2012 Texas Better Newspaper Contest - Editorials
Monday, 18 June 2012 20:45

Division 2
Dailies 7,000 to 99,999

1. The Galveston County Daily News: “There’s just no way that was legal” by Heber Taylor – Championing citizens’ rights of access to their government in one of the newspaper’s most important roles in its community. Excellent watchdog journalism. Great public service. Strong approach, well written. “Public housing plan not so foolish” by Heber Taylor – Rather than piling on in the criticism of GHA the newspaper reassessed the issues and took a fair approach with good analysis, targeted the real issues.

2. Odessa American: “ECISD board should not have one voice” – Excellent job of holding public officials accountable while advocating for government transparency. Casual writing style, but effective. “Redistricting fireworks” – Good public service and educational piece.

3. Midland Reporter-Telegram: “Voters should have say” – Am sure the piece resonated with the community and championed the rights of citizens, voters and taxpayers. “Sex-ed program” – Newspaper willing to take a stand on a controversial issue on a subject that appears to be important in the community.

4. Lubbock Avalanche-Journal: “Smoking bans” – Strong editorial, solid argumentation, well written and fact-based. “Power plan” – Well thought-out commentary.


Division 3
Dailies Less Than 7,000

1. Greenville Herald-Banner: “True Heroes” – Excellent editorial on a heartbreaking and timely topic. I’m sure this was cut out and taped to refrigerators all over town. “Smart is sexy” – A reminder that in spite of the many ways there are to obtain news today, people still trust newspapers to have the facts.

2. Ennis Daily News: “Our worries are far from being over” – Excellent and timely editorial for 9-11 10th anniversary. Length was perfect. “EHS sex case accusations chill spirits” – Excellent editorial on tough subject.

3. Brownwood Bulletin: “Keeping up with budgets” – Point of editorial is lost – Good idea, though. “Get a handle on feral hogs” – Not a pretty sight – feral hogs running free up and down the highway! I would hate to hit one of those! Good editorial.

4. Taylor Daily Press: “A lot of nothing” – Good subject matter. May be too long – come to conclusion sooner. “Time to invest in Taylor” – Taxes are always a good topic for editorials. This editorial could have been broken into two or three perhaps?


Division 4
Semiweeklies 4,001 or More

1. The Williamson County Sun, Georgetown: “City bond” – Nice to see the newspaper taking a strong position on a local issue and done with well though-out explanation. “A call to farms” – Interesting approach to subject matter – unique in category.

2. Uvalde Leader-News: “Child’s death” – Poignant. “Liquor by the drink” – Controversial subject, pleased to see newspapers willingness to take a stand.

3. Beeville Bee-Picayune: “Uh-oh, City Hall” by Jeff Latcham – Casual writing style, but engaging. Good straight-forward position. “DeRusse” by Jeff Latcham – Nice tribute.

4. Wise County Messenger, Decatur: “Path to recovery” – Nice community service. “Governor ignored warning” – Making issue local and relevant. Good job.


Division 5
Semiweeklies 4,000 or Less

1. The Perryton Herald: “School bond” – Detailed, authoritative writing and strong call to action on local issue. “Fireworks ban” – Good laudatory editorial with substance on issue to support kudos. Strong writing again!

2. Lampasas Dispatch Record: “Prayer service” – Good call to action and colorful, descriptive writing to support position. “City manager” – Strong writing with detailed background.

3. Round Rock Leader: “Hot check funding” – Well written, good authoritative position with supporting arguments for viewpoints. “Meals on Wheels” – Another strong editorial on local issue and watching where tax dollars are spent.

4. Burleson Star: “Grand jury” – Good local topic. A little wordy though. “Prairie dogs” – Good, reasoned approach to viewpoint. Nice ending.


Division 6
Large Weeklies

1. The River Cities Sunday Tribune, Marble Falls: “Redistricting” – Good culminating editorial. Strong writing. “Identity crisis” – Another example of strong writing supported by reasoned arguments to support viewpoint. Good call to action for city leaders.

2. Citizens’ Advocate, Coppell: “Best and worst” – Good summary and tone. Might have explained better who was rude/haughty. “Council actions” – Strong call to action on P&Z.

