2011 Texas Better Newspaper Contest - Feature Story
Monday, 20 June 2011 13:05

Division 2
Dailies 7,000 to 99,999
1. Victoria Advocate, “Dream Street” by Gabe Semenza: This could’ve been a boring story about some city visit. Instead, it’s a vibrant, well-written informative story with lots of elements and great layout! “In the driver’s seat” by Erica Rodriguez: Wow! Awesome lead, great story, great subject, great presentation, great information. Did I mention great?
2. Beaumont Enterprise, “Lonely deaths” by Kyle Peveto: Great story about a heart-breaking subject. Love the sidebar. “The final score” by Jon Styf: Another tear jerker! Great entries from this paper. I love the lead, and the rest of the writing.
3. Laredo Morning Times, “Suicide prevention” by Julie Daffern: Nicely written story about a painful topic. “The death of a child” by Cesar G. Rodriguez: Really well done. Love the writing and the timeline.
4. New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung, “Buckey” by Greg Bowen: Well written. Really interesting story. “An actual miracle” by Autumn Phillips: Great lead, nice writing, well done!

Division 3
Dailies Less Than 7,000
1. Waxahachie Daily Light, “Saving grace” by Rebecca Hertz: Great lead! Really well-done story. Lots of info. “Band of brothers” by Neal White: Another great lead. Loved the story and the subject.
2. San Marcos Daily Record, “The traits” by Anita Miller: Cool and quirky story, nicely done. “Chance encounter” by Anita Miller: Well-written and interesting story.
3. Athens Daily Review, “Bridge reopening” by Art Lawler: Well-written feature about what could’ve been a boring topic. “Football coach” by Rich Flowers: Interesting story. Nicely done.
4. Stephenville Empire-Tribune, “Helping in Haiti” by Amanda Kimble: Interesting read. Nicely done. “Fighting for Mikayla” by Sara Vanden Berge: Good, solid story about an interesting subject.

Division 4
Semiweeklies 4,001 or More
1. Wise County Messenger, Decatur, “Flight for survival” by Brandon Evans: A great lead! Loved the writing, loved the headline, if there were more photos, it would have been better overall. “Voice of God” by Mandy Bourgeois: Great lead, great subject, great layout. I loved this story!
2. Hood County News, Granbury, “Pioneer spirit” by Mark Wilson: Great story with excellent presentation. “Color blind” by Rick Mauch: I love the lead! Great story with great presentation.
3. The Highlander, Marble Falls, “Scruffy Knight” by Geoff West: Great lead, nicely written story, good presentation, great subject. “Lawman’s odyssey” by Geoff West: Great subject. Really in-depth look at this man and what drives him. Good presentation.
4. El Campo Leader-News, “Little hero” by Brenda Sommer: I love the lead. Nicely written. I like the photos side by side. Good subject. “Steelman retires” by Shannon Crabtree: Nicely written story. I wanted a better second photo.

Division 5
Semiweeklies 4,000 or Less
1. The Terrell Tribune, “He’s got class” by Michael Gresham: Great lead. Tight, solid writing. Good display that makes the story better. Nice job! “Hidden gems” by Don Johnson: Great lead! I wanted to shop there within the first three graphs! Love the layout.
2. Lampasas Dispatch Record, “Western author” by David Lowe: Nice lead, solid story, great subject. “Survivor Africa” by David Lowe: Love the lead! I felt like I was on the vacation with this woman.
3. The Bowie News, “Creating memories” by Barbara Green: I really like the writing style. “An unbroken circle” by Barbara Green: Great subject matter. Good job in getting the family to talk to you. Nicely done!
4. The Jack County Herald, Jacksboro, “War between the states” by Jana Lynn Rupe: Great lead! Nice pictures, but could’ve been displayed better. “More bang for your buck” by Kim Gibby: Nicely written story. However, the photo made me like the story less.

