Conveying Emotion

The above photo, of El Campoan Yvonne Cerny, was taken by Leader-News Lifestyle Editor Quala Matocha during the early months of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 and won an award from the Texas Press Association.

El Campo Leader-News staff are the among best in the state when it comes to photography, judges said, during the Texas Press Association Better Newspaper Contest.

Judged among newspapers of similar circulation, the Leader-News took first place on news, feature and sports photography.

“The goal of every single staff member is to present newspaper excellence every edition, always. You, the readers, deserve nothing less,” El Campo Leader-News Publisher Shannon Crabtree said. “Am I proud of the newspaper staff? Every single day.”

Sports Editor Joshua Reese’s skill with a camera earned first in sports photography. “Really high quality sports photo journalism!” judges commented.

Winning photos were of El Campo Ladybird basketball player Tia Hearse grappling with two Edna Cowgirls for a rebound, Ricebirds sophomore running back Johntre Davis being tackled in the Regional playoff game last season and Louise basketball player Duran Vasquez leaping up on defense as a Port Aransas player drives for the hoop.

Images by Reporter Emily Lincke and Lifestyle Editor Quala Matocha collected first in feature photos. Matocha captured Yvonne Cerny’s expression as she watched a welcome home parade. Cerny had spent time in ICU recovering from a severe COVID-19 case and took first in feature photos.

Lincke’s photos shows the joy on Cristal Jaramillo’s face as she and the El Campo High School Class of 2020 collect their diplomas after several delays and New ICM worker Lucy Pardon toiling over her sewing machine as the company converted from little girl’s underwear to safety masks.

“Coming home photo was particularly moving,” judges wrote.

A first place win in news photos came via images captured by former Office Manager Karen Hoffer and Crabtree.

An early morning grocery store line during the first days of COVID closures as empty shelves became a norm and toilet paper practically impossible to find was captured by Hoffer.

Crabtree’s photo shows peaceful protesters at a Black Lives Matter protest.

“Excellent composition and coverage of news events,” judges wrote.

Crabtree received first place in column writing with judges commenting on columns on COVID dangers and a morning struggle to oust kittens from a hiding spot in the author’s pickup.

“Both of these columns ... did either a good job of convincing people of a point, or telling a story in a lighthearted way,” a judge said.

The paper also received second place in headline writing and page design.

Third place honors were won in feature writing and sports coverage. 

The paper was ranked fourth in Advertising and overall General Excellence, but placed second in Sweepstakes, an award given to the newspaper by size category earning the most and highest awards across all categories.

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