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Tyler Morning Telegraph Editor John Anderson and reporter Zak Wellerman with the First Place General Excellence award and First Place Sweepstakes for Newspaper of the Year as the newspaper placed in 16 categories.

The Tyler Morning Telegraph earned 16 awards on Saturday including Newspaper of the Year and General Excellence during the North and East Texas Press Association Better Newspaper Contest.

The sweepstakes honors for paper of the year was a result of total points from first, second and third place awards.

In General Excellence, the judges pick a date for a newspaper and one is submitted (Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020). The judges said of the Tyler Morning Telegraph, “A nice looking paper! Strong writing and very engaging news writing. The advertising has great graphics and there is nice page design. The sports coverage is amazing — a tremendous job covering all of the local teams.”

Tyler Morning Telegraph Publisher Justin Wilcox said he is proud of the work of the staff and the support from the community during the pandemic.

“Our content in print and online was informative and interesting the past year. The entries that won reflect that in the news articles, features, opinion columns and sports coverage,” Wilcox said. “We are proud each department was honored and shared in this award, from our sales and multimedia consultants to our graphics department and page designers. It’s a testament to the North and East Texas Press Association to recognize the entire team effort that goes into producing a daily paper.”

Tyler Morning Telegraph Editor John Anderson and reporter Zak Wellerman accepted the awards at the convention in Rockwall.

The other awards the Tyler Morning Telegraph earned:

— News Writing, second place: Wellerman, for in-depth reporting into a murder case and Anderson’s coverage of violence in the square in Tyler during a protest in the summer of 2020.

— Column Writing, second place: Anderson’s columns on people and issues in Tyler and East Texas. — Column writing, third place: News columns by Tyler Morning Telegraph Phil Hicks, who had a strong column after the names of the two high schools in Tyler were changed.

— Page Design, second place: A blank front page of sports designed by Anderson on March 15, the first day there were no sports locally, nationally or internationally because of the pandemic. Also for a front page by Alexandra Dominguez featuring a story about the Hawkins FFA 4G Honey Bee team, “Busy Bees,” for page design, an opinion page and a front page of the Sunday Inspire section.

— Headline Writing, second place: headlines by Anderson, Wellerman and Dominguez.

— Advertising, second place: The Best in Town and Lifestyles Magazine, now ETX View.

— Feature Writing, third place: A story by Jessica Dillon on a man who took a job at a nursing home as a receptionist so he could see his wife each day. Also a story by Wellerman on a 12—year—old girl, who attends Chapel Hill and was selected as an ambassador for the {span}East Texas Down Syndrome Group’s 2020 Buddy Walk, {/span}detailing her bright outlook on life.

— Sports Writing, third place: Brandon Ogden’s “Multisports Mother” feature, John Anderson for a story on Kevin and Cindy Gersch who were separated from football as Kevin was in the military in Kosovo and Phil Hicks for his story on the lifelong friendships developed in Whitehouse with Patrick Mahomes and his former teammates.

— Sports Coverage, high school, college and Super Bowl LIV coverage by Hicks, Ogden and Anderson.

— Photography, first place, two second place and one third place: In feature photography, a photo by Ben Fenton of a woman who was dancing with her home ownership papers after she paid off a 20—year mortgage on a Habitat for Humanity home and a news photo by Fenton of Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith walking with Black Lives Matter demonstrators. Also sports and news photos by Cara Campbell and Sarah Miller.

The M. Roberts Media newspapers had solid showings, as the Longview News—Journal and Panola Watchman earned 13 awards respectively and the Marshall News Messenger picked up three first place awards and the Kilgore News Herald placed in six categories.

The Lufkin Daily News earned the most first place awards in the large newspapers category with the Tyler Morning Telegraph and finished second place overall in the sweepstakes and the News—Journal was third.

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John is a two-time national columnist of the year and AP award-winner in Texas and New York for breaking news, videos and sports. He earned the Thomas J. Bulson Investigative Journalism award and has appeared on CNBC's American Greed, FOX and CNN.