2012 Texas Better Newspaper Contest - News Writing
Monday, 18 June 2012 20:35

Division 2
Dailies 7,000 to 99,999

1. Victoria Advocate: “Same-sex marriage” by Gheni Platenburg – Well-done look at controversial topic from those most closely involved. “Campus chaos” by Kayla Bell and Erin Pradia – Good reporting and well-written.

2. Beaumont Enterprise: “Brawl!” by Jared Ainsworth – Mercy! Writer didn’t look away from this very distasteful melee. Community should be very embarrassed by this display. “Deaths” by Heather Nolan and Jessica Lipscomb – No everyday execution story.

3. Waco Tribune-Herald: “Park” by Kirsten Crow – Strong news value in both stories entered. “Credit card misuse” by Cindy Culp – No comments.

4. Lubbock Avalanche-Journal: “Terror” by Elliott Blackburn and Logan Carver – Good story, but had an arms-length feel to it. “Suspect in custody” by Robin Pyle – Lead could have been stronger.


Division 3
Dailies Less Than 7,000

1. Mineral Wells Index: “Rush to pass ban on airboats” by Chris Agee – Well-researched, highly readable public issue. “Cuts in education” by Libby Cluett – An inside well-researched look at devastating effects of education fund cuts. Difficult topic you handled with ease.

2. Jacksonville Daily Progress: “Accountability for EDC funds” by Karla Clark – Good to see the paper digging into this mess. Keep after them. “Rescued worker” by Faith Harper – Great story. Top photo. Definitely was a must-read and winning entry. Best compelling must-read story.

3. Taylor Daily Press: “Recreation center plan” by Mike Eddleman – Strong on detail. A solid presentation for an important resource. “Helicopter crew fights fires” by Mike Eddleman – Interesting inside look at how a helicopter is used to fight wildfires in Texas.

4. Seguin Gazette-Enterprise: “Crips – 227 years in prison” by Ron Maloney – Impressive in-depth study of gang violence. “Facebook status” by Ron Maloney – I liked this story – different.



Division 4

Semiweeklies 4,001 or More

1. The Williamson County Sun, Georgetown: “Morton embraces freedom” by Andrew McLemore – Andrew can write. That is clear, but importantly he can blend effectively writing with strong reporting. Excellent work. “Divorce/shooting” by Andrew McLemore – Breaking from traditional hard news writing style, McLemore weaves a narrative and still manages to report the facts.

2. The Graham Leader: “Guilty” by Cherry Rushin – Very exhaustive report. Great detail, wouldn’t do it often, but on such a big story in the community seems very warranted and a good read. “Salt Creek” by Cherry Rushin – Solid report.

3. Beeville Bee-Picayune: “Horses seized” by Jason Collins – Effective reporting in a way that surely engaged readers, giving human element to a crime. “3 dead” by Gary Kent and Christina Rowland – Nice detail. Good reporting.

4. Hood County News, Granbury: “City takeover” by Kathy Cruz – “Million dollar parking lot,” could have at least been a pull quote! Good reporting. “Teen angry” by Mark Wilson – Powerful piece. How Rutledge encountered the body could have effectively followed the lead. In any event, good work.


Division 5
Semiweeklies Less Than 4,000

1. The Port Lavaca Wave: “Missing file” by Tania French – Lots of important research and interviewing to develop this award-winning hard news story. “Tornado threatens residents” by Melony Overton – Compelling narrative and must-read story. Two of the strongest news pieces combined to make the best entry.

2. The Bowie News: “Puppy mill” by Barbara Green – Well written. Extreme in-depth, fair and balanced on important issue. Lots of strong photos. Much time involved evident. “Bowie memorial” by Barbara Green – Significant story for your community. Good detail on vote/issues. Almost first place because of your super extra effort on puppy mill story.

3. The Mexia News: “Rights over river” by Roxanne McKnight – Complicated issue thoroughly explained. Obvious you spent a lot of time on research and presentation. Many entries and one of the best. “Elvis” by Roxanne McKnight – No comments.

4. The Gonzales Inquirer: “Fierce storm” by Rob Ford and Lynn Adams – Good, general round up of what happened because of storm plus dramatic photo and interests quotes. “Desecration” by Lynn Adams – Short but important story with appropriate photos. Well written, concise.


