The Nogales International won first place in its division for Best Local News Coverage when theNational Newspaper Association announced the winners of its 2019 Better Newspaper Contest last week.

National Newspaper Association

“This newspaper’s coverage of tensions at an international border sets it apart from other community newspapers,” the judges’
comments stated. “The news writing is thorough, compelling and detailed.”

It was one of four awards won by the paper and its staff in the contest, which saw a total of 1,303 entries. The NI competed in the division for small circulation newspapers.

The NI won second place in General Excellence, a category in which three editions were evaluated in areas including news writing, photography, layout, advertising and public notices.

In the individual categories, managing editor Jonathan Clark and reporter Arielle Zionts won first place in Best Breaking News Story for their coverage of the fatal shooting of Nogales Police Office Jesus Cordova on April 27, 2018.

“Clark got to some of the multiple scenes quickly, and had a couple of days to put facts together. He and reporter Arielle Zionts made the most of their time by tracking down and interviewing eye-witnesses, gathering additional photos and information, and trying to put together a clear timeline on a complex series of events that involved multiple agencies,” the judges’ comments stated.

Zionts won third place in Best Investigative or In-Depth Story or Series for her story “Rape allegation preceded fire chief’s downfall,” which shed light on the circumstances that led to the termination/resignation of former Rio Rico Fire District Chief Al Flores.

The judges praised Zionts for her “sensitive handling of the dynamics of sexual assault.”

Contest judging was performed primarily by active community newspaper editors and publishers, as well as retired university journalism professors and retired or former newspaper professionals. The contest included stories and editions published in calendar year 2018.

Winners will be formally recognized during the NNA’s annual convention Oct. 3-5 in Milwaukee, Wisc.