MONTGOMERY – Brett Voss was honored with the Fred Hartman Excellence in Sportswriting Award on June 18 at the TPA Newspaper Leadership Retreat. Voss, who is the publisher of The Clifton Record & Meridian Tribune, was presented with a plaque and $1,000 by the revered newspaperman’s grandson and namesake, Fred Hartman of Hartman Newspapers.
“I am deeply honored to be presented with this award today, particularly because of the name it bears – Texas Newspaper Hall of Fame Publisher and Editor, Mr. Fred Hartman,” said Voss, who went on to explain how he was inspired by Hartman.
Like Hartman, Voss began his career in newspapers as a sports writer. He started with The Dallas Morning News in 1983 and became editor and publisher of The Clifton Record and Meridian Tribune in 2012.
Although Voss spent 22 years as a high school journalism teacher and baseball coach, he never left the newspaper business. He served as outdoors editor for the Temple Daily Telegram for 15 years while working as a freelance sports writer for the Killeen Daily Herald and the Copperas Cove Leader Press before moving to Bosque County.
“For all of us who work as publishers today, names like Carmage Walls, Hartman and Moser set the standard to which we all aspire to achieve. To say the least, trying to follow in those giant footsteps can seem daunting at times,” said Voss. “But as much as I want to be the best publisher I can be, in my heart, I will always be a sports writer first.”
Each year the Hartman Award competition alternates between two fixed circulation breaks: newspapers over 10,000 and those under 10,000. This year the contest was open to journalists currently employed with a Texas newspaper under 10,000 in circulation.
The competition was judged by Kevin Robbins, senior lecturer at the school of journalism at the University of Texas at Austin.
“Voss is a one-man sports-coverage band. He clearly is the voice and conscience of athletics throughout Bosque County. His journalism reflects both care and authority, from a celebration of six-man football that demonstrates tremendous reporting depth to a deeply personal and meditative essay, informed by his own connection to the sport, on the cultural role and place of hunting in Central Texas,” Robbins wrote.
“His comprehensive dispatch from the Meridian-Riesel high school football game reads briskly, using quotes to support fact and game summary to keep the story moving. His two columns about professional sports — the hapless Dallas Cowboys and the surging Houston Astros — summon the spirit of his constituency, which Voss represents with great aplomb,” said Robbins. “Voss is a pro’s pro. His portfolio shows tremendous range, a confident voice, skilled reporting and a sense of perspective and context that, I hope, his readers admire and trust.”