2010 Better Newspaper Contest — General Excellence

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Division 2 Dailies 7,000 to 99,999

1. Victoria Advocate —  Love the “bed shot” format!
Excellent layout and color use. Ads spring off the page and are effective. Writing is complete, concise and thoughtful. Needs more local writing. A few too many wire stories. Art and charts are well done. They demonstrate and add to stories. Photos are top notch, although print job is sometimes lacking. Overall an excellent newspaper.
2. Lubbock Avalanche-Journal — Excellent headline editing and very well-written stories. Dominant classified page and well-thought-out ROP advertising. Sports coverage is top notch and local features, particularly arts coverage, is above average. Who would have thought that someone dead over 50 years (Buddy Holly) could still have such impact on a community!
3. Nacogdoches Daily Sentinel — Hard-hitting local news and a strong editorial page carry this newspaper quite well. Although use of wire stories is prevalent, they are at least tied to the Southwest region. Layout is okay and photos are average, but this newspaper has a hell of a lot of news for $1.59!
4. Paris News — Very nice local paper with lots of local news. Front page and feature layouts are excellent. Headlines are hit and miss: some inspired, some not so much. Sports coverage is greatest strength. Some front page story choices are not so newsy. Editorial page very vanilla but layout is good. Ads are above average in presentation and the unique legal ad display works! Photo essays on sports page are excellent.

Division 3 Dailies Less Than 7,000

1. San Marcos Daily Record — Great use of front-page teaser. Professional, clean layout throughout. Strong sports front.
2. Waxahachie Daily Light — Great story on soldier and ghost series. Plenty of local faces.
3. River Cities Tribune — Strong opinion page. Decent photos. Sports could use more energy.
4. Taylor Daily Press — Nice front-page photos. Nice feature on diversity.

Division 4 Semiweeklies 4,001 or More

1. Williamson County Sun — Nice section fronts, solid sports and life. Clean layout, good use of photos. Could use a bit more art on inside pages. Writing is a bit vanilla, could use some punch. Overall an appealing paper.
2. Bastrop Advertiser — Nice, clean look. Good use of photos. Paper is reader-friendly throughout. Good mix of news topics. Solid sports section. Good mix of columns on editorial page.
3. Wise County Messenger — Front page with officer’s body compelling; a nice idea. Good mix of stories. Need more content for lifestyles. Inside pages are loose, airy and appealing.
4. Hood County News — Headline fonts look a bit dated. Inside pages are airy but not unappealing. Nice life pages, good mix of local columns. Good mix of news and features. Writing style is appealing, good leads throughout.

Division 5 Semiweeklies 4,000 or Less

1. Bowie News —  Unique in every sense. One of the only newspapers I’ve seen that truly is “published without fear or favor.” Montague County is well served by The Bowie News. Very strong newspaper!
2. Round Rock Leader — Clever design, nice layout and catchy heads. Better-than-average editorial page. Very unique in a division filled with unique papers.
3. Gonzales Inquirer —  This is a newspaper I want to read! No B.S. with this rag! Who could resist local stories about “predators” and lost school children? Stronger than average editorial page and the guts to print the names of those arrested makes this the best kind of community-built newspaper. The Gonzales Inquirer is a newspaper with attitude!
4. Lampasas Dispatch Record — Love the wide format! Good sports coverage and nice mix of local news. Good photos. Poor print job.

Division 6 Large Weeklies

1. Fredericksburg Standard-Radio Post — This paper packs a punch! Banner is a classic and the mammoth Visitors Guide is phenominal. The wide “bedsheet” format proves that most of the time, bigger is better! Good mix of hard and soft news. Local editorials take guts and are all too rare— kudos to the editorial staff.
2. Park Cities People — Very sophisticated paper that is very readable. Somebody takes a lot of time and effort in putting this paper together. We see so many papers that are well laid out but have no depth. Park Cities People has both, and then some. Texas is lucky to have a newspaper this well done. Missed first place by a whisker — was the hardest call of the entire contest.
3. Hays Free Press — Best editorial and selection of news content seen. Excellent in just about every respect. Crime
coverage is a little weak but a way-good paper overall.
4. Wylie News — Short, descriptive, complete heads and leads! Judy Truesdell is a very good writer. Good sports coverage. Crime coverage weak. Clean heads and good leads.

Division 7 Medium Large Weeklies

1. Jasper Newsboy —  Love the name. Love the leads and sports shots. Strong local crime coverage is rare. Ever more rare is strong local editorials. Good job, Newsboy!
2. Bandera Bulletin — Very complete newspaper. Well prioritized and the layout is good. Headlines catchy with good, bold font. Premium newsprint helps as well.
3. Smithville Times —  Nice coverage of wildfire. Good police blotter and nice to see letters to editor. Well-written spot news coverage and photos.
4. Hamilton Herald-News — Very consistent throughout. Nice design.

Division 8 Medium Weeklies

1. Ellis County Press — Excellent editorial pages, court/arrest reports and front page, although six ads on front do distract. Bold, strong, local press — a damn good newspaper. Best in division!
2. Kirbyville Banner — Everything a local newspaper should be. Clean, crisp and most of all, informative about local happenings.
3. Lake Country Sun — A community newspaper with comics — I love it! This paper is solid through and through. A real source of pride for Possum Kingdom and Palo Pinto. Drop-shadow distracts from banner.
4. Cameron Herald — Good community newspaper. Very solid coverage of local people and local events. Very nice sports section and clever heads and leads.

Division 9 Small Medium Weeklies

1. Canadian Record — One of the absolute best local papers in Texas, regardless of division!
2. Gladewater Mirror — Bold layout, big pictures, lots of style! Now this is what a Texas newspaper should look like! Well done, Mirror staff!
3. Dublin Citizen — Strong paper, chock-full of news. Layout makes readability difficult. Strong opinion page and a variety of events are refreshing. It’s all about local coverage and the Citizen knows local!
4. Castroville News Bulletin — Excellent local coverage, strong editorials ... a real rare thing in most papers. Well done!

Division 10 Small Weeklies

1. Bay Area Citizen — Lots of faces and plenty of quick hits on front pages. Sports pages were vibrant. Like the Xtra page.
2. Princeton Herald — Nice graphics on front page, pics too. Great sports supplement. Sports pages were bland in general. Plenty of local faces. Nice sports photos.
3. Anna-Melissa Tribune — Clean looking paper. Good use of photos. Sports pics were a tad large. Too many boxes and reverse type scattered throughout.
4. Crowley Star — Strong front-page photos. Bold text on tax-rate story is strange. Good photos all around. Sports needs more spark. Like the subscriber feature on the rail.