2002 Better Newspaper Contest — General Excellence

Division 1 Dailies
1st. The Dallas Morning News – The Morning News excelled in these two editions at presenting news clearly and dramatically. The Sept. 12 issue showed tremendous staff energy and planning in a very few hours. Graphics were helpful. The Sunday of Nov. 18 was well-organized with bright specialty pages and impressive zoning. Throughout writing was clear and crisp to present strong reporting.
2nd. Austin American-Statesman – It’s hard to evaluate your usual paper by standard of the Sept. 12 edition, but in general the papers seemed well-organized. They had a couple of good graphics and some very good local photos. News coverage was broad but writing sometimes fell into the trap of being too thick on straight news or extremely slow on features. But excellent energy was clear on Sept. 12. Was there no sports section that day?
3rd. Fort Worth Star-Telegram – The hallmark of the papers seems to be its writing – very crisp, clear and well-paced. Some of the local photos, especially from the Waco church, were great too. It was somewhat difficult to evaluate these two editions of the Star-Telegram in relation to the other papers that entered because neither of these was a weekend edition. There were some nice special pages sprinkled throughout, though, and Startime was a lively section.
4th. Houston Chronicle – The flood edition was very impressive, especially considering how difficult floods can be to cover. Photos were good and writing generally was – although it went a little over the top and some feature writing was slow. Sections were plain in theses editions and sports in one issue was especially drab. (Sports and Outlook were missing from one issue.) There didn’t seem to be much to the Metro section.

Division 2 Dailies
1st. The Galveston County Daily News – Nicole Frugé does first-rate photography, and it is displayed well. The Dutch Kettle spread is very nice, especially in a time when picture pages are rare. Paper makes good use of white space, ragged right copy. Are all of those banner heads necessary? Not all of those stories are that important. Very attractive front pages, although they are very similar. Overall a very nice package.
2nd. Midland Reporter-Telegram – Good local photos, well cropped – graduation layout very nice. ED sales tax package well done. Nov. 18 front page is good. May 27 front is a bit busy – too many entry points competing for reader’s eye. Overall layout is quite good; some inside pages would be better off without banner headlines. Heads are generally good, with a few bad breaks – dangling prepositions. Section fronts are attractive.
3rd. The Facts Clute – Good leads on stories – Valerie Collins’ lead on Whitby feature is clever. Leads grab reader’s attention. Design is very good – lots of white space, some ragged right copy, good staff photos make nice package. Some stories getting banner heads inside don’t merit them. Too many banners make readers have tough time deciding what is more important. Some bad breaks in multi-line heads. Staff photos are fine; social photos (submitted?) aren’t. Front pages are appealing, make good use of color.
4th. Odessa American – This is a handsome paper – makes good use of white space, ragged right, color. Headline style could improve with some variety of fonts, especially on inside pages where one banner head reads into another on facing page. Local photos are good and displayed well. Life and Times fronts are nice. Commentary fronts are quite attractive. Some photos next to ads lose their impact.

Division 3 Dailies
1st. Texas City Sun – Overall a great paper. Good use of graphics, good layout and organization. In back, some stories could be edited better. Maybe more local involvement. Overall writing good. Good use of photos, front page works well and is eye-pleasing. Good editorial page. Like layout and look of sports pages.
2nd. Hereford Brand – Overall a great local paper. Good layout. Good local editorials. Writing local and good. Print quality excellent. Great look to paper. Great use of photos. For a small paper one of the best I have seen. Good sports and lifestyles. Shows community involvement. Good job of editing. Good job!
3rd. Seguin Gazette-Enterprise – Editing could be better. Good local stories, good local editorials. Better use of photos than others. Color quality could improve.
4th. Vernon Daily Record – Overall looks good. Lots of local stories. Photos all good size. Writing good. Edit a little better. Color quality could be better. Headlines seem to fit well. Flag could be used better. Great local issues. Needs index. Like to see some graphics.

Division 4 Semiweeklies
1st. Hood County News – Nov. 10 issue was very, very good! Good photos, good layout, good specials. Sept. 27 wasn’t bad either. You have a fine paper! I salute you! You do great specials but don’t forget to be a newspaper.
2nd. Round Rock Leader – Very good newspaper. Too many jumps to suit me. Good, sharp photos. Good variety of sports shots (a rarity!) Nice tab on festival.
3rd. Wise County Messenger – Nov. 15 issue had a gorgeous front page. The trophy” shot with track team was very nice. Don’t forget the “news.” Good sports!
4th. Panola Watchman – I know it’s the trend but you had four jumps on front page of Nov. 1 issue. Readers don’t like, even if newspaper folks do. How about some more variety in sports photos? You can pass the ball, dribble the ball, run and do lots of things besides shoot! Like your liberal use of photos inside! May issue was very good.

