2001 Better Newspaper Contest — General Excellence

Dailies 100,000 or More
1st. Fort Worth Star-Telegram – “Deadly storms” issue a gripping editorial and photographic chronicling of deadly Fort Worth twister.
2nd. Houston Chronicle — “Ghosts of war” special and two-part series on underground lines is a perfect example of local and international reporting that affects a wide range of readers.
3rd. San Antonio Express-News — Great mix of local, national and international news beautifully packaged and just as, if not equally, as impressive as its Division 1 counterparts.
4th. The Dallas Morning News — A newspaper with as much national standing as this submission need not concern itself with the picks of one lone judge in New Mexico; it’s a first-class daily on any given day, competition or no competition.

Division 2, Dailies 7,000 to 99,999
1st. The Galveston County Daily News — The paper looks great — bold headlines, nice fonts, easy-to-read type set for text and bylines featuring e-mail addresses. Each section very well laid-out and organized with excellent use of graphics. The breaking news coverage especially on June 20 edition was terrific, concise and informative. News writing itself is very strong. The Daily News also featured a fine mix of national, international news along with state and local coverage. Overall, this is a very good quality product.
2nd. The Beaumont Enterprise — This paper’s layout and design are fantastic, from the preview at the top of the front page, the nice typefaces. Terrific in-depth reporting, especially on the Klan in Texas and the nursing aide shortage — right-to-the-point articles tell readers what it means to them and puts a human face on the problem. The feature on Africa, Texas was also note-worthy. This is a fine regional paper, which also makes room for important national, international events.
3rd. Odessa American — Very good writing, especially on local coverage. The front page layout was excellent. Great use of photos in Sports section. Arts and Travel sections are fine if a trifle thin. Commentary section works well. The paper’s masthead and fonts make for a nice, clean look. Excellent local coverage of Lieberman visit issue. All in all this is a very good paper.
4th. The Baytown Sun  — The makeover for Baytown Sun outstanding (i.e. Nov. 8) Clever headlines, fine, not too busy layout. Good photos. It’s a sophisticated mix. Good in-depth reporting on some issues especially front-page Feb. 27 article on pollution attitude. Specialty sections, however, could be better. Overall, this is a very fine daily.

Division 3, Dailies Less Than 7,000
1st. Hereford Brand — The “entertainment guide” (30 July) was quite well-done, but a third of a page for a Jennifer Beals photo? Other than this, the Brand does few things wrong — a truly thoughtful ‘paper that focuses on Texas and beyond.
2nd. Texas City Sun — “Composition display” was close to excellent, but the interior of the “style” section looks like advertising. The remainder of the paper looks clean and well-organized. The writing is a good mix of state, local and AP stories.
3rd. Athens Daily Review — Photos could be excellent, but they suffer from consistency. Robertson appears to be the best bet, but I don’t think he’s a sports photographer. The main problem in news is a lack on non-Texas stories, but maybe that’s what you’re going for.
4th. Plainview Daily Herald — Nice use of color. More local stories (not just event previews) would serve you well.

Division 4, Semiweeklies 4,001 or +
1st. Wise County Messenger — By far the best-looking paper of the field. Really fine layout and graphic presentation. Sports page is quite weak. Strong election coverage — goes beyond the results. Writing is generally good.
2nd. Williamson County Sun — Graphically, you get as much out of black and white as can be expected. I’d love to see what you could do with color. Writing is at times excellent and in general quite strong. Nice range of coverage. Good photography.
3rd. Hood County News — Nice layout of A-1 for September issue. Strong photos, good headlines. All-in-all a strong publication. Strange no bylines in February issue.
4th. Wharton Journal-Spectator — You must have front-page color to compete in the 21st century! Photos are quite strong, even if B&W. Try for more bylines inside, and more graphics on front page.

Division 5, Semiweeklies 4,000 or -
1st. Lamesa Press-Reporter —  “Cattle don’t care” headline is great. Newsy.
2nd. Moore County News-Press — Great story on Bob Jackson. A thorough and informative package.
3rd. The Light & Champion,  Center — Excellent and thorough package.
4th. The Clifton Record — Great use of photos, especially of the tornado.

Division 6, Weeklies 3,001 or More
1st. Park Cities People — Solid, sometimes ambitious design. Real Estate section needs more in-house copy. Left side cover banners particularly appealing. Excellent use of color and artwork. Writing is clear and professional. Each story stands apart.
2nd.  Hill Country Recorder, Boerne — Layout is absolutely brilliant, as is use of colored borders on front page. Wonderful photo selection and usage. Design is imaginative and makes good use of art other than photos. Lifestyles section friendly and informative. Writing is direct, but not often scintillating.
3rd. The Cameron Herald — Composition is crisp and clean, photos are beautiful and use of color excellent. Design elements are interesting — very eye-catching. Writing is consistent and professional.
4th. The Examiner, Navasota — Use of color to highlight photos excellent. Leads tend to consist of one long sentence, but writing in general is solid.

Division 7, Weeklies 2,001 to 3,000
1st. River Cities Tribune, Marble Falls — Daniel L. Clifton is a busy guy. Thorough, comprehensive. Roll call report is great. So is police beat. Excellent water stories. I would like to see some investigative reporting. The resources are there. A terrific package.
2nd. Ellis County Press, Ferris — Great stories about the computer purchase and the hiring and firing at city hall. I love the way you guys point out who is related to who: “Teresa Bain is wife of Ronnie Bain.” Columns and editorials are great. Terrific variety. A paper that is willing to question government and authority. Terrific.
3rd. The Countywide, Karnes City — Great police story. Need much more explanation on the property appraisal story.
4th. North San Antonio Times — Nice package. Would like to see more investigative reporting. Certainly the resources are there.

Division 8, Weeklies 1,201 to 2,000
1st. Canyon Lake Times Guardian — Good range of news, clearly written stories, good use of color.
2nd. The Albany News — Good local coverage. Truthful advantage of Fandangle opportunities. Made me wish I could have been there and could have known Matt Matthews.
3rd. Springtown Epigraph — One of the top papers in this class. Writing crisp.
4th. The Clarendon Enterprise — Good work throughout. Clean appearances.

Division 9, Weeklies 1,200 or Less
1st. The International, Presidio — Good copy, good advertising, good photos, good page 1 and headlines. Good combination of copy. Good job!
2nd. Keene Star — A very good newspaper. Something for everyone.
3rd. Alvarado Star — Advertising content, both classifieds and retail, very good. Good page 1 briefs and headlines.
4th. Lytle Leader News — Good page 1 color, good copy. Headlines could be more consistent.