The South Texas Press Association announced that the Gonzales Inquirer won 12 different awards in the yearly Better Newspaper Contest. The results were announced during a luncheon at the 93rd annual meeting on Friday in La Grange, Texas.
The Inquirer was awarded three first place awards, four second place awards, one third and four honorable mentions.
Headlining the list of achievements was the First Place Award for Outstanding Community Achievement. The prestigious Joyce and Fred Latchman Community Service Award was awarded for the Come and Taste It Craft Beer and Wine Festival that Editor and Publisher Terry Fitzwater inaugurated last year. The judges said “What a great project! Got the community involved and led the way for a fund that will hopefully last many years to come. Good job!’’
The Inquirer took first place in News Writing for the series of articles written by Fitzwater on the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) scandal that took place in 2018. The judges cited “good writing with great leads, good quotes and interesting facts that keep the reader involved.”
The final first place award was also won by Fitzwater for serious column writing. The columns were on his father and the Indianapolis 500 and on the importance of remembering Pearl Harbor were the two winners.
The Inquirer won four second place awards, including News Photography (won by Erik McCowan for his picture of a truck accident on I-10), Editorial Writing (won by Fitzwater for his columns on EMS and GBRA), headline writing, and earning the second most points for having the most awards in the contest.
José Torres won the third place award for his sports coverage in 2018. The judges said “Good overall package of feature and game stories. Nice job of implementing quotes on game stories.”
The Inquirer also won four honorable mention awards for General Excellence, Feature Writing (citing Fitzwater’s stories on military veterans), page design, and Erik McCowan as the STPA Journalist of the Year. In the area of General Excellence, the judges said, “Nice product with good design and information. Lots of interesting stories that draw interest to your readers. Good crisp ads.”
“I am excited and honored that the judges awarded the paper with so many awards in so many different categories,” said Editor and Publisher Terry Fitzwater. “I am really proud of the newspaper staff for all their accomplishments and recognition of their hard work.
“I am especially pleased to win the highly-coveted Joyce and Fred Latchman Community Service Award—it means a lot and is recognition of the vital role a hometown paper should play in its community. Kudos to the staff and team at the newspaper.”