2002 Better Newspaper Contest — Feature Story

Division 2 Dailies
1st. Odessa American – By Sharon Denning. “Joins Hands” Very good variety of photos illustrate story well. Excellent story of the history of a church. Good, easy to read, entertaining and informative. “The gift of love” Again good photos, good easy to read story.
2nd. The Facts Clute – “Veterans Day 2001” by Michael Wright. I couldn’t stop reading. Good, informative, not too long. “A child’s will to live” by Carlos Armintor. Photos very good. I really wanted a sidebar that told me more about his cancer.
3rd. Lubbock Avalanche Journal – By Ray Glass. “In his own …” Good, wide variety of pictures. Would like to know more about why he is challenged. “Landing the trick” Sheds light on a newly popular pastime. Informative. Really captures spirit.
4th. The Herald Coaster Rosenberg – By B.J. Pollock. “Come and get it” Good lead makes me want to know more. Pictures illustrate story well. You did good research and spent a lot of time with subject. “Coming home” Thanks for letting me know it was Rudy Becerra we were learning about. Hard to juggle so many names. Informative.

Division 3 Dailies
1st. Stephenville Empire-Tribune – “Syrup making time” by Joyce Whitis. I loved this story. The descriptions are marvelous. “It’s so thick that catsup has to take a back seat in a race from the bottle” – that’s great! Nice lead. I’m hungry! “Museum cabin gets clay facelift” by Maria Weaver. Another nice story with detail, description and passion. The writer went the extra step and brought the reader there. Made you care!
2nd. The Huntsville Item – “Wild about Yoga” by Michelle Lyons. Very nice. Nice writing style. I like the mix of long and short sentences; flowed nicely. I’m not a big fan of first-person feature stories, but this writer pulled it off with style. “Beating the deadly disease” by David Arkin. Very touching story; nice detail. I truly cared about Nell. Beautiful layout.
3rd. Ennis Daily News – “Webb will not let past mar future” by Sarah Stephens. Very endearing account. I would have simply opened with the story and boxed the first few graphs that referred to the story as an exclusive interview. I wish it could have been written more like a story. “Hearts on the line” by Stephanie Howerton. Too much of a wind up to get to the heart of the story. Open with the girl being diagnosed then move into story.
4th. Athens Daily Review – By Elise Mullinix. “Need gator aid?” Interesting story. Nice photos and layouts, but I though the Croc Hunter was on Animal Planet not Discovery? “On the town” Nice story, fun and entertaining. I thought it moved at a pace similar to New York City itself.

Division 4 Semiweeklies
1st. Hood County News – By Kathy Smith. “Best feet forward” Good story, pictures. Informative and entertaining. “Every step of the way” Good story and excellent pictures. Would like sidebar on stats on these mystery illnesses.
2nd. Williamson County Sun – “It’s a hit” by Barbara Nordby. Funny and entertaining. Would like to know more about the people involved. “Alzheimer’s caregiver, wife board train together” by Ty Adams. Good, could use more pictures to illustrate the story. Could have told us more about them and the challenges they face.
3rd. El Campo Leader News – By Shannon Crabtree. “Vet doesn’t blow smoke” Good. Informative. Could have fleshed the story out a bit. Good, effective pictures and placement. Easy to read. “Awareness stops fire danger” Hard to wade through statistics and abbreviations. Itemize the tips with bulleting for each. Good info in there.
4th. Round Rock Leader – “Touched by the finger of God” by Marcial Guajardo. Good. Would like to know more about songwriter and delve more into damage caused by tornado (picture?) “Doughnut maker not feeling yellow about Krispy Kreme” by Kathryn Culver. Good story about man and his stubbornness. Funny about serious topic, different.

Division 5 Semiweeklies
1st. Lampasas Dispatch Record – By Lisa Carnley. “Lisa’s schnitzel house sold” Good story. Well-written. Nice photos. Good public interest. “American dream” is nice touch. “Lampasas colored school restoration” An excellent piece. Good use of photos. Would like to have seen a current photo of Mrs. Walker. Great lead! Good job!
2nd. The Liberty Vindicator – By Vanesa Brashier. “County statesman: Gov. Bill Daniel” Good subject. Interesting man. Good crisp writing. Good photos pure action. I like it. “A call to the wild” Good story darkened a bit by lengthy stories of two tragedies. Good photo!
3rd. The Clifton Record – “Chris Schenkel fondly recalls 5 decades of sports broadcasts” by David Anderson. Good feature. Nice sidebar. Not much to criticize. Solid reporting. Great layout. Good photos. “The end of an era comes to Tyssen Hall” by Carol Moulton. Good story, good layout, good presentation. Nice use of sidebar. Fine work!
4th. The Angleton Times – By Linda Winder. “At odds again” Good interest in this story. I must say the photo of Mr. Franke was dramatic! Good piece of work. “A pioneer in Angleton” Good story. Captured personality well. Good photo. All around good.

Division 6 Weeklies
1st. Duncanville Today – “Caring for Darin” by Amy Smith. Great quotes for telling the story. Great photos, good typography. Great message to stop and pay attention in traffic. “True crime fighter” by Matt Dalrymple. Great photo layout. Interesting subject matter. Very informative and interesting.
2nd. Austin Business Journal – “Drew’s draw” by John Eagan. From humble beginnings to millions, you told the story well. Very informative. “An exec’s new found gift” by Colin Pope. Timely. I hadn’t read of an experience like this from 9/11. Captivating.
3rd. Park Cities People – “Ties that bind” by John Clare. What a great idea! Good photos. This is a great project. “Jaws V” by Steve Lansdale. Interesting people with an interesting pet. You made me want to read on.
4th. Hill Country Recorder, Boerne – By Newton E. Renfro. “Jerry McKenna” Cute ending. Very impressive artist with fervor for his alma mater. “Born to serve” The two stories about hearing dog’s were great strong enhancers. Foster sidebar also good.

