The Payson Roundup picked up more than a dozen awards Saturday night at the annual Arizona Newspapers Association’s Better Newspapers Contest, including the top, statewide award for general excellence among non-daily newspapers between 3,500 and 10,000 circulation.
The Roundup has taken that award each year for more than a decade, beating out papers like the White Mountain Independent, Fountain Hills Times and Green Valley News and Sun.
“This community deserves a great newspaper — we’re just glad we measure up,” said Roundup editor Peter Aleshire.
He noted that the community generates the kind of interesting
stories and community involvement that wins awards. “We’re just lucky to cover a place like Rim Country.”
The newspaper took first in two of the eight overall newspaper awards, including best use of photography and best special section (rodeo tab). The paper took second-place awards for reporting and news writing, copywriting and community service and third-place in page design.
The paper did not compete in advertising competition this year and was therefore not eligible for the Non-Daily Newspaper of the Year award, which went to Arizona Capitol Times for the second year in a row.
The Arizona Republic won the award among daily newspapers.
Reporter Alexis Bechman and photographer Andy Towle took home the most awards for the paper, each taking three top spots. Bechman won first place for multimedia storytelling for a series of Web updates on wildfires, second place for a feature story on a suicide support group and second place in enterprise reporting for a series of stories on the lack of fire protection in Deer Creek.
Towle, who just recently retired, went out with a bang.
He took first place in sports photography for a shot at a junior bull-riding event, second place in feature photography for a shot of Payson elementary students learning about safety and third place in photo layout on the Fourth of July.
Other winners include Roundup editor Pete Aleshire who won best headline for “The Silence of Snow,” reporter Michele Nelson who took second place in a series for her work on homeless students, digital media manager Pia Wyer who took third place in feture photography and sports writer Max Foster who took second place in investigative reporting for Pine water stories.
Foster recently retired as well, and Keith Morris took over as sports editor. Morris, who left the White Mountain Independent to join the Roundup, received two awards at the event for his work in the White Mountains. Those include a second place in sports beat coverage and third place in sports column.
In all, 53 newspapers competed in this year’s contest, submitting 1,360 entries. Members of the Nevada Press Association judged this year’s entries.