The Brownsville Herald captured the highest honors this week, being named both the Class AA Newspaper of the Year and the Class AA Newsroom of the Year by the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors awards association.
The Herald was the “best of class” with “strong local enterprise, good photography, excellent design and photo use, good curation of wires and Texas news partners to provide (an) excellent experience for readers,” judges wrote in their comments tied to the awards.
Overall, AIM Media Texas newspapers — including The Brownsville Herald, El Nuevo Heraldo, Valley Morning Star and The Monitor — earned 40 awards, as announced by Texas APME officials as part of an annual awards convention that was set for late March in San Angelo but was cancelled because of concerns regarding the potential spread of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Instead of rescheduling the awards convention, officials released their decisions this past week on social media.
Newspapers across the state competed against other publications of similar circulation size.
“We are thrilled to learn the Herald was named not only Newspaper of the Year, but also Newsroom of the Year,” said Ryan Henry, editor of the Herald and Star. “Our reporters work hard throughout the year to provide our community the accurate, trustworthy and dependable local news we all need most. These awards given to our Valley newspapers reflect how the work we do here stands up against the best journalism in Texas.”
Including the top two awards in Class AA, the Herald earned 15 awards for journalism conducted in 2019.
Herald opinion editor Carlos Rodriguez was also named Texas APME Class AA Star Editorial Writer of the Year, with judging deeming his work to be “brilliant, elloquent and courageous.” Rodriguez secured another first place in the editorial writing category of competition.
“These editorials tackle important local issues and are written clearly and persuasively,” said Terri Troncale, former Opinions editor for The Times-Picayune.
Herald reporter Erin Sheridan, who joined the newspaper late in 2019, earned second place Star Reporter of the Year and second place for Specialty Reporting for her work covering immigration in Brownsville.
“Excellent job of covering this story and getting the information out there,” the judges said.
The Herald received second place in Team Effort, involving former and current Herald staffers Mark Reagan, Nubia Reyna, Erin Sheridan, Miguel Roberts, Denise Cathey and Ryan Henry.
Also, the newsroom took second place in Online Live Coverage for the work of Diana Eva Maldonado, Miguel Roberts and Steve Clark.
Herald business editor Steve Clark received an honorable mention in deadline writing, and education reporter Gary Long secured an honorable mention in short features.
The Herald was also recognized for its visual work in photography and design. Designer Valerie Hernandez finished second-place in the Designer of the Year category.
And photographers Denise Cathey and Miguel Roberts earned awards as well. Cathey earned a second place in photojournalism and an honorable mention in the photo gallery categories, and Roberts earned a third place in the photo gallery category for photos taken at the migrant camp in Matamoros.
“This is a tough subject matter to get to the heart of given restrictions in access and opportunity,” the judges said. “But the photographer does the important work on not only chronicling the circumstance, but bringing dignity to those being photographed.”
The Herald also received a third place award for its headlines.
The Brownsville Herald’s Spanish language newspaper, El Nuevo Heraldo, earned another six honors in the following categories in Class A and Spanish Language competition:
>> Designer of the Year, Class A, first place, Fabiola Munoz;
>> Designer of the Year, Class A, honorable mention, Fabiola Munoz;
>> Infographics, Class A, second place, Fabiola Munoz;
>> News writing, Spanish, honorable mention, Aurora Orozco;
>> Feature writing, Spanish, second place, Aurora Orozco;
>> and Feature writing, Spanish, honorable mentions, Zulema Philips.
The Valley Morning Star secured a total of six awards for journalism in various categories involving news writing and design — including ranking as the third best Online Newspaper of the Year for Class AA in Texas.
The Monitor earned 13 awards for journalism in categories including news writing, photography and sports.