The Payson Roundup brought home Newspaper of the Year honors from the 2008 Arizona Newspaper Association Better Newspapers Contest. This is the 10th year the Roundup has been named the state’s best non-daily newspaper.
“I am proud of the effort of everyone at the Roundup. It takes a team effort to produce the best non-daily newspaper in the state,” said publisher John Naughton.
“Receiving this award demonstrates the effort and dedication of the Roundup staff in producing the best newspaper for residents of the Rim Country.”
Nearly every newspaper in Arizona belongs to the ANA, with 105 in the non-daily category.
Points from awards presented for excellence in both advertising and news are totaled to determine the Newspaper of the Year award.
At the Oct. 11 presentation, the Roundup’s editorial department won the following first place honors: general excellence; departmental news and copywriting; and page design. Second place awards were given the Roundup for: reporting and newswriting; editorial page; best use of photography; and special section (the “Helping Hands” publication). A third place was presented for the Roundup’s online Web site.
Members of the Kentucky Press Association judged the entries for the BNC. Among the comments made on the Roundup’s work:
“Head and shoulders above the rest ... Impressive effort” - Departmental News and Copy Editing Excellence.
“Tight writing throughout. Well designed. This is a very crisp looking paper” - Reporting and News Writing Excellence
“Everything an editorial page needs. Very clean, well laid out — easy to follow, community support and response” - Editorial Page Excellence
“The Roundup is clean and well organized, clearly the best in its category — a true community newspaper too” - Page Design Excellence.
The points acquired for these awards contributed to the Newspaper of the Year honors.
The staff of the Roundup won numerous individual awards as well.
Max Foster won more first-place awards than any journalist in the state, with awards for best news story, best sports story and best sports beat coverage.
The former Payson High School Football coach and retired Rim Country Middle School math teacher has written for the Roundup for more than 20 years and not only writes the bulk of the stories in the sports section, but frequently writes front-page news stories.
The news story for which he was honored this year was on one of the large busts law enforcement authorities conducted on pot growing operations in the Rim Country. Foster’s sports story winning a first place award was called “Hunt of a lifetime” and told the story of a teen boy suffering from cancer realizing a life-long dream of going on an archery elk hunt.
The judges said, “An outdoors story that showed a lot of heart.”
Foster’s coverage of all Longhorn sports earned him his third first place award.
Roundup editor Tom Brossart won two first-place awards, including best photo feature layout for a look at the fall season on the Mogollon Rim and best feature photograph for the Bison Home Percherons.
The judges said about the Percheron photo, “Caught my eye immediately ...” and on the photo feature, “Gorgeous photos of everyday scenes. You could tell the photographer spent some time scouting locations and putting real thought into the composition ... Bravo.”
The Roundup dominated the photo categories, with Dennis Fendler’s first place for the best sports photograph - “Rodeo fun”; and former staff photographer Jason Pettifield’s win for best news photograph - “Saying goodbye” from the paper’s series on RTA Hospice & Palliative Care; Roundup photographer Andy Towle placed second in the best feature photograph category with his piece on Jess Snively; Pettifield took second place for best feature photo layout for another part of the hospice series.
Of Fendler’s work, the judges said, “Nice action shot! You can almost feel the dirt flying as the cowboy jumps off his horse.”
Comments on Towle’s work were, “Balanced and ambient. Good clarity on face despite difficult lighting. Tells story well and used effectively in layout to grab attention.”
The hospice series also won its writer Teresa McQuerrey a first-place award for best sustained coverage.
The judges said, “An easy first place. Balanced form. Very well done ... Kept you involved.”
McQuerrey also a second place in the lifestyle feature category, with her profile of Audrie Harrison.
In fact, the Roundup swept the lifestyle feature story category, with a first place award to Pete Aleshire for his story, “A fateful fishing trip” and a third-place award to former staff writer Erin Turner for her story, “A wrestling connection.”
Comments on the lifestyle features included, “The Payson staff knows how to write features. Aleshire’s fishing feature ... flows well, it drew me in from the get-go ...” On the Harrison profile, the judge said, “This is one that I’d sit at my kitchen table and drink my coffee while reading.”
The Roundup was awarded 20 journalism awards overall.
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