2005 Better Newspaper Contest — Column Writing


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

Column Writing

Division 2 Dailies 7,000 to 99,999

1st The Beaumont Enterprise - Jane McBride. "Life can throw us a challenge or two" The other column gives one the impression that McBride generally writes with humor. This column shows that she is an excellent writer who can put her life into a totally different column and with compassion and understanding. An excellent column because the reader cannot stop until the final words. "A man's throne guaranteed to never clog up" Very funny, very good! Crisp, comical and really enjoyed this.

2nd The Galveston County Daily News - Dolph Tillotson. "Arguments murky on both sides of debate" and "LNG: A good deal that can still go bad" Very well written. An example of someone willing to look at a different issue and reach a logical conclusion. Good job for a conservative!

3rd The Beaumont Enterprise - Christopher Clausen. "If Scalia heeds his viewpoint, he'll step aside" and "Arizona honor shows route for Jap Road" Excellent columns in a very competitive category.

4th The Eagle, Bryan/College Station - Ray Wilkerson. "Cooper MIA bracelet finds its way home" and "Taming a pit bull problem" Well-written columns; interesting topics in a category that is very competitive.

Division 3 Dailies Less Than 7,000

1st Athens Daily Review - Art Lawler. It takes a talented writer to so vividly share personal stories in a way that makes them our stories too. I cried with this writer in "A Love undying" and laughed with him in "A Sweet dance indeed." Thank you for a beautiful, well-written glimpse into your soul. I hope your readers routinely give you good feedback.

2nd Hereford Brand - Brian Brisendine. "Hidy, Hidy Hereford 1 & 2" Your leads bring me in and make me want more. I can "see" what you're talking about. Great job.

3rd Hereford Brand - Karla Abernethy Thetford. "Aunt Linda was angel among us" and "It was a squirrelly situation" Can't explain it, just worth the time to read. Columnist is very versatile. Excellent with both serious and fun topics.

4th Stephenville Empire-Tribune - Anna Boudreau. "I've turned into a reality TV junkie" and "Memories keep loved ones alive" Relevant topics. Well-written, great read.

Division 4 Semiweeklies 4,001 or More

1st Burleson Star - Darlene Moore. "Welcome to the trials of a tolerant Mom" What an entertaining story! She has an upbeat, quirky style that is easy to read and catches the readers attention. "Where were the seconds before indecency?" Insightful piece on a topic that was more than played out in the news. Opinions that motivate action. Great style, good lead, resonating end comment.

2nd Round Rock Leader - Mike Eddleman. "Is channel surfing drowning our kids' minds?" Boring lead, but engaging topic, though he doesn't fully investigate the issue. Not as inspired as "It is time," but well-written. Does not do a great job reconciling personal opinion with the broader subject area. Encourages discussion. "It is time for government to stop dictating morality" Great lead that encourages readers to tackle this piece. He gives his opinion while leaving room for discussion. Concise, intelligent style. Excellent insight on a relevant topic.

3rd Boerne Star & Hill Country Recorder - Elena Tucker. "Pimp my van" She does an excellent job of relating her personal experiences to that of her readers. She has a unique writing style that can be flowery but never convoluted. The piece bridges generational gaps and translates to a conversation with the reader. "What I really wish for" Again in this piece she tackles a personal issue and applies it to a broader context. Entertaining lead. She shows intellect without being stuffy and I enjoy her style. She is the best writer overall, but she needs to concentrate on more relevant topics.

4th Williamson County Sun - Galen Wellnicki. "Realignment probably a status quo for GHS" Great opening. He engages the reader with light-hearted jabs at himself, telling an entertaining story before he gets down to the nitty gritty. Intelligent, individual style. Well-written, informative, personal and unique. "Oklahoma!: Where my dreams ran wild Sunday" Interesting idea for an article, but fails at his attempt to communicate his "dreams" to the reader. I like the conversational aspect of this style. He really let his personality shine, but the piece is too convoluted to get a grasp on the point he is trying to make.

Division 5 Semiweeklies 4,000 or Less

1st Breckenridge American - Carla McKeown. "Wildlife entertaining for country newcomers" Local people with local problems. Good stuff. "Straight-line winds, funnel cloud, whatever it was, in invoked memories" Again, great detail of a local happening.

2nd Breckenridge American - Rob Durham. "BHS should consider itself lucky to have Chet Byerly" Honest, local and to the point. "Bring the Olympics to Breckenridge" Great stuff. Local, especially the part about security.

3rd Copperas Cove Leader-Press - Bill Thomas. "This space has gone to the dogs" Good idea, but too cute. "Our ladies would make Babe proud" Great local flare and nice way to recognize those who don't always have the attention.

4th The Wimberley View - Charles McClure. "For people with minds that hate" and "TPL will be good Blue Hole partner" Great local subject matter.

Division 6 Large Weeklies

1st Park Cities People - Glenn Arbery. "What's all this about 'democracy?'" These columns are written by a man with good perspective on the issues facing the country and the people of his community. "The stickiest war" An excellent piece that brings some perspective to the Vietnam era. It takes only a couple of examples to show that this writer must produce excellent copy for his readers week after week.

