The Paris News was named among the top three best daily newspapers in Northeast Texas on Friday by the North and East Texas Press Association and earned 10 awards in the largest division of the association’s Better Newspaper Contest.

Friday’s honors complement the six awards the newspaper received in January from the Texas Press Association, which recognized the newspaper’s editorials, advertising, feature writing, photography, special sections and website.

“Our local journalists have worked hard to provide the community a quality newspaper, and we are grateful our colleagues have recognized that work with these awards,” managing editor Klark Byrd said.

The Paris News earned four first place awards, including Journalist and Photographer of the Year, four second place awards and two third place awards for work done in 2019.

With 500 points based on the awards won, The Paris News tied for second place with the Cleburne Times-Herald to be among the top three small daily newspapers in the region. The category winner was the Nacogdoches Daily Sentinel, a Paris News sister newspaper.

Former staff photographer Lora Arnold was named Photographer of the Year for her sports, feature and news photography. Her entry included a Feb. 20 photo of Paris Wildcat Trae Johnson crashing into a Gilmer defender in Paris’s bi-district win over the Buckeyes; a March 7 photo of Wildcats first baseman Trace McNeal looking to pitcher Coleman Lewis in the district home game against Liberty-Eylau; an Oct. 31 photo of two Carson & Barnes Circus performers balancing each other on their shoulders in Hugo, Okla.; and an Oct. 17 photo of North Lamar ISD’s bonfire.

Arnold’s work also took first place in the News Photography category. The entry included the Oct. 31 circus photo and a July 14 picture of a cowboy wrestling a steer at the Ladonia Rodeo.

Former staff writer Macon Atkinson earned Journalist of the Year for work in August and December 2019, including an Aug. 11 story about the Texas Dream Center and the men it has helped; an Aug. 28 story about Daniel Roberts, a Paris man accused of committing a home invasion crime months after he was paroled while serving time for a similar crime; an Aug. 29 story on a Honey Grove family still dealing with the fallout of the August 2018 federal raid of Load Trail Trailers; a Dec. 12 story about Paris EMS’s annual ambulance upgrade; and a Dec. 22 story about the impact of full deportation on the local economy and education systems.

Byrd and then staff reporter Tommy Culkin, who is now sports editor, took first place in the Feature Photo category. Culkin’s photo of Dion Pride at First Christian Church’s Country Dinner Theater was published June 4. Byrd’s photo, published March 19, was of his then 4-year-old daughter in a vehicle with the windows up to illustrate a spring break story about the dangers of leaving a child in a car.

In addition to the sweepstakes award, second place awards were earned in the General Excellence, Page Design and Community Service categories. Judges based general excellence and page design decisions on news coverage, quality of writing, display, headlines and use of photography. Pages submitted for the category were designed by Byrd, Sally Boswell and Kim Cox.

Staff reporter Mary Madewell’s work that ultimately helped a Lamar County family get a water line connection so they could keep their disabled son at home earned the community service award.

The two third place awards recognized work in the Advertising and Feature Story categories. Advertisements for Paris Lumber, Bill Bass Tires and Inergroup, designed by staff composers Holly Nowell and Megan Pedersen, comprised the winning entry. The winning feature stories included Atkinson’s raid fallout story and a Jan. 7 feature by former staff reporter Erin Jusseaume about the impact of Habitat for Humanity volunteer Ed Farmer, who passed away in September 2018.

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