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NNA 2017 newspaper contest winners announced

Judging results have been processed and winners of the National Newspaper Association 2017 Better Newspaper Contest and Better Newspaper Advertising Contest have been posted on the NNA website. Among the winners are 47 Texas newspapers. 
There were 1,433 entries in the Better Newspaper Editorial Contest and 221 entries in the Better Newspaper Advertising Contest for a total of 1,654 entries. A total of 475 awards were won by 117 member newspapers in 33 states.

Keeping an eye on the storms

CANTON – When a series of deadly tornadoes touched down in Northeast Texas on the afternoon of Saturday, April 29, news professionals at the Canton Herald were looking out for their readers as well as themselves. 
At 5:27 p.m. the newspaper issued its first ominous post on Facebook: “Severe weather in the area. Tornadoes have been confirmed. A slow-moving storm is headed towards Canton. A tornado warning is in effect. Listen for sirens and take cover.” 
At 6:18 p.m. the Herald reported: “Prepare for a third storm to pass over Canton around 6:30.”

Panhandle Press Hall of Fame inducts two newspaper veterans

PPA Hall of Fame members Toby Brooks (left) and Don Richards with PPA Vice President Joni Yara at the 107th annual Panhandle Press Association convention in Amarillo.
Canadian Record publisher Laurie Brown, Eastern New Mexico News publisher Rob Langrell and Community Service winner Joni Yara of the Booker News show off PPA general excellence and community service awards.
Panhandle Press members show off their awards at their annual convention.

AMARILLO – Two newspaper veterans were inducted into the Hall of Fame and winners in the regional better newspaper contest were awarded at the 107th annual Panhandle Press Association Convention held April 20-22 in Amarillo.
Thursday’s reception was highlighted by a welcome reception held at the abandoned Herring Hotel, which hosted PPA conventions from the 1930s through the 1960s. PPA memorabilia was on display from the Herring days, and PPA members Laurie Ezzell Brown, Mary Hudson Dudley, and Susan Hogue Allen recalled attending conventions at the Herring with their parents.

Defense saves notices, derails libel measure while transparency reform fails in tough session

AUSTIN — Newspaper public notice survived serious attacks in the 85th Texas Legislature, and press interests fended off dangerous bills that would have made newsrooms more susceptible to libel suits.
Transparency legislation championed by the Texas Press Association and its allies did not fare as well, however. Most pro-transparency bills fell victim to a deeply divided legislature that fought bitterly over everything from sanctuary cities to tax reform to transgender bathroom access.

Analysis by Donnis Baggett, TPA executive vice president

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Donna Burton
GROOM – Donna Burton, publisher of the Groom-McLean-Lefors News, died April 9. She was 61.
She was a member of the Texas Press Association and served as editor of the Groom News from 1990 to 2009, when she became the publisher and owner of the paper. 
A native of the area, she was active with the Girl Scouts as a local troop leader and council president. She also worked with youth as part of the Catholic Christian Mothers group.
She is survived by two daughters, three grandchildren, and other relatives.

Newsmakers

Miles Smith
NEW BRAUNFELS – Miles Smith is the new managing editor at the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung. 
Smith joins the newspaper after serving as assistant team lead for the commercial dayside division of Gatehouse’s Center for News and Design in Austin.
A 2001 graduate of Texas A&M, Smith began his career in 2002 at the Palestine Herald-Press, where he worked as a sportswriter. After stops in Florida, Louisiana and Indiana, he returned to Texas, taking over as managing editor of Highland Lakes Newspapers in 2010 before joining Gatehouse.