2nd Azle News - Bob Buckel. "The summer of the snakes" Sounds as if snakes are pretty common in Texas. An interesting piece that gave me goosebumps and made me happy I live in another state! "Christmas after glow: moonrise on 180" A delightful column, so well worded that I can picture that moon, the snow. I love this column.

3rd Alpine Avalanche - Sam Richardson. "Camelots past and present" Complete past and present. I love this piece. It is so true; well-written with several especially good lines. I am humming the hymn as I write, seated in that balcony. "A Christmas memory" Touching, poignant, well-written.

4th Park Cities People - Paige Phelps. "Say cheese" Good column. Fun idea about Dallas! "Bond, family bond" I absolutely love this idea and the way it was told in Phelps' column. Well-written, to the point and a good story!

Division 7 Medium Large Weeklies

1st The Community News, Aledo - Richard Henderson. "All aboard for the Forest Park train; next stop bliss" Good advice for all of us who need to slow down and remember what's important in life. Thanks! "Smokeless does not mean harmless" Good luck with this cause. I had both parents die of cancer. Don't be afraid to keep crusading on this subject.

2nd The Pittsburg Gazette - Susan Taft. "Bad children bring out the worst in most adults" We've all been there, but thanks for telling it like it is! "Will you recognize old age when you get there?" Very funny! May your toothbrush always be wet!

3rd The River Cities Tribune, Marble Falls - Lyn Odom. "Travel tales" and "The mule from hell" A great comic style. If I lived in the River Cities I would look forward to reading these columns every week!

4th Burnet Bulletin - Chris Crews. "The 'Texas myth' is the real thing" A little too long and too much extraneous matter before you get down to the real story. "Confessions of a mama's baby" Two like this would have won first place! Very touching memories of some fine ladies.

Division 8 Medium Weeklies

1st The Smithville Times - John Gosselink. "Quiz helps people get prepared for annual Jamboree celebration" and "Gosselink for any office" I tried to eat my breakfast while judging this column but I kept snorting the cranberry juice through my nose. By far the funniest of the class!

2nd Midlothian Today - Samuel Smith. "Overreaction shows immaturity" and "Don't worry - Jesus can't be barred from Christmas" Good well-reasoned columns that stake out the vast middle ground.

3rd Bandera Bulletin - Philip Billnitzer. "Fast food places owe us health plans" Nice light comic tough. "Hilton's crew simply rude" Kudos for standing up to the little men with the intimidating lines! Immortalizing the creeps is the best revenge. Too bad you didn't publish their pictures!

4th Iowa Park Leader - Kevin Hamilton. "One man's ramblings 1 & 2" Since ties were not allowed, I flipped a coin between you and Kari (Collins). Your paper is blessed to have two such great columnists!

Division 9 Small Medium Weeklies

1st Midlothian Mirror - Floyd Ingram. "It's the giving, not the gift, that makes Christmas" and "Billy Barrett's three car garage" The giving column was the best I read out of over 100 in three divisions! It even brought a tear to the eye of this crusty old editor.

2nd The Clarendon Enterprise - Carrie Helms. "Revenge best served with chewing gum" and "Sister's wedding perfect in every way" Very funny and polished for one so young! I'll have to remember that chewing gum trick.

3rd The Clarendon Enterprise - Roger Estlack. "Bachelorhood comes to end for publisher" and "Enterprise best source for local news" Very funny on the grapevine of small town life. Congrats and best wishes on your marriage!

4th Hico News-Review - Jerry McAdams. "That McAdams Column 1 & 2" Love the folksy style. I might use that fried pie thing for my next eulogy!

Division 10 Small Weeklies

1st The Brackett News - Shanae Simmons. "Experiment is shocking" An unusual topic but I really enjoy this writer. Good lead and she kept my attention until the end, in fact I can't wait to read more columns by Shanae Simmons. "Cinderella finds her prince" Touching story, one most women can relate to. Excellent writing. I can picture the columnist in my mind's eye as she experiences her prom.

2nd Deport Times - Nanalee Nichols. "Oh where oh where is my hair?" Who hasn't woken up with "bad hair?" This column made me laugh. I really enjoyed it! "A Christmas to remember" Completely different subject than above matter but the writer shares her emotions as she experiences the Christmas story about the birth of Christ.

3rd The Eldorado Success - Randy Mankin. "Don't care for your name? What if your parents had called you Moon Unit?" What a wordsmith this columnist is! I laughed out loud! Great writing. "Shouldn't we expect just a bit more honesty from God's one true church" Well-written column about polygamy.

4th Alvord Gazette - Stephanie Hemphill. "Drinking and driving: the real effect on real people" Excellent writing by a young person. Her depth of feeling about drinking and driving was evident in her column. She really puts her heart and soul into her writing. "On voting and presidential opinions: from one student's perspective" Such maturity form a young person. She has a great future in writing if she so wishes.