3. Port Aransas South Jetty: “Port Authority” by MHJ – Good local topic and laudatory editorial. A little difficult to follow history of nomination though. “Transparency” by Phil Reynolds – Clean, concise writing. Strong tone.

4. Pleasanton Express: “Petition” by Sue Brown – Clear, informative position on local issue. “Initiative” by Sue Brown – Strong call to action in advance of meeting.


Division 7
Medium-Large Weeklies

1. Mount Vernon Optic-Herald: “City administrator” by Susan Reeves – Good watchdog role for editorial. Strong, well-reasoned editorial. “City permit fees” by Susan Reeves – Another strong example of watchdog government and the taxpayers’ money. The clear writing made a complex subject easy to understand.

2. Hill Country Community Journal, Kerrville: “Veterans Day” – Strong, vivid writing. Nice personal touch to what is an annual editorial topic. “Shop local” – Good call to action with numbers/analyses to back up viewpoint.

3. The Navasota Examiner: “Health” by Scott McDonald – Strong, personal editorial to share with readers. “Adolph Brown” by Scott McDonald – Vivid writing to capture reader and drive home editorial viewpoint.

4. Westlake Picayune, Austin: “Comments” by Ed Allen – Good explanation of commenting and how a community needs civility. “Noise issue” by Ed Allen – A little wordy by explanation, but a call to action nonetheless.


Division 8
Medium Weeklies

1. Lake Country Sun, Graford: “PK complex fire” by Mark Engebretson – Good tone. Strong call to action for community and structure of editorial was easy to follow. “River bill” by Mark Engebretson – Wow! Powerful writing and clear point of view.

2. The Dublin Citizen: “School discipline” by Mac McKinnon – A little wordy but point comes through. “Bonds for school renovations” by Mac McKinnon – Good supportive arguments on bond issue.

3. Western Observer, Anson: “NLRB” by Tiffany Waddell – Good subject but no link to local impact or community. “Memorial Day” by Tiffany Waddell – Good reminder about relevance of holiday.

4. No 4th place awarded.


Division 9
Small-Medium Weeklies

1. The Clarendon Enterprise: “Chamber” by Roger Estlack – Strong, reasoned arguments for editorial position taken. Good local topic for community leadership position taken through editorial. “Death of child” by Roger Estlack – Perfect tone for subject matter. Insight by use of FB helped put a human struggle/context for reader. Well done!

2. The Albany News: “City manager” – Strong leadership position. Good writing. Good call to action on finding new manager. “Graduation” – Loving tone and glimpse of human drama that all parents go through. Strong reader connection to topic.

3. Crowley Star: “Drilling” – Good use of bullets to support position. Strong call to action for council leadership. “Thanksgiving” – Nice tone for holiday editorial.

4. The Ozona Stockman: “Wildfires” by Melissa Perner – Good call to action and specific examples to support position. “Fireworks” by Melissa Perner – Great editorial! Hope the commissioners took the editorial to heart.


Division 10
Small Weeklies

1. Joshua Star: “Burn editorial” – Important local subject clearly defined with strong writing and caution warning to community. Good job focusing on issues of importance to local community in both editorials. “Alcohol sales” – Very good use of segmenting multiple points of editorial. Easy to understand, informative and supports premise of why voters approved it. Well done!

2. The Liberty Hill Independent: “Fire department saga” – Well-written, well-reasoned editorial calling out residents who may have benefitted from the casting of the couple. Good structure to edit, especially powerful, bulleted points/questions. “Skin in the game” – Another strong local topic that makes readers think about government and its role.

3. Alvarado Star: “Veterans Day” – Nice local connection and use of sports vs. war heroes for editorial. Terrific tone in writing. “Voting/legislature bills” – Easy to understand with clear writing and reasoned supportive arguments for positions taken.

4. Wallis News-Review: “President’s visit” – Presented through personal border experiences – nice touch. Didn’t link chuckling at president’s remarks though, since there is no direct mention of how immigration goals connect with violence. “Fugitive” – Very strong writing with local call to action on notification. Very well done!