2004 Better Newspaper Contest — Editorials


Division 2, Dailies
Division 3, Dailies
Division 4, Semiweeklies
Division 5, Semiweeklies
Division 6, Weeklies
Division 7, Weeklies
Division 8, Weeklies
Division 9, Weeklies
Division 10, Weeklies


Division 2 Dailies 7,000 to 99,999

1st. The Facts, Clute, Kelly Hawes - "Security, but at what price?" Writing is clear, concise. Stance is firm. Makes me want to write a letter to the editor. Nice job. "Village can grow." Again, good writing. Took me a while to find your stance, but it's firm and well-reasoned and thought provoking.

2nd. Lubbock Avalanche-Journal - "Inmate changes" Great topic. Well-written. "Bad surprises" These guys needed the public flogging.

3rd. The Paris News - "Charter says council sets city manager's salary" Good, strong stance and well-reasoned. Don't let him get away with it. "Good ol' boy government just isn't good enough" Would rather have seen target a little more defined. Not sure you made case for criticizing Rangers.

4th. The Beaumont Enterprise - "Old road names if now offensive must be changed" Firm stance, good reasoning. "Arraignments rotation seems best solution" Loved the suggested solution.

Division 3 Dailies Less Than 7,000

1st. Texas City Sun, Michael Clements - "State leaders owe it to voters to record all their votes" Who knew? Now everyone does, thanks to you. This is an enormously important issue that is both undemocratic and fuzzy. Love the sidebar. You have raised a very important cause. "LaMarque was right to hold pay raise talks in open session" The right questions are asked; reasonable actions are praised; common sense prevails.

2nd. Waxahachie Daily Light - "Tin Cup" Dastardly golf club rips off high school golf team. Shine a bright light on these turkeys. "Taxing disaster" Complex subject, clearly thought through and well organized, and explained so the reader sees the logic of the Daily Light's opinion.

3rd. Seguin Gazette-Enterprise - "Legislation an attack on public's right to know" Calling a dog a dog. Good for you. Politicians need to be called more and worse names. Keep it up. "Education shouldn't be pawn in political battle for control" More politics as usual and the Gazette-Enterprise nails them again.

4th. Stephenville Empire-Tribune - "Changing face of Labor Day" Nice history to segue into praise and honor for workers. "The answer still unclear" Pretty complex and I doubt many would read it through, but good example of a newspaper taking a principled stand on an esoteric point of order.

Division 4 Semiweeklies 4,001 or More

1st. Wise County Messenger, Skip Nichols - "Story shows commitment to family" Nice touch in pointing out the positive qualities of a coach/athletic director. Too many are facing charges, investigations and suspensions. "School board should reveal finalists" Right on target. For a superintendent position, candidates should realize that it must be an "open" process.

2nd. Round Rock Leader - "Council sends message by reversing ordinance" Excellent approach to getting at the real meaning of an important local issue. "Basketball museum could anchor area's attractions" Nice to see the newspaper proactively making recommendations to help community with its goal to increase tourism.

3rd. Wharton Journal-Spectator - "Good teachers deserve more" May be a statewide issue, but it has a major local impact too. "Zoning is not a dirty word" It's nice to support good local government, as well as scold them when they are off track.

4th. Williamson County Sun - "New hope for the courthouse" It's clear that the newspaper is a community supporter from the tone in both editorials. "Turn on the lights" Far too much that impacts a community takes place without citizen participation. It's good to point that out from time to time.

Division 5 Semiweeklies 4,000 or Less

1st. The Canyon News - "College initiative good for Texas" and "New direction in county noted" Great topic. Enjoyed editorial. Kept on subject, had great opinions.

2nd. The Perryton Herald - "Jet ski ban" and "Appoint justices" Had great facts to back opinion. Kept on subject.

3rd. The Breckenridge American - "Still making people victims" Very well written and thought out. Keeps on subject. "We don't need state's permission to pray" Very well said. Doesn't get off subject, has a good point.

4th. The Gatesville Messenger, Marshall Day - "As you can see..." and "It should always" Was nicely written, had great emotions in his opinion.

Division 6 Large Weeklies

1st. Fredericksburg Standard-Radio Post - "Just a chance" Great piece, clear statement. "No easy answer" Outstanding editorial.