Division 7 Weeklies
1st. North San Antonio Times – “News anchor goes public with cancer treatment” by Dianne S. Fortune. Well-written. Good use of quotes. “Children’s bereavement center provides safe, healing place” by Robert Goetz. Very professional. Good story with good quotes.
2nd. The Kaufman Herald – By Pam High. “A fair to remember” Good piece with lots of personality. Nicely organized. “Sew helpful” Nicely done. Bright and upbeat with good organization.
3rd. Mineola Monitor – By Gary A. Edwards. “Golden was Simmons’ launching pad” Good angle, but a bit awkward in the telling. Poor layout. “Too old to start a pecan orchard” Good yarn. Unfortunate mix-up in paragraphs, but a really good story.
4th. The Big Bend Sentinel – “Last of the working wood windmills” by Sterry Butcher. Lots of character. Shot but very sweet. “Missing Julia Roberts” by Dan Keane. Too long, though interesting. Could use better organization.

Division 8 Weeklies
1st. Aransas Pass Progress – “The miracle of Mare” by Juliet K. Wenger.” Good. Remember to show, don’t tell. Describe the tidal wave and the wreckage rather than simply state the wreck happened. (The description on the second page is great. Maybe it could have been moved up to grab the reader earlier.) Photos are okay. Overall it’s a really good story. “Locket” by Bill Defries. This is a good story, but I don’t feel as if I know Adona very well. Perhaps highlighting a moment or two from her childhood and telling more details about her will help personalize the story.
2nd. Crowley Star – By Joy E. Cressler. “Crowley woman relates double sense of pride in ‘dual heritage’” Nice piece. A stronger lead that draws the reader, larger headline and better photo, an action photo, would help this story. “The man and his God” Try starting out by telling the story of his first crime or one of the earlier, or the loneliness in juvenile facility. Show it through his eyes, describing the feelings he had and the outcome of that experience. Show, don’t tell. Action pictures are always better.
3rd. The Shiner Gazette – By Myra Lampley. “World War II fighter pilot recalls wartime experience” The lead is a little weak, as is the headline. Did you have a recent photograph for then/now kind of look? Try a story from the past as your lead. Take one experience and let the reader see through the pilot’s eyes. Show, don’t tell. Describe the horse, visitation of the plane, his physical condition, etc. I don’t feel as if I know a lot about the pilot, his personal details, so that could enhanced. “Surgery and tight-lipped toms make for tough turkey hunting” An entertaining story, but your first picture could be better. Dead turkeys don’t buy newspapers. Good lead.
4th. Frio Nueces Current – By Marc Robertson. “Gliders over Normandy” Start with a moment from the battle. Draw the reader in by describing the fear; what he sees, hears smells, feels; and remember to show, don’t tell. Good use of photos and you did a great job of letting me get to know the situation. “Local author’s work is adopted for textbook” This is a nice story, but you need to put more details about the person in to make it more personal. Perhaps you could start with a story showing him as a young boy exploring ruins or something that shows where the seeds of his love of history sprouted, then go into the news about the textbook. You need a photo.

Division 9 Weeklies
1st. Lytle Leader News – “Texas’ best kept secrets” by Lou Ann Butler. Taking a trip through town will reap a host of fun and fulfilling human nature stories! This one rates up there at the top. Nice idea with the graphics. “Enjoying summer piece by piece” by Kathy Adams. I love the graphic for this one, really appeals to the eye! Fun and informative story. I’d be interested in taking the class.
2nd. Castroville News Bulletin – “The light comes and the light goes but the Raging Brushes struggle gamely on” by Kelly Schaefer Brennan. What fun! From reading your story, I’m ready to join this bunch or better yet, start my own “plein aire” group in Missouri! Bravo! My opinion only: try italicizing cutlines. “Educators pound the pavement to find migrant students” by Sylvia Carrizales. Interesting storyline, except I wanted page 3 and to “meet the parents.”
3rd. Lake Cities Sun – “Third watch workers adjust sleep habits to fit jobs” by Jocelyn Janota. Nice info about a forgotten breed. We don’t all have 8-5 jobs. Thanks. “Former Lake Dallas resident views aftermath in person” by Terry Lantrip. Another World Trade Center-New York story with a personal twist.
4th. The Canadian Record – By Laurie Ezzell Brown. “Cannon Tubb, Texas’ youngest paramedic” Interesting subject matter. Lots of information in contents. Story could have been better broken up with bullets or highlighted quotes. “Kassie Courange faces most challenging role” Nice story. Needed to be shorter or with graphical highlights to break up gray matter.

Division 10 Weeklies
1st. Benbrook Star – By LynDee Walker. “After 35 years a mother remembers a fallen hero” Great photos. Well-written. “American spirit: Benbrook residents chip in $64,000 for New York, D.C, rescue funds” Great lead. Very interesting.
2nd. Olton Enterprise – By Mozelle Trotter. “Jade Fuller is selected 2001 parade marshal” Good lead, would have been nice to see updated photo of Mr. Fuller. “Hummers make stop in Olton Thursday” Well-written. Interesting topic.
3rd. The Junction Eagle – By Clint Schroeder. “Small, but needed” Neat topic. Well done. “Former Junction student films, finishes ‘world’s toughest boat race’” Good use of photos. Well done.
4th. Overton Press – By Charlotte Heldenbrand. “LHS graduate barely escapes explosion” Needed more details on what part of school exploded and why. “OHS band judges number 1 in state” Nice touch adding judge’s comments.