Story on sheriff's actions captures judges' attention

Staff Report, The Freer Press

The Alice Echo-News Journal received five awards at the state Texas Press Association convention held Thursday through Saturday in San Antonio.

For the second year in a row, the newspaper took first place in the news writing category.

Earning the award this year were Freer Press News Editor Sue Fleming and Alice Echo-News Journal News Editor Ofelia Garcia Hunter.

Fleming's story on Duval County Sheriff Santiago Barrera releasing an inmate on his own authority captured the judges' interest.

The judge wrote: "The reporting reflects tenacity, clearly needed in trying to press the sheriff for a truthful accounting."

Hunter's story on continuous flooding in the Rancho Alegre area also impressed judges.

Receiving third place in the news photography category were Alice Echo-News Journal reporter Christopher Maher and Hunter.

The photos depicted the flooding in Rancho Alegre and a motorcycle accident scene.

Also receiving a third-place award was Managing Editor Nicole D. Perez in the column writing category for columns entitled "Bed bugs really do bite" and "Just another face in the crowd."

Judges wrote: "Bed bugs? How could a reader not finish this column," and "Tough subject handled well."

Perez also received a fourth-place award for feature writing for stories written about the Marines' first Hispanic female general and a story on the emotional toll on the community after the self-inflicted death of a local football standout last year.

Judges wrote on the General Angela Salinas story: "Perez writes a compelling story," and judges' comments on the Chance Brandt story were: "Perez knows what she's doing. Considerate treatment of the (death)."

The final award the newspaper received was a fourth-place in sports coverage for Sports Editor Pete Garcia.

Judges wrote: "Good job of local commentary and helping the reader through your section."

The newspaper competes in the small daily newspaper division.