2nd. The Cameron Herald - "When is it okay to lie?" Hard-hitting and concise. "New state test a stiff challenge for schools." Good editorial. Needs hard-hitting figures.

3rd. Citizens Advocate, Coppell, Jean Murph - "City makes landmark decision" Good piece, held my attention. "Decision says don't depend on anyone, anything" Hard-hitting piece, doesn't hold any punches.

4th. Port Aransas South Jetty, Mary Henkel Judson - "Next election critical to future" Good commentary. Great values. No personal stand made. "Respect is missing component" Nice sentiment. Good community spirit piece.

Division 7 Medium Large Weeklies

1st. The Big Bend Sentinel, Marfa, Robert Halpern - "See you in Van Horn" and "Spoonful of sugar" Well done. Both editorials spoke of local issues impacting the community. You helped clarify the EMS events and informed readers about water mining concerns, which are evidently being suppressed.

2nd. Medina Valley Times, Lytle - "Building the Texas dust bowl" and "Not in this lifetime" No water in Natalia should be a concern for the surrounding communities as well. You speak for the "little guy" who needs it most. Wonderful account and opinion on an obviously "shifty" situation involving the council candidate. For your paper, integrity is everything. Take the sales person to lunch!

3rd. North San Antonio Times - "Budget woes, insurance rates are priority legislative issues" and "Bevy of barbaric bills could cripple education" Outstanding writing. Someone's paying attention to what's happening politically statewide. Would like to have seen more ties to the local impact on education and legislative issues.

4th. The Marlin Democrat ,Lois Cooper - " 'For sale or lease' sign goes up on VA facility" and "The problem that won't go away - no money!" Both editorials directly addressed local issues in a "home spun" manner. Topics such as vacant buildings and city utilities and money need to be presented to the residents so as to affect change or action.

Division 8 Medium Weeklies

1st. The Springtown Epigraph, Bob Buckel - "What are you doing on the city council?" and "Action was wrong but who's harmed" Excellent job. Both editorials informed and caused readers to think. You make sense of the annexation issues for those who may be unaware. I liked how you assumed responsibility for not picking up on "sneaky" activity in your own paper. The community is well served by a knowledgeable newspaperman.

2nd. Lake Country Sun, Graford, Mark Engebretson - "The buzzards are home to roost" and "Children in the sandbox" No comments.

3rd. Pilot Point Post-Signal, David Lewis - "Look! It's a cretin! Kill it!" and "PPISD bent law, but it didn't break" Well written editorials. The tone certainly avoids the "high road" with respect to your competitor in Denton and the AG's ruling. You've aired problems your paper is having with access to information and your competition very well. Hopefully your readers care.

4th. The Community News, Aledo - "Possible new cell phone law is partial solution" by Christopher Amos and "Road budget division short-sighted" Nice job. I especially like the accompanying cartoon and photo. You challenge the county to do something about the roads. Hope it paid off.

Division 9 Small Medium Weeklies

1st. The Portland News - "Del Mar expansion bill is unfair to San Pat taxpayers" and "Portland citizens should vote yes for sales tax increase" Both editorials are persuasive and call for action.

2nd. The Leonard Graphic, Beth Anderson - "Reporter feels news coverage of murder should stick to the facts" and "School, sweat and teenage boys" At first, I felt the approach more column-like than editorial, but both editorials make very strong statements and ask the reader to act.

3rd. Hansford County Reporter-Statesman, Harletta Carthel - Who says short editorials can't make strong statements.

4th. The Citizen, Clear Lake - "A chilling thought" and "Moving on" Excellent continued support of what appears to be a bad plan, pushed by some influential people.

Division 10 Small Weeklies

1st. The International, Presidio, Robert Halpern - "Presidio parents: send your children to school" Not an issue I have any connection with, but you've convinced me. Well argued. "Will history be repeated?" Powerful and direct argument accomplished by a clear explanation of facts. Quick, tight and to the point. Wow.

2nd. The Morton Tribune, Danny Woolam - Good take on well-discussed topic. Nice laid-back style. A real think piece. Great personal perspective.

3rd. The Eldorado Success, Randy Mankin - "Let NASA do what it does best" Fiery, opinionated. "Commissioner Patterson must answer questions about Rio Nuevo water deal" Good, pointed arguments made in what could be a dull issue. No shyness at all in stating personal opinion -- good sign for an editorial.

4th. None awarded.