The Payson Roundup was named Arizona Newspaper of the Year for non-dailies the fourth consecutive year the local newspaper has been awarded the state's highest honor.
The Roundup also racked up the competition's General Excellence Award for the fourth year in a row, as well as a number of first-place awards for its size category all of which were announced at the Arizona Newspapers Foundation's annual Better Newspapers Contest awards ceremony, held Saturday in Scottsdale.
"This win reaffirms something we've already known: despite changes in personnel over the years, the Payson Roundup has assembled some of the most talented, creative and dedicated people in the country to bring our readers the best community newspaper in the state," said Roundup editor Jerry Thebado, who took over the paper's news department in August, 2001.
"The team at the Roundup works so hard to make this a great little community newspaper," publisher Richard Haddad said. "They amaze me every day."
For the third year in a row, The Rim Review won first place in the category of Newspaper Supplement/ Magazine, wherein it competes against all non-daily newspapers in the state.
In the non-daily writing categories, Thebado took first place, Best News Story, for his account of Gila County Fiduciary Rita Riell-Corbin, who was indicted in May 2001 on charges of embezzling nearly $1.178 million.
Roundup reporter Mike Burkett earned third-place in Best Column/ Analysis/ Commentary for an editorial about Jeri Johnson, the defendant in the Tonto-Apache Tribe's first-ever jury trial. Burkett also received an honorable mention in Best News Feature Story for his profile of Don Garvin, Rye's resident character and one-man fire department.
Best News Photograph, first place, went to former Roundup reporter Charlene Hunt for her haunting image of a 7-year-old girl fleeing a car that had rolled over, and toward the safety of a Payson Police officer.
In the same category, Roundup publisher Richard Haddad received a second-place nod for his photograph of an emergency worker cradling a baby after a car accident.
The Roundup also scored first- and second-place wins in the Special Section category for it's 2002 Progress edition and the 2001 Get a Rim Country Clue trivia supplement, respectively; second place, Departmental News Coverage; second place, Best Use of Photography; and first place in the category of Newspaper Online Site/Web Page for its Internet site, www.payson.com.
The Arizona Republic won the contest's top honor in the daily division.
There were 366 awards presented in 21 categories all culled from 1236 entries submitted by 65 newspapers. The number of newspapers participating was the highest since 1997.