The Gonzales Inquirer won six awards total in the 2020-21 Texas Press Association Better Newspaper Contest at the annual TPA convention.
The Inquirer claimed first place in Page Design, while also grabbing second place in Best Website, Best Sports Coverage and Best Sports Photography. The Inquirer also won third place awards in News Photography and Feature Writing.
“The staff of the Gonzales Inquirer takes great pride in trying to put out the best newspaper we possibly can with every edition and to be honored and recognized by our peers in the industry for the work we do is very rewarding and humbling,” Publisher Lew K. Cohn said.
“The announcement of these awards also came at a time when we are mourning the sudden and untimely death of our friend and colleague, Louis Decker, who was a valued contributor to our success as a newspaper. I can think of no more fitting tribute to him than our awards in Sports Coverage and Sports Photography because Louis lived and breathed Gonzales County sports.”
The newspaper scored a cumulative total of 425 points, but finished just out of the top 4 in Sweepstakes since one of the categories (Website) in which the paper scored points was not considered a “Sweepstakes” category. Had those points been counted, the Inquirer would have finished tied for third in Division 7 weekly newspapers.
“The Gonzales Inquirer will be celebrating its 170th anniversary next year as the oldest continuously published weekly newspaper in the state,” Cohn said. “Our goal for next year’s Texas Press Association contest is to win the Sweepstakes Award and build off the success we had this year.”
The judges from the West Virginia Press Association offered comments in three of the categories in which the Inquirer placed. In Page Design, where the Inquirer topped all competitors, the judges wrote, “Solid newspaper layout! Easy to read. Great work!”
For Best Website, where the Inquirer finished second, the judges wrote, “The Gonzales Inquirer offers a website with a robust selection of local news, including crime stories and local sports. The website is easy to use with an attractive design, including a newsy carousel and a robust multi-media selection of slideshows and videos.”
In Feature Writing, where the Inquirer scored a third place, the judges were impressed with a feature by Cohn about Baker Boys BBQ having been named to the Texas Monthly Top 50.
“Very well done, and very solid writing. ‘Baker Boys’ checks every box that a great feature should,” the judges wrote.
This year’s contest featured 18 categories and participating newspapers were invited to submit entries from work published between Sept. 1, 2020 and Dec. 31, 2021. This year, 80 newspapers submitted 850 entries in the contest. Competitions were divided into divisions in which newspapers competed against publications of similar circulation. Fifty-three weekly newspapers competed in divisions 5 through 9, submitting 494 entries.
TPA member newspapers competing in each division had the opportunity to submit entries in 12 sweepstakes contest categories and six non-sweepstakes contest categories.
In the sweepstakes contest categories, awards were presented in all eight circulation divisions. In the non-sweepstakes categories, divisions were determined by the number of entries from dailies, semiweeklies and weeklies. This year there were three divisions in the Community Service, Best Website, Online Coverage and Best Magazine competition categories; four divisions in the Special Section category and one division in the Public Notice category.
Awards were presented on July 29 at the TPA Convention & Trade Show, held at the Embassy Suites Hotel and Convention Center in San Marcos.