HDN staffers clean house at state convention

DURANT, Okla. — Overton native Matthew Prosser was one of several Henderson Daily News staffers honored North and East Texas Press Association’s 2013 Better Newspaper Contest.

“We’re always honored when our peers recognize our efforts to publish a good community newspaper,” said HDN publisher Les Linebarger. “More importantly, we want our readers and advertisers to be assured that we are making every effort to produce the best newspaper we can for the good people of Rusk County.”

Prosser, who serves as managing editor of both the Henderson Daily News and Overton News, was awarded first-place in Feature Writing for the third consecutive year — with a hotly-contested second place in both Column and News Writing as well as for News and Feature photography categories.

Prosser deflected the praise, saying any honor he receives “is a credit to the quality staff I work with.”

“Our staff works hard to give our readers the best coverage they can, it’s good to see the judges agreed,” he said. “The commitment and quality of work performed by staff writers Rachael Riley and Greg Collins, as well as that of production supervisor Joy Slaymaker and society editor Anjanett Stroble ensures that we give our readers the best local news product possible.”

A finalist for the NETPA Journalist of the Year category for the third straight year (an award he won in 2012), Prosser was also a finalist for Photographer of the Year for the third consecutive year.

“Frankly, it’s an honor just to be included in such lofty company,” he said, adding that it is a direct consequence of the entire HDN’s teamwork attitude. “I’m thankful for such a great bunch of teammates that make me look good.”

The awards were announced last weekend during the North and East Texas Press Association’s 2013 Better Newspaper Contest at Choctaw Casino in Durant, Okla. Based on newspapers published during 2012, the HDN competed with dailies with circulations of 7,000 and under from around the north and east regions of the state.
Also recognized was HDN sports editor Hughes Ellis for sports coverage and staff writer Rachael Riley for headline writing and news story. HDN publisher Les Linebarger received a second-place mention for Column Writing.

In other categories, the Henderson newspaper received second place in editorial writing and page design, with a third place finish in feature and news photography. The HDN finished a close fourth-place behind the much larger Lufkin, Nacogdoches, and Waxahachie daily newspapers in the overall General Excellence category. But Prosser said he wasn’t bothered by competing against larger newspapers in the “sweepstakes” category.

“A fourth-place finish is nothing to lament, in fact it puts us in elite company — a lot of papers would be glad to finish anywhere near the top,” he said. “I’m also not bothered about having to compete against larger papers […] after all, we’ve won top overall honors against them before.”

“We’re going to dig in deep and keep working hard, and see if we can’t get it back in 2014,” Prosser added.

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