2003 Better Newspaper Contest — Community Service

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Community Service

Daily Division

1st. The Beaumont Enterprise – “Beaumont City Council” In her cover letter, Sheila Friedeck asks, “what greater community service can a newspaper perform than to … represent the public in a quest to keep government actions open and accessible …” There is none. A paper should be its community watchdog and the Enterprise has clearly established itself as the watchdog for Beaumont, always looking out for the best interests of the people. This project took time, money and courage. Good job!

2nd. The Baytown Sun – “Landfill” This paper fought for its community and helped the community fight for itself. Great coverage, important editorial stance and great mobilization of the community that probably would not have happened without the paper’s leadership.

3rd. The Facts (Clute) – “Animal Shelter” The Facts did a nice job of covering this story from beginning to end, and moving the project along in between. It would be tough to take a stand without stepping on toes in each of the three “competing” communities that you cover, but you did what needed to be done and probably helped readers come together for the good of the whole.

4th. Laredo Morning Times – “Get Out and Vote Campaign” There are not many better community service projects than voter education and efforts to increase turnout. Great job!

Semiweekly Division

1st. Beeville Bee-Picayune – “BISD bond package” This newspaper did everything it should have to help its community make a decision for the betterment of its schools – detailed graphics, stories and, most importantly, the paper took an editorial stand on the issue. The newspaper’s overall coverage of the bond issue enabled voters to go to the polls well-informed and confident about their votes to support the bond.

2nd. The Wimberley View – “Keep City” This is a very comprehensive package that seems to adequately cover both sides of the incorporation issue. Still, I think the paper should have provided some commentary for readers – even if it did remain neutral on the issue.

3rd. The Sealy News – “Bluebonnet Groundwater Conservation” As with the second place winner, this newspaper provided detailed coverage on the groundwater issue, the community service being providing enough information to readers that they can make an educated decision at the polls. Also, as with the second place winner, this entry lacked an editorial voice. I think commentary from the paper was needed in this case.

4th. Houston County Courier – “Sept. 11 tribute” This was a nice way to bring the community together after 9/11 and to recognize local EMS workers. The paper did a good job of covering the activities, especially through photos.

Weekly Division

1st. The Smithville Times – “Breast Cancer Awareness” Impressive, extensive and comprehensive are three adjectives that come to mind. The Smithville Times is to be commended for its efforts in promoting “breast cancer awareness” in its community.

2nd. Madisonville Meteor – “Child Abuse Prevention Month” This entry represents the best newspaper community service – providing a great service to the community because it’s the right thing to do – without expecting anything in return, other than the satisfaction that comes with a job well done. The Meteor went to bat for Child Abuse Prevention Month, raised money for the good cause and made a lot of people feel good about making donations.

3rd. The Munday Courier – “Making Munday Proud” Supporting good community activities like “Making Munday Proud” is what newspaper community service is all about. Good work. Everyone benefits from projects that make the town more attractive.

4th. Hale Center American – “Flag project” Congratulations to the American on its strong support of the flag project. Clearly, the paper had a vision – a good one – to show the community’s patriotism and love of state and country. Without the American this project would not have happened.