The Uvalde Leader-News earned honors in 10 different categories in the 2019 Better Newspaper Contest sponsored by the South Texas Press Association. The awards were announced last weekend in La Grange during the STPA’s 93rd-annual convention.
Pete Luna, circulation manager and photographer, was named Photographer of the Year and also won first place honors for feature pictures and sports pictures and second place in news photos. The newspaper won a first place in feature writing for stories written by managing editor Meghann Garcia and former staff writer Charley Robinson; and five third place awards for page design and lifestyle pages, produced by Garcia and for editorial writing, humorous column writing and serious column writing, written by publisher Craig Garnett.
Commenting on Luna’s photography, judges wrote: “Love the clarity of Luna’s photos. Each tells a story, clearly. Good variety, focus and perspective.”
For the first place feature photos, which included Hiler Haby showing her hog at the Uvalde County Junior Stock Show and a Sahawe Indian dancer performing at National Night Out, judges added, “Perspective of photo in Jan. 28 issue – Love it! What did you do? Lie down in the dirt? Pig eyeing you and contestant eyes on judge (assuming). Oct. 4 issue – Wow! The story it tells! The color up front and the texture – amazing!”
Judges also responded to the winning feature stories, which included Robinson’s piece about state champion wrestler Adelyhda Perez and Garcia’s story about Vietnam War veteran Carlos Tovar of Sabinal.
“Perez story: Loved everything – photos and placement of them, headline, loved style of writing – made it so readable. Tovar story: The story flow was great; he came across real and reminded me that war is very human. Could be my neighbor. Great writing style.”
“Our staff puts a lot of energy and thought into producing a quality newspaper and for our peers to recognize us for the effort is extremely gratifying,” said newspaper publisher Craig Garnett. “I am very proud of all of our people for the work they do, not just for the entries that go to contest but for every issue they produce.”
The newspaper finished third in the Judy and Bill Wilkerson Sweepstakes Award, which is won by the newspaper amassing the most points in the contest.
The STPA is the largest regional press association in the state. There were 27 entries in three divisions in this year’s Better Newspaper Contest.