: Auto dealerships feeling crunch of high cost of oil; economy car sales picking up” Great choice of verbs. “No drizzle to slow the sizzle: Forecasts show little chance of rain” Nice rhyme. “Saying ‘I do’ is more expensive proposal now” Great choice of nouns. Far and away the class of the field.
2. Andrews County News — “Tornadoes cause for alarm: Wednesday funnels were first in years to approach Andrews” Nice word twist. “Putting away paint cans for pencils: Construction of new elementary school facilities does not delay registration” Good newsy head. “Business owner banking on sweet success: Andrews provides proper location for custom cakes-pastry operation” Nice choice of object, sweet success.
3. El Campo Leader-News — “Digital advertising welcome, but flashers better not show” Flashers catches attention, but kind of bait and switch head. “Plastic wrap plan doesn’t seal out museum concerns” Nice verb usage. Way to go. “EMS crew sniffs out late night house fire” Good choice of verb.
4. Copperas Cove Leader-Press — “Here’s your sign” Nice, clever. “Dirty politics?: Ethics commission might decide fate of sign on 190” Good tie in with the “flush the john.” “The Final Chapter: City library director Peg Fleet to retire Friday” Very nice original head.

Division 6 Large Weeklies

1. Silsbee Bee — “Scrubbed: Shirtless spirit members banned from homecoming game” Oh, gawd, this was corny… and I loved it. “Faced with new homes or no homes, Silsbee residents tell developer to ‘Go Home’” Clear meaning; good impact. “Lumberton foot-brawl: Pee-wee coaches pound each other while players look on during game” A little cliche, but OK.
2. The Rockdale Reporter — “Suspected brisket thief arrested, grilled by police” “Sheriff shoots for 47% raise: Greene commissioners say revenue rise justifies salary increase” “City council in ‘dust up’ over streets – Miller says stalled project ‘embarrassing;’ new water tower advice may double size, price” A little cliché, but OK.
3. Wilson County News — “Four generations of watermelon growers – Watermelon queen continues 50 years of a family tradition” Clear meaning. Great display. “Hello Dolly, goodbye cotton: Early estimates of $1.6 million for crop loss in Nueces County alone” Nice word play. A tad flip for a serious situation. “More than an online newspaper click wilsoncountynews. com” To the point. Nice display.
4. Mansfield News-Mirror — “Retirement leaves students feeling Low” “Touch you later, alligator” “Smoking plan whiffs on 1st try” Good word play.
Division 7 Medium Large Weeklies 1. Bandera Bulletin — “Cowboy capital decrees diaper duty stinks” Attention-grabber. Compels reader to go deeper. “Investigators hot on the trail of arson suspect” Tells the story without telling the story. “Political false notes reverberate” Clever with good segue.
2. Freestone County Times — “Few breaks in Fairfield water rates in Fairfield: Water awakens sleeping giant” Local issue of great breadth. Headline pulls reader inside. “Chicken odor ‘fowls’ air: Sanderson Farms addresses citizens’ concerns” Classic use. “Black iced roads contribute to fatalities: Flurry of accidents” Clever and direct. Quickly identifies issues.
3. Medina Valley Times — “Kryptonite needed to fire city manager” Drives the point home without the need for exaggerated font size. Great choice of words to illustrate challenge of termination. “ ‘They better be wearing iron britches’ CPS Energy’s power line extension plans go down like glass in Hondo” Story not included but compelled me to want to seek it out. “Strip club pinched by law enforcement sting” Cleverly integrated club and law enforcement terminology into head.
4. Westlake Picayune — “No nip to Tuck’s creative success” Good spin of popular TV program. Fun and clever. “When the Westbank was at war: Former missile pad off Bee Cave Road a remnant of another era” Liked the graphic elements. Colorful and eye-catching. “Sweep success: Evans help Chaps power past CC Ray, stretch playoff winning streak to six games” Two words make the point better than a dozen could have. Great effort.

