This year, 148 newspaper submitted 1,505 entries in the contest. The contest is broken down into 10 divisions in which newspapers compete against papers of similar circulation size. The contest was judged by members of the Arkansas Press Association. The Bee-Picayune competes in Division 4 along with other semiweeklies of similar circulation.
The newspaper won a second place in the community service division for semiweeklies. One judge wrote, “Great dedicated coverage on a pressing Texas issue. Nicely done.” The entry this year was the paper’s coverage of Beeville’s water supply and the lack thereof, along with the effort to keep it flowing to businesses and residents.
The Bee-Pic also received a third place certificate in the general excellence category. One of the judges praised the newspaper for its coverage of the opening of the skate park at Flournoy Park.
The judge also praised the writers of the paper — specifically Paul Gonzales and him “taking the time to write about Jesus on a tortilla and treating it with dignity.”
Reporter Bill Clough was honored for his writing with a third place in the feature category (for entries “Have you ever tasted a memory?” and “The long day of an Eagle Ford trucker”).
One judge wrote, “Both stories kept me very engaged... Both were great.”
Clough again won third place in the column writing category. “The Navajo column was especially well-written and well-thought.”
Editor Jason Collins was honored with a second place win for his news photos.
“Vivid images cropped just right that evoke powerful human emotion, drawing on the intimations of mortality in one photo and the stark reminder of the pain of losing a child in a grisly crash,” the judge wrote.
The judges were pleased to see the work Bruce Harper puts into his coverage of sports and honored him with a second place win.
“Fantastic wrestling shot. Your photos draw people into the event. You touched a lot of bases and did them well,” a judge wrote.
Harper also received a fourth for two of his sports photos. The judge praised Harper for his soccer photo.
Co-Publisher Chip Latcham was honored for his editorial writing, and the newspaper could have won a first place had it not been for an error in submitting entries. Instead, the paper took home second place.
“City manager editorial was clear-eyed and plain-spoken. Made strong, sensible arguments without being overbearing. Regretfully, the same file was submitted twice, so there wasn’t a second editorial to judge.
“Another of that caliber and the Bee-Picayune would’ve blown the competition away,” the judge wrote.
The newspaper’s website, mySouTex.com, won third place in the category with the judge highlighting the quality of the layout.
The newspaper also won a fourth in headline writing.
Overall, based on a point system, the newspaper won third place in the sweepstakes category.