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Sweepstakes, 11 first-place trophies for journalism
The Frio-Nueces Current was presented with the Sweepstakes trophy and eleven first-place plaques for excellence in journalism at the annual convention of the South Texas Press Association in Corpus Christi on Friday, April 22.
The awards were made as part of the association’s Better Newspaper Contest, in which entries were filed by weekly and bi-weekly publications from across the region that extends east to west from Cuero to Ozona and north to south from San Marcos to the Rio Grande Valley. The South Texas Press Association is the largest regional organization of its kind in the United States.
Judging of news, features, photography, sports coverage, newspaper design, editorials, columns, and advertising was undertaken this year by members of the North & East Texas Press Association and included entries published during 2021.
The Sweepstakes award was made to the Current for scores it earned with high-ranking finishes in several categories in its division. First-place trophies to the Current included the Griff Singer Award for General Excellence, in which judges remarked that the Current ranked as the “best designed newspaper in its class,” with commendations for use of graphics and typography, advertising, breadth of local coverage, and attention to detail.
Further first-place awards to the Current included those for feature writing by editor Marc Robertson, covering a crisis of human smuggling in South Texas; headline writing by Robertson and chief staff writer Breyana Segura; lifestyle pages composed by Robertson and staff writer Amanda Brown Snowden and designed by production manager Lonnie Herrera; humorous and serious columns by Robertson; display advertising, including a Memorial Day page, by Herrera and sales representative Tony Perez; special section publication, the annual South Texas Hunting Guide by Segura and managing editor Manuel Azocar III; page design by Robertson, Azocar and Herrera; and sports writing and photography by Azocar.
Azocar was commended for his sports coverage and page layout by judges who described his work as “the cleanest and best designed in the group.”
Judges commented on Robertson’s feature stories by noting that the entries represented “two strong features that dig into the whys and hows of the problems at the border,” and added that “readers on any side of the border debate would be forced to think a bit more after reading these pieces.”
The Current earned second-place awards for news photography by Azocar and Robertson, and editorial writing by Robertson; third place for news writing by Robertson and Segura; and honorable mentions for feature photography by Azocar and Robertson.
“I could not be more proud of our staff at the Current for the amazing showing in the annual South Texas Press Association journalism contest,” publisher Craig Garnett said. “Not only did we win the Sweepstakes award, but it was the result of 11 first-place awards. We have never done better in a contest judged by our peers.”
This year marks Herrera’s 49th as a staff member at the Frio-Nueces Current, which operated as the Pearsall Leader when he joined the company after graduating from Pearsall High School in 1973.
Azocar has been employed by the Current since 1993; Robertson joined the staff in 1995. Segura began serving as a staff writer in 2012. Perez took over advertising sales in 2018.