The South Jetty brought home the 2022 Sweepstakes award from the Texas Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest.
Awards were presented during the association’s annual conference held in San Marcos Thursday through Saturday, July 28-30.
“We are incredibly proud of our staff. They produce award-winning work every week, not just occasionally for the sake of contests,” said co-publisher Murray Judson. “Their commitment to Port Aransas and to good journalism that matters is what makes them winners – at home and in contests.”
The contest period was from Sept. 1, 2020, to Dec. 30, 2021. Judging was by members of the West Virginia Press Association. The contest drew 850 entries from 80 weekly, semi-weekly and daily newspapers across the state. The South Jetty competed in the largest weekly division based on paid circulation. Newspapers selected entries to submit based on criteria for each category.
The Sweepstakes award is based on total points accumulated for first through fourth places in all Sweepstakes-eligible categories in each circulation division.
The South Jetty racked up 550 points to win Sweepstakes in its division. The Fredericksburg Standard came in second with 500 points, the Jewish Herald Voice in Houston totaled 400 points for third, and the Tyler County Booster based in Woodville was fourth with 325 points.
Some categories did not count toward Sweepstakes.
First places were won by the South Jetty for headline writing, column writing, news photography and page design. Third places were won in general excellence, editorial writing and best magazine (which did not count toward Sweepstakes), and fourth places were won for advertising and sports photography.
The Best Magazine category for magazines published quarterly or more frequently was not based on circulation. Instead, it was based on the frequency of publication of the newspaper that produced the magazine, whether daily, weekly or semi-weekly. The South Jetty competed in the weekly category.
The South Jetty’s winning entries included:
Headline writing:“The wrath of grapes: If you drink too much, try these cures,”and“Great bowls of fire: Chili cook-off set Saturday to benefit Animal Friends, Port A animal shelter,” both by staff writer and classified ad manager Vivian Carlson; and“From drip to dry: Water saga unfolded over six days,” by editor Dan Parker.
Column writing: “ Tourists not a news flash” about the dependency of the Port Aransas economy on tourists and the need to treat them well, and “Miracles can, do happen,”about the benefits of Alcoholics Anonymous, both by co-publisher Mary Henkel Judson.
News photography: A portfolio of five photos, including a photo of a woman fishing from the south jetty and watching a waterspout offshore, a plane crash at Mustang Beach Airport, a home at Island Moorings engulfed in flames, and Port Aransas Surf Rescue team members on jet skis searching for a missing man who was later found drowned, all by editor Dan Parker; and a photo of Cathi Petrus of Port Aransas getting her first COVID-19 vaccine, taken by her husband and South Jetty advertising director Keith Petrus.
Page design: Entries were required to include one front page, one editorial page, one sports page and one family/ lifestyle page. The front pages are designed by Parker, the editorial page was designed by Henkel Judson, and the sports and family/lifestyle pages are designed by general manager Kelli Hartig.
General excellence: Two complete issues, one from March 2021 and one from a month of choice during the contest period had to be submitted. Chosen were the Feb. 2, 2021 edition and the March 3, 2021 edition.
Editorial writing: “Dark day in America” about the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and “Vaccine part of the solution” encouraging readers to get vaccinated and follow CDC guidelines for stemming the tide of COVID-19, both by Henkel Judson.
Best magazine: The Summer 2021 Visitors’ Guide, a team effort by the entire staff.
Advertising: Three ads, including one for Kody’s by Keith Petrus and one for city council candidate Chris Collins for a meet-and-greet, also by Petrus, and an ad for My Fun Port A by advertising production chief Elizabeth Weaver.
Sports photography: A portfolio of five photos, including a shot of a pole vaulter at a competition at Roberts Point Park by staff photographer Freda Greene, a photo of Marlin varsity basketball player Kris Jones reaching for the ball and another of Marlin player Will Honeycutt going up against a much taller Yorktown player, both by Dan Parker; and a photo of Marlin JV basketball player Miles Parsons by staff photographer Michelle Parker.
Also at the convention, Henkel Judson was to have been presented with a Golden 50 Award for 50 years or more in the newspaper business. Since she had a mild COVID infection that kept the Judsons from attending the convention, the award will be presented to her at next year’s conference. Murray Judson was honored with a Golden 50 Award in 2017.
Also at the conference, Murray Judson was elected to serve as a member of the board of directors.