Record sweeps Texas Press Awards competition

The Canadian Record staff picked up its third consecutive Sweepstakes Award in the Texas Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest at the culmination of last weekend’s Newspaper Leadership Retreat in Ruidoso, New Mexico.

Record editor and publisher Laurie Ezzell Brown accepted the beautiful Sweepstakes plaque at Saturday’s awards presentation, held at the Inn of the Mountain Gods. The plaque features the front page of its Dec. 22, 2016 edition, with its dramatic photo of firefighters battling an early-morning blaze that destroyed the Delanie Davis home on Hobart Street.

The Record's 2016 TPA Sweepstakes AwardThat photo was one of five images captured by Brown that also earned a first-place plaque for News Photos. Other entries included photos of a car versus train collision at Glazier crossing, the explosion that destroyed an Overflow saltwater disposal well near Glazier, an early-morning semi-tanker wreck on US 60, and a team of horseback riders embarking on a search for Thomas Brown last November.

The Record collected four other first-place awards, as well. Advertising Manager Ray Weeks earned top honors for his design work, which included ads for Canadian’s Fourth of July Rodeo, the Miami Cow Calling, and the Hemphill County Sheriff’s Office Active Shooter Event training.

The entire Record staff earned kudos and a first-place award for Page Design. Brown received top honors for her submissions in Editorial Writing, which the judges deemed both “educational and transformative.” Those entries included “Heads in the Sand,” a critique of the city council’s refusal to receive comment from the water district’s general manager on Overflow Energy’s contested permit application for a saltwater disposal well, and “Myth-busters,” disspelling the myths promoted by both proponents and opponents of last fall’s controversial wet-dry election.

Brown’s reports on the week-long search for Thomas Brown last November, and on the CHS student whose successful voter registration revealed a flaw in the citizenship screening process, also earned top honors in the News Writing division.

In addition, The Record earned 2nd-place certificates in Headline Writing, for entries by News Editor Cathy Ricketts and Sports Editor Peyton Aufill; and in the Routine Special Section category for the 2016 Pigskin Preview, which featured Aufill’s sportswriting, graphics, and photography; and Weeks’ advertising design work. Weeks also has chief responsibility for design of The Record website (, which earned a third-place award, as did Ezzell Brown’s “Field Notes” for Column Writing.

The Record’s coverage of the 2016 election, which involved several high-profile races, earned a fouth-place award for Community Service. “The newspaper stepped up its political coverage, adding in-depth interviews (backed with intensive research into candidates’ backgrounds) and creating a well-read voting guide.”

The Sweepstakes Award selection was based a cumulative point total of all awards earned by each newspaper in its division. The Record collected 625 points, compared to 350 earned by the Iowa Park Leader, and 300 each by the Elgin Courier and Farmersville Times.

Brown was also elected to serve as the TPA’s first vice-president, and will receive the official gavel from newly-installed President Patrick Canty of the Odessa-American during next summer’s leadership retreat. Other officers inducted were immediate Past President and Chairman of the Board Randy Keck of The Community News (Aledo); Second Vice- President Ramona Ferguson of The Banner Press (Brenham); and Secretary Jim Bardwell of the Gladewater Mirror.

The Texas Press Association, founded in 1880, is one of the nation’s oldest and largest newspaper trade associations, representing 463 paid-circulation newspapers, including 75 dailies and 388 non-dailies. Its mission is to promote the welfare of Texas newspapers, to encourage higher standards of journalism and to play a key role in protecting the public’s right to know as an advocate of First Amendment liberties.

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