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Texas APME honors Herald, Nuevo with state’s top journalism awards

March 5, 2019

The Texas Associated Press Managing Editors award association honored newspapers from across the state this weekend in Austin, doling out prizes in an annual competition of local journalism and bestowing 21 prizes to The Brownsville Herald and El Nuevo Heraldo for their work in 2018.

The Brownsville Herald took home a total of 13 awards, competing in Class 2A against other newspapers across Texas with similar circulations. El Nuevo Heraldo earned another eight awards against the state’s Spanish competitors.

The Herald’s staff was awarded first place for Online Live Coverage for the newspaper’s coverage of the American Civil Liberties Union’s immigration rally in Linear Park.

The judge for this category said: “The Herald was punching significantly above its weight class covering the immigration demonstration. Outstanding work. While I would single out Mark Reagan, the entire team that also included Nadia Tamez-Robeldo, Miguel Roberts, Diana Eva Maldonado, was excellent. Twitter, Facebook, tweets, stories, live video, edited video, stills: the Herald was everywhere. And the whole presentation came together nicely on your own website.”

Reagan further stood out with “compelling reporting” in several other awards categories this weekend, including the weekend’s top honor for reporting—first place in the Star Reporter of the Year category.

Reagan also took home the weekend’s top prize for investigation in the Star Investigative Report of the Year, earning first place for his reporting on an audit that preceded the closure of International Educational Services’ migrant shelters in the Rio Grande Valley.

“The reporter and The Brownsville Herald fought for information on a topic that resonates beyond Texas,” a Texas APME judge wrote. “This is solid watchdog work.”

That same work fared equally well in the Freedom of Information category, earning another first place.

“An excellent example of a reporter refusing to take no for an answer when it comes to public records,” said Texas APME judge for this category, John Ingold, writer and co-founder of The Colorado Sun.

For Specialty Reporting, Reagan split the first place spot with himself, earning two of the highest distinctions in the field. Specialty reporting is for a body of work in a specific area of expertise, and in this case Reagan was being awarded for his coverage of the IES and migrant shelters and for “Filling in the gaps,” which included examples of his coverage of border wall construction and consequences in the Rio Grande Valley.

“The depth of the reporting and quality of the writing made this entry a standout,” a Texas APME judge wrote. “The reporter also identified intriguing angles on a vital issue to the communities he serves.”

Another Herald staffer to shine in this year’s competition was Opinion Editor Carlos Rodriguez, who earned three awards, including first and third place for Editorial Writing—and a third place in the Star Opinion Writer of the Year category.

“With compelling, well-written editorials about issues that hit home in Brownsville, this entry was a standout,” wrote Texas APME judge Colleen McCain Nelson, McClatchy opinion editor and Kansas City Star’s editorial page director. “The topics were timely and consequential, and the arguments were sharp and backed up by specifics. Well done.”

Herald photographer Miguel Roberts earned two awards.

For photojournalism, he was awarded third place for his photographs for “Between Two Worlds: Migrants seeking asylum wait on bridge as debate rages.” However, his work for the ACLU rally earned first place in the online Photo Gallery category.

“Good mix of pictures,” a Texas APME judge wrote. “The photographer did a nice job of making both scene setters and tighter portraits. A couple of nice pictures of law enforcement officers working to keep the crowd under control. This gallery stood out because it was curated—all of the photos added an element to the story—instead of just dumping an entire photo shoot chronologically into the gallery tool.”

Gary Long took home a third-place prize in Short Features for his Brownsville Independent School District story, “Birds’ Song: Resaca students sing for pelicans’ safety.” The story highlighted music teacher Renee Lockett and her elementary students singing “The Pelican Song,” which the class wrote to promote awareness of pelicans being hit in cold weather along Highway 48.

The Brownsville Herald staff also secured a second place finish in Star Breaking News Report of the Year for coverage of the ACLU rally.

El Nuevo Heraldo’s eight awards in the Spanish language contest were given to:

>> Aurora Orozco: Second place and honorable mention in news;

>> Aurora Orozco: First and second places in features;

>> Juan Carlos Sanchez: First and third places in sports writing;

>> Santos Garcia: First and third places in headline writing.

rhenry@brownsvilleherald.com

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