Division 8 Medium Weeklies

1. The Canadian Record — “Once David … now Goliath: Cats no longer wear underdog moniker” Perfect. Keep it up. “Mission Impossible Accomplished: Wildcats claim first-ever State Championship” Good use for strikeout, though unorthodox, which makes it great. “Over a barrel: Rodeo Association board has traditional Fourth of July event” The headline says it all. Great headline writing all around.
2. Ellis County Press — “Wii hab: Video game provides new approach to therapy” Excellent use of word play. Good job! “When the Bard-well went dry: Citizens raise stink over lack of water” Good use of town’s name for well story. “Bailout, sell out: Both senators vote ‘yea’” Nice: it tells it like it is.
3. Farmersville Times — “Cattin’ around: FVFD raises $4,5000 with fish fry” Good header, gets the reader intrigued. “Beep, beep Coyotes run wild” Second “animal” headline. Good use of a cartoon item. “Watching their flocks by night: FFA alumni raise funds for ag project” Thirds “animal” reference!
4. Bandera County Courier — “Jailer fired as result of ‘jailhouse rock’ – Violation of penal code occurred” Good use of “jail.” “Top dog tells lame duck, ‘Get scoop on dead pets’” Animal name use is clever and intriguing. “It’s a matter of manure… City confronts equine elimination” Excellent use of the English language.

Division 9 Small Medium Weeklies

1. The Gladewater Mirror — “Yeah it happens: Poo pools after pumping problems” A multiple alliteration. Classic! “Prostitute’s poor pick leads to lock-up: Police chief arrests woman after illegal offer” More alliteration. “Spiked: Tropical storm winds batter East Texas” With a little help in graphics, this was a very successful headline/layout.
2. The Eldorado Success — “Say it ain’t so, Uno!” Great for both sports fans and dog-lovers. “City council meeting goes to dogs” This cliché is over-used… “Fugitive pinched on St. Pat’s Day: Day-long manhunt begins with high-speed chase in Sutton Co.” A new verb for “arrested” well done!
3. Muleshoe Journal — “Bulldogs taught to sit” Good use of a small width. “Getting ‘49 miles and two rows of carrots to the gallon’” Interesting, but hard to understand. “‘I left my heart in San Francisco… and they gave it to somebody else” Clever.
4. Hico News Review — “Goats prevail in trial: Hung jurors regroup, bring ba-a-a-a-ack ‘not guilty’ verdict” Funny! I liked how “prevail” echoes “trial.” But don’t goats say “am” and sheep say “ba”? I’ll trust you’re closer to the subject than I am. “It’s a boy… and a boy, and a boy and a girl!” Talk about impact! “Tiger by the tail” Well done.

Division 10 Small Weeklies

1. Lone Star Iconoclast, Crawford — “Deep in the heart of horror: Texas Frightmare Weekend launches ‘Night of the living Dead’ world tour” Good impact. “Paper or Pretense: ‘Who stole my money?’ Did JP Morgan Chase commit electronic banking fraud, or was it simply a mistake that affected 27,000 Alltel customers?” Like the questions. Good intrigue. “The Great Escape: Texans scoot to jump gas prices” Good impact, relevant and creative. Best effort.
2. East Bernard Express — “It’s no joke: truck goes up in smoke” Could have been played bigger but nice effort. “Brahmarette Bling! State champion softball team presented with rings” Good impact. “EBISD’s first family of food: Daughter-in-law of longtime EB cafeteria lady assumes role” Good play on words.
3. Crowley Star — “3,2,2 … Splat — Children learn about gravity, force, friction using eggs” Best effort. Tells story adds intrigue. “Cruise disaster: When good times go bad” Not bad, not great. “It’s not Chicken Little” OK.
4. The Lindsay Letter — “Chamber rodeo gets bucked” Cliché. “Kickin’ it American style — Student adapting to new country, sport” Fun. “Number sense: Hanson turns uncanny math ability into titles” Good play on words.