2001 Better Newspaper Contest — News Writing

Division 2, Dailies 7,000 to 99,999
1st. The Beaumont Enterprise — The Klan story is both important and powerful. Great job of a local story that is also national. The homeless series contained fine, fine writing, and the photos were just as strong. Well done with both. Both stories are clearly the best of this division. Looks like you are doing a great job in your area.
2nd. The Galveston County Daily News — Special report on homeless was very, very strong — a good report on an issue that will never go away. Excellent photos complemented great writing. The Liberty fire story was a good investigative piece but did not have quite the impact of the special report. It was a very good look into the suspicious fire case, very thorough, very complete, very well-written.
3rd. The Facts, Clute — Great lead on “LJ Blaze” story. “Services for the retarded” story was very strong, very complete. People really need to know about the Justins around us.
4th. The Baytown Sun — Good lead for shoot-out story. Fine coverage. Nice lead on pipeline explosion. Good description of chaotic event.

Division 3, Dailies Less Than 7,000
1st. Ennis Daily News — Good tight writing on interesting and newsworthy subjects.
2nd. Alice Echo News — Good job. Nice tight writing.
3rd. Waxahachie Daily Light — Nice descriptive writing. Tight style and good organization.
4th. Brownwood Bulletin — Good coverage of a controversial topic. Copy could use some tightening up.

Division 4, Semiweeklies 4,001 or +
1st. Wise County Messenger, Decatur — I like the way these stories move right along. There’s no down time. It fits contemporary readers who don’t have time to sift through. Could we have a quote from a resident or two?
2nd. Williamson County Sun, Georgetown — Thorough research and careful organization on complex subjects pays off. The “Club” story: Could there be some of the scope i.e. estimates of women involved and $ moved up earlier in the stor? Maybe it raises the stakes for the readers.
3rd. Polk County Enterprise, Livingston — S.C. story is well organized and explains complex legal issues in very understandable way. Can Mosely’s lengthy quotes on page 2 be tightened up a little? Also I had trouble connecting the beginning of Anderson’s story (Ku Klux Klan) with his problems with felony charges.
4th. El Campo Leader-News — The writing is the strength here. Crisp and clean. But I worry about statements in the school board story. Can you say the school board “has violated” when the the investigation by D.A. has not been completed? It may lend credence to those who would say they were “tried in the press.” Could you say “apparent violations” or the board members concede they “may have violated.”

Division 5, Semiweeklies 4,000 or -
1st. The Angleton Times — Descriptive, tight writing about interesting, social issues that become crimes. The writer uses the right words to draw the reader into the story.
2nd. The Clifton Record — Good, crisp, tight writing.
3rd. The Light and Champion, Center — Informative, well-written. Could use some tightening up.
4th. The Perryton Herald — Good descriptive writing about community crimes.

Division 6, Weeklies 3,001 or More
1st. The Madisonville Meteor — Very good writing about an excellent story with universal appeal. The writer does a good job of news reporting.
2nd. The Rockdale Reporter — Good writing. Article holds interest. Subject matter has universal appeal.
3rd. Frisco Enterprise — The writing is excellent. The coverage is thorough and the subject matter has universal appeal.
4th. Tyler County Booster, Woodville — Excellent writing. Thorough coverage and good news reporting.

Division 7, Weeklies 2,001 to 3,000
1st. Crowley Star — Murder-suicide story good descriptions, good story about a sad situation. Homicide story - Good story, great details. Strong writing. Good inclusion of family detail on both stories. Reporter obviously did a lot of work on these. The best stuff I’ve seen in this category.
2nd. Wood County Democrat, Quitman — Good story on coach that brings up issues and dilemmas instead of just a laundry list of events leading up to coach being kicked out. good story on bad check writers too. Both reporters have interesting styles. Good stuff! It was a tough call between this and first-place entry.
3rd. The Big Bend Sentinel, Marfa — Strong writing about important news.
4th. Lindale News & Times — Good stories. Well-written. Great community news.

Division 8, Weeklies 1,201 to 2,000
1st. Friendswood Journal — Good lead in distemper story. Tell me sooner why I should care about distemper outbreaks. Any story that includes the word “up-chuck” is OK in my book! Another good lead for crematorium story, effective in getting to point of story.
2nd. Hansford County Reporter-Statesman — Thank you! Your lead in the pipeline story was refreshing and effective. I think you could have raised more questions about safety of pipeline, but good job adding context with NM explosion reference and data on number of pipelines in Texas. Reasons story weaker of two stories. Why no quotes from the Pearsons? Odd. Still, a strong submission.
3rd. Benbrook Star — Immigrant story very interesting. Good use of quotes. Decent lead. Why no photo of him? Angels - Avoid leading with quotation. Would have worked better as  pull quote. Good job though, telling us about the victims. Strong piece.
4th. The Clarendon Enterprise — Avoid passive voice, especially in lead (dog story). Interesting story. Good job tracking down information. Cross burnings - Good quotes. nice use of multiple sources. In both stories you fail to note that suspects are accused of crimes. Lead in cross burning finds them guilty. You’re liable to be sued for this.

Division 9, Weeklies 1,200 or Less
1st.  The International, Presidio — Murder: How does marriage relate to case? Needs more development on possibility of wife as suspect if that’s what law officials are looking into. And he was also married to the former mayor? Needs more checking. Drug trio: Great story! Thorough. This story really carried the entry.
2nd. Lytle Leader News — Theft: Good outline of what happened and how. Next to last paragraph should be toward top of story. It’s too good of a quote to bury it. Get better editing. Too many misspellings mar good story. Murder: Good follow-up to a major story.
3rd. The Freer Press — Eight-liner story: Explanation off the game and device and winnings needed. Lead doesn’t reflect story focus. Disagreement among law officials on legality. Kopatz: Good quotes, good detail and description. Attorney quote about unknown reason for killings can go higher  in story. In a murder, big question is “why?”
4th. Martin County Messenger, Stanton — Title IX: Well-rounded and organized story. Could have talked to parents who filed complaint. Rape case: Good detailing of testimony.