Division 6
Large Weeklies

1. The River Cities Sunday Tribune, Marble Falls: “South-of-border crooks” by Connie Swinney – It’s obvious you put in a lot of research, interview work on this important issue. “Parched” by Daniel Clifton – Extensive work and writing on almost every aspect of drought.

2. The Cleveland Advocate: “Animal cruelty” by Vanesa Brashier and Cassie Gregory – Sad story needed to be brought to light. Well done. Strong front photo, too. “Girl abducted, assaulted” by Vanesa Brashier – A most captivating story.

3. Silsbee Bee: “Celebrating lives of teens killed” by Gerry Dickert – Wonderful, touching and seldom presented in news look at lives of crash victims. Your presentation brought this couple back to life for me. “$1 million bond” by David Lisenby – A quick read draws in readers on this important case.

4. Pleasanton Express: “It’s here and it’s big!” by Leon Zabara – Impressive writing, research and presentation on a highly technical subject. “Rowdy ruckus” by Lisa Luna – Lots of detail, colorful quotes and good structure in presentation.


Division 7
Medium-Large Weeklies

1. Frio-Nueces Current, Pearsall: “Home invasion, murder, robbery” by Marc Robertson and Manuel Azocar III – This story was thoroughly written and kept my interest from beginning to end. A truly wonderfully written news story. Mug shots would have been good if available. “Child abuse case” by Marc Robertson – Great lead. Good headline. Good story.

2. The Big Bend Sentinel, Marfa: “Fire” by Sterry Butcher – Beautifully written news stories. “Better communications” by Sterry Butcher – No comments.

3. Hays Free Press, Kyle: “Mom shoots son” by Sean Kimmons – Heart-rendering story. Well-written. “Is Monarch bad for business?” by Wes Ferguson – Good article on subject not often easy to understand or very interesting or exciting.

4. The Cuero Record: “A too familiar scene” by Coy Slavik – Good story on timely and interesting topic to local residents. “Talking traffic” by Coy Slavik – No comments.


Division 8
Medium Weeklies

1. Meridian Tribune: “True grit” by Brett Voss – A very well written story with lots of details. Good job. You painted a good picture of Ms. Fortier. “Flag presentation” by Brett Voss – Good job with this story as well.

2. The Springtown Epigraph: “Final salute” by Edwin Newton – Nice job with story and painting a photo of who Arnold was. “Second kidnapper” by Carla Noah Stutsman – Okay follow-up story. Lead is a little too long.

3. Glen Rose Reporter: “Speed trap” by Kathryn Jones – Good job shedding light on this issue in your community. Good job in going to court to get people who have been impacted by this. “Manhunt continues” by Kathryn Jones – Good job getting this story out to your readers – more voices though.

4. The Dublin Citizen: “Pecan growers” by Paul Gaudette – Good job localizing this story and including a voice of a local producer. “Community garden” by Paul Gaudette – Nice job with story. Good community story.


Division 9
Small-Medium Weeklies

1. Crowley Star: “Land disputes” by Dave Sorter – Good job getting both sides of the story. “Eight-liners” by Dave Sorter – No comments.

2. The Princeton Herald: “Low water levels” by Jimmy Alford – Good story and good to get a local voice and how it impacts him. “Flea market” by Andrew Cone – Good getting both sides of story.

3. The Ozona Stockman: “Burning up” by Melissa Perner – Important issue in your coverage area and lots of voices. “Honking helicopter” by Melissa Perner – Cute/unusual story. Could have talked to local folks about it.

4. The Clarendon Enterprise: “Child’s death” by Roger Estlack – Good job explaining the abuse and timeline of the case/events. “Greenbelt” by Roger Estlack – No comments.


Division 10
Small Weeklies

1. Alvarado Star: “Commissioner resigns” by Brian Porter – Good reporting on this local issue. “Veteran recalls” by Candy McMichen – Nice feature article.

2. The Friendswood Journal: “Keystone XL pipeline” by Jim Molony – Good reporting on an important topic. “Energy expert” by Jim Molony – No comments.

3. The Eldorado Success: “Jeffs’ story” by Randy Mankin – A little lengthy, but very detailed account of trial. “Hospital bond” by Randy Mankin – No comments.

4. The Big Lake Wildcat: “Taxing issues” by J.L. Mankin – Good to see the paper reported on the open meetings violation. “3 day, 60 miles” by Marla Daugherty – No comments.