Staffers from the Nogales International, collectively and individually, won a total of 13 awards during the Arizona Newspapers Association annual convention last weekend in Scottsdale – including eight first-place prizes.
In the ANA’s 2014 Better Newspaper Contest, the NI finished first in its division in the Reporting and Newswriting Excellence category, as well as in Departmental News and Copy Editing Excellence. The paper was awarded second place for Page Design Excellence and third place for Editorial Page Excellence.
The NI also won a second-place prize for General Excellence, which combines achievements in news reporting, page design and advertising.
In individual contest categories, sports editor William Wilczewski won four awards, while reporter Curt Prendergast and graphic designer Priscilla Bolaños each took home two.
Wilczewski was the top finisher in the Best Sports Story category with “Coach still alive, thanks to his team,” about Rio Rico High School wrestlers who came to the aid of coach Fernando Villaescusa after he suffered nine heart attacks. Wilczewski also finished first in Sport or Sports Beat Coverage for his stories on the Rio Rico Little League Juniors All-Star team and its state runner-up season in 2013.
In the Best Sports Photograph category, Wilczewski again took top prize for a photo of a RRHS softball player putting a tag on a sliding Coolidge High runner during a play at third base. He took third place in the Best Sports Column category with “There’s a time and place for everything – except a smoke,” in which he praised Ricky Maytorena Sr. for texting him so many updates on his Intermediate Little League All-Star baseball team that he didn’t have time to smoke a cigarette.
Prendergast won first place in the Best News Feature Story category for “Immigration takes center stage,” a package of stories on three immigration- and border-related events held in Nogales during two days in June 2013. He also won first place in Best Sustained Coverage or Series for series of stories published January-March in which he recounted his experience attending the Border Patrol Ambassadors Academy.
In the ANA’s Excellence in Advertising contest, Bolaños and NI advertising representative Carmen Ibarra won first place in the Best Paid Color Ad Series category for the “You Have the Power” campaign they put together on behalf of the County Attorney’s Office. Bolaños also won second place in the Best On Line Ad (Static) division for the “You Have the Power” campaign, and deserves most of the credit for the NI’s second-place finish in Page Design Excellence.
Publisher Manuel C. Coppola said, “Here I am, a newspaper man in the business of communicating, and I can’t find the words to say how proud I am of our successes at ANA thanks to Curt, Priscilla, William, Carmen and Managing Editor Jonathan Clark, who are passionate about what they do. I wish there were awards for all the members of this team including our display and classified advertising representatives, business office personnel, the circulation manager, newspaper carriers, right down to the person who labels our mailed copies. It’s like a time piece; all the parts have to tick with precision edition after edition to produce a quality newspaper our readers and advertisers can enjoy and be proud of.”
Both the Better Newspapers Contest and Excellence in Advertising competitions were judged by the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association. The NI competed in the divisions for non-daily papers with circulations under 3,500.