Division 5 Semiweeklies
1st. The Light and Champion Center – Great color. High quality Progress edition. Well organized. Strong graphics, color on front welcomes reader.
2nd. The Angleton Times – Interesting photography. Good opinion page. Specialty pages good and easy to find. Nice rounded newspaper. Headline type is too heavy and causes newspaper to lose neatness.
3rd. The Frisco Enterprise – Big newspaper but no opinion/editorial pages. What a shame! Advertising enterprise is exceptional. News selection good and complete. Too many typefaces in headline schedule for good typography.
4th. The Highlander Marble Falls – Really nice newspaper. Effective typography. News is well written and complete. Good use of color. Strong editorial page.

Division 6 Weeklies
1st. Park Cities People – Very good-looking newspaper. Nice use of color, modern design, typography. High quality “People” magazine. Photos are strong, compelling. Editorial page could be more interesting looking.
2nd. Rockdale Reporter – Very nice newspaper. Well designed, packed with news. Good use of color, good sports coverage, good photos and strong editorial page.
3rd. Azle News – Excellent color on all sections. Good photography. Good press work. Overall news coverage makes this a strong newspaper. Good typography. And locally oriented editorial/commentary page.
4th. Duncanville Today – Like pro-con of editorial page. Nice newspaper. Good typography makes it inviting to read. Good color overall it appears well planned, organized, executed. One of the best in the category.

Division 7 Weeklies
1st. The Cameron Herald – This newspaper had a slight edge overall in making the reader want to get involved. Excellent front page design and “our town” column led readers to get involved inside the newspaper where they were led easily front section to section. Excellent section design.
2nd. River Cities Tribune – A quality comprehensive community newspaper. Some modernization and color would help make it even more attractive, but lack of color does not detract from overall good coverage and appeal.
3rd. Colorado County Citizen – Attractive front page. Good division of sections. Attractive to read. Column width too wide for type used on lead story page 1 Nov. 21.
4th. The Sabine County Reporter – Attractive front page and section headings. Well-organized content. Easy to read. Makes it a prizewinner.

Division 8 Weeklies
1st. Aransas Pass Progress – Solid reporting, wit and clear writing set this paper apart from others in its class. Strong photo play, clean, modular layout and sharp headlines prove you don’t have to use color or be fancy to be good. A fine effort by a team that cares about the news and its community!
2nd. Pilot Point Post-Signal – A great looking paper with exceptionally strong reporting and writing. The paper is well-written and well organized. Good use of photos.
3rd. DeSoto Today – Solid paper overall. Page 1 shares good judgment on story play. Stories are clear and well written. Great copy editing. A nice package.
4th. Cedar Hill Today – A great looking paper packed with local news. The writing and editing are sound. Consider dropping the reverse color box at bottom of page 1 or replace it with a promo or something useful. Well-designed and interesting editorial page.

Division 9 Weeklies
1st. Midlothian Today – Strong editorial page. Good work. Clean layout, but watch that type doesn’t come too close to ad copy. Good use of graphics, including pull out graphics.
2nd. Lancaster Today – Paper is consistent with layout. Readers know where to find that they’re looking for. Good editorial page. Watch for “cutsie” headlines, especially on hard news stories. People section is strong.
3rd. Lexington Leader – Watch design errors. Keep consistent spacing between headlines and stories. Features section is wonderful – one of the best in class. Artwork is very strong. Good coverage of your community.
4th. Castroville News Bulletin – Watch your design. Neatness counts! Try using a different typeface for cutlines. Maybe a san serif bold – it will break up the gray. Think about a heavier headline type for “hard” news and vary size on inside pages.

Division 10 Weeklies
1st. The Little Elm Journal – Great use of color. Interesting format. Newspaper is newsy for all ages. Typography can be improved. Headline faces are too much of a mixture. Choose a head type family and stay with it.
2nd. The Clarendon Enterprise – Nice, clean newspaper. Classified pages need more run-of-the-mill readers. Writing is very good, but stories are a bit long. Newspaper shows care in all areas.
3rd. The Princeton Herald – Good looking newspaper. Good use of color. Departmentalization well above average. Carries news all the way through inside pages. To be really good, the front page make-up could be helped, but it isn’t bad.
4th. The Junction Eagle – Use of color always good. Good make-up would keep photos out of fold. Shame to take a good photo and put a crease through it. News coverage is broad and good.