Division 6
Large Weeklies
1. Hays Free Press, Kyle/Buda, “Cell dogs” by Sean Kimmons: Great story. Really moving subject. Well written and great presentation. “The Milligan Trio” by Jen Biundo: The opening graphs just pull you in to this really well-done story. Love the pictures, too.
2. Park Cities People, Dallas, “Fun rules” by Eric Nicholson: Nicely written and very well-presented story. “Crew accepts all” by Georgia Fisher: Really well-done story with great presentation.
3. Port Aransas South Jetty, “Ghost stories” by Phil Reynolds: Great lead! Fun story. Well written. “At long last” by Dan Parker: Nicely done, but I wanted to see the rest of the story (series)!
4. Wilson County News, Floresville, “Serving tastes of several generations” by Nannette Kilbey-Smith: Good lead. Well-written story. “Secrets revealed” by Nannette Kilbey-Smith: Nicely done.

Division 7
Medium-Large Weeklies
1. Lake Travis View, Austin, “Even keel” by Devin Monk: Nicely written story. Good photos. “Focus on the finish” by Devin Monk: Great subject. Well done.
2. The River Cities Sunday Tribune, Marble Falls, “Heart to heart” by Connie Swinney: Good, solid story. Good choice of subject and story elements.”Broken glass, common stone” by Daniel Clifton: Love the lead! Love the pics - a job well done here!
3. Bandera Bulletin, “Medina cafe” by James Taylor: Love the lead! Nice, colorful story about a colorful character. “Hospital in a box” by James Taylor: Nicely written, timely story.
4. The Pittsburg Gazette, “Maria Chavez” by Kim Cox: Nicely done profile. Love the presentation! “Farmstead Museum” by Susan Taft: Again, love the presentation! Good, solid piece about what could have been a boring topic.

Division 8
Medium Weeklies
1. Refugio County Press, “Principal Leslie Garza” by Kenda Nelson: I love follow-ups, and this is a great one to do, 31 years after the fact! Nice job. “Land of the free” by Kenda Nelson: Good, solid profile.
2. The Canadian Record, “Coming home - Part 1 and Part 2” by Laurie Ezzell Brown: Great profiles, both of them. However, both were too long, in my opinion.
3. Iowa Park Leader, “The bone diggers” by Kevin Hamilton: Tons of cool info. Nicely written. “Ponder’s plan” by Kevin Hamilton: Good, solid feature.
4. Pilot Point Post-Signal, “Winning the race” by Veronica Hamlett: Solid lead. Nice photos. Good story length. “Technology and tombstones” by Veronica Hamlett: Great display - a solid piece that’s a good read.

Division 9
Small-Medium Weeklies
1. Palacios Beacon, “Postmaster Joe” by Ryan West: Great lead. Nicely done story. “A hero and his family” by Bert West: One soldier comes home alive - the other one isn’t. I loved the two of these stories as one entry. Good stuff.
2. The Hometown Press, Winnie, “Cracking a cold case” by Scott Reese Willey: Well-written story about an interesting subject. “He’s history” by Scott Reese Willey: Nice mix of story and Q&A.
3. Van Alstyne Leader, “Teenager celebrated” by Rodney Hays: Really nice lead. Well-done story. “Music within” by Rodney Hays: Interesting read/profile.
4. Mart Messenger, “Brother Bill: by Bill Reynolds: Nicely written story. I felt like I got to know the subject, even though he’s gone. “Cosby Show” by Bill Reynolds: Also well written. Nice profile.

Division 10
Small Weeklies
1. Lake Cities Sun, Lake Dallas, “The Queen bakes cakes” by Anthony Scott: Great lead. Nice layout. “Jay Jay Sanchez” by Anthony Scott: A boxing story? Oh yeah! A really well-done one. Great writing.
2. The Bay Area Citizen, Houston, “Magician” by Chuck Hlava: Great lead. Well-written story. Nicely done. “Filmmaker” by Chuck Hlava: Good solid writing. Interesting subject.
3. Dripping Springs Century-News, “Church celebration” by Anne Drabicky: Nicely done feature. Great presentation. “Horseplay” by Anne Drabicky: Another well-done story. Great subject.
4. The Leonard Graphic, “75 years” by Ava Barlow: Love the lead, but would’ve made it two graphs. Nice story. “The bicycle man” by Ava Barlow: Nice lead in to an interesting story. Well done!