The Independent sweeps annual Texas newspaper contest

The Liberty Hill Independent won the distinguished Sweepstakes award for its division at the Texas Press Association’s annual Better Newspaper Contest Saturday at the association’s annual convention in Denton.
The Independent, in continuous publication for 34 years, earned 775 points to win the Sweepstakes award — outdistancing the nearest competitor by 200 points. The Texas Better Newspaper Contest was judged by journalists from the Wisconsin Press Association. Ninety Texas newspapers competed in the contest submitting 934 total entries that were published from Sept. 1, 2019 to Aug. 31, 2020.
To win the Sweepstakes award, The Independent earned the most number of points across a spectrum of categories in its circulation division, including the following: Column Writing, 1st Place; Editorial, 1st Place; Headline Writing, 1st Place; News Writing, 1st Place; Advertising, 2nd Place; Page Design, 2nd Place; Sports Photography, 2nd Place; News Photography, 3rd Place; Sports Coverage, 3rd Place; Feature Photography, 4th Place; and Feature Writing, 4th Place.
“As professional journalists, being recognized by our peers is a high honor. And the achievements made in so many categories across such a wide spectrum is evidence that our team of highly-qualified and experienced journalists, designers and photographers are not only committed to the profession, but committed to our community,” said Shelly Wilkison, publisher of The Independent and President of Texas Independent News Corp., which owns the newspaper and two local magazines. “Indeed, this is recognition we share with a community that has been highly supportive of our work through the years, and a business community that recognizes the value that our weekly newspaper brings to our hometown.”
In the editorial category, a judge wrote the following about the editorials submitted by The Independent: “Good, old-fashioned watchdog newspaper editorials that show the newspaper is, indeed the eyes and ears of the community. Writing is clear and it’s obvious that this newspaper takes its role seriously.”
Noting the quality of the advertising entires submitted, one judge wrote,”Three wonderful ads. I loved the color and layout of the Vintage Market ad. The ‘Pep’ ad had a nice use of photographs. The Farmers Nursery ad was fun and eye catching, with a bright bold color and a beautiful cat in the photo!”
In describing the newspaper’s Sports Section, a judge wrote, “This section covers a wide range of sports in the community. The editor’s column is impressive and the regular ‘Inside the Game’ feature is a great way of capsulizing the week’s highlights.”
This is the second year in a row that The Independent has won the Sweepstakes award.
The newspapers garnering the most points in the division behind The Independent were Frio-Nueces Current (575 points), The Big Bend Sentinel (375 points), and Colorado County Citizen (325 points).
Other newspapers in the Liberty Hill area winning Sweepstakes awards in their divisions were the Hill Country News and the Burnet Bulletin.