North and East Texas Press Association

North and East Texas Press Association Logo

Herald-Banner Publications has won 15 awards in the North and East Texas Press Association’s annual Better Newspaper Contest – including the top prize in the category that measures small weekly newspapers’ overall quality.

Winning first place for General Excellence in the small weekly newspaper division was the Royse City Herald-Banner; earning second was the Commerce Journal. Both newspapers, along with the Rockwall County Herald-Banner, are part of Herald-Banner Publications’ portfolio.

“This newspaper just reached out and grabbed me. Crisp, clean design and a wonderful mix of well-written news and feature stories,” judges said of the Royse City Herald-Banner. “They cover their area like a blanket. And I love the 2018 Top 10 stories countdown. First-rate!”

Judges praised the Commerce Journal for its “great design and well-written stories.”

The Commerce Journal finished first in the small weeklies’ News Writing category, with the Royse City Herald-Banner coming in second.

Additionally, the Commerce Journal finished third in Feature Writing, third in News Photo, third in Feature Photo, and fifth in Sweepstakes.

“The Commerce Journal may seem like a small paper. But I give it high marks for doing a list of things right in a big way. Great design and stories that are well written. And they aren’t afraid to take chances on a different look i.e. the ‘play day’ front page,” said one judge.

The Royse City Herald-Banner won second place in News Writing and sixth in Sweepstakes.

Reporter Ryan Scott, who covers Commerce and provides much of the Journal’s content, also was awarded fourth place in Journalist of the Year for small weekly newspapers.

The judges wrote: “Ryan Scott delivers just plain good old, no-nonsense news writing. Solid style and mechanics. His story of the little church closing its doors was very well done. I liked the way he gave it a perspective with the national trends that show some complexity.”

The Herald-Banner in Greenville was awarded first place in the General Excellence category for daily newspapers in Northeast Texas, coming in ahead of second-place winner the Tyler Morning Telegraph and third-place winner the Texarkana Gazette. The Cleburne Times Review, also owned by Herald-Banner parent company CNHI, earned a fourth-place award in General Excellence.

The North and East Texas Press Association has 86 member newspapers and is part of the statewide Texas Press Association.

“The Herald-Banner is clean and does a good job with photos and graphics,” wrote the contest judges, volunteers who are typically editors at top newspapers in neighboring states. The Herald-Banner’s weekend features section “should be read by everyone; impactful and well done. Tax and budget stories very informative, well done.”

Other awards specific to the Herald-Banner in the daily newspaper division were:

— Second place in the Feature Photo category, for a picture by Brad Kellar of a boy basking in the spray from a firehose on a hot summer day

— Third place in Journalist of the Year went to reporter Hojun Choi

— Fourth place in Sports Writing went to David Claybourn

— Fifth place in the Sweepstakes category, which means the Herald-Banner was the fifth-most-awarded daily newspaper in the contest  

Publisher Lisa Chappell said she is very proud of the Herald-Banner news team and their consistent dedication to quality community journalism.

“The entire staff of Herald-Banner Publications earns these awards every day with their commitment to keeping our readers informed and connected,” she said. “Though awards are not our top goal, it is certainly wonderful for our news staff to receive such high praise and recognition from their peers in the news industry.”

The Cleburne Times Review, which Chappell also oversees as publisher, won a total of five awards, and two other newspapers she manages – Weatherford Democrat and Gainesville Daily Register – won one apiece. In all, CNHI newspapers won 40 NETPA newspaper awards; winners were revealed last weekend at the group’s annual convention.  

Following are all 2019 NETPA Better Newspaper Contest awards for Herald-Banner Publications:

Herald-Banner (daily newspapers division)

1st General Excellence

2nd Feature Photo – Brad Kellar

3rd Journalist of the Year – Hojun Choi

4th Sports Writing – David Claybourn

5th Sweepstakes Winner

Royse City Herald-Banner (small weeklies division)

1st General Excellence

2nd News Writing

6th Sweepstakes

Commerce Journal (small weeklies division)

1st News Writing – Ryan Scott

2nd General Excellence

3rd Feature Writing

3rd News Photo

3rd Feature Photo

4th Journalist of the Year – Ryan Scott

5th Sweepstakes