HARLINGEN — The Valley Morning Star was among dozens of newspapers statewide to be honored during the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors convention in El Paso this weekend.
The Star earned a first, two seconds, two thirds and four honorable mentions in the annual awards competition, which honors the work of daily newspapers across the state.
“We are very proud of the work we do every day here at the Valley Morning Star and these types of awards can be looked at as confirmation and validation of the skills our personnel have and display on a regular basis,” editor Lisa Seiser said.
Reporter Fernando Del Valle was part of a pair of awards, including the Star’s lone first-place in it’s 2A circulation category.
Del Valle’s coverage of Red Tide on South Padre Island received the top honor for specialty reporting. Del Valle wrote several stories about the Red Tide and all were included as one entry.
“There were no judge’s comments on this, but I felt Fernando’s coverage of Red Tide met all of our criteria when writing stories,” Seiser said. “It was thorough in its description and continuing coverage and it told a story of how those on the island were dealing with the effects. It was just really good and the judges agreed.”
One of the second places was for the Star’s team effort to cover the prison riot in Willacy County in February of 2015.
The Star also received a second place for its efforts regarding Freedom of Information. These were based on the efforts from the newspaper, including former reporter Emma Perez-Trevino, to obtain documents from the city of Harlingen related to several different situations.
Star reporter Raul Garcia received a third place for best video over two minutes for his production about Shop with a Cop. Sports reporter Mark Molina received a third for his breaking sports story, “Killer finish” for his coverage of the Life Begins after 40 golf tournament in 2015.
Page designer Ana Villarrutia received an honorable mention for her headlines, while Perez-Trevino received honorable mention for her investigative work regarding the connections between Cameron County tax assessor Tony Yzaguirre and his staff.
Photographer Maricela Rodriguez received an honorable mention for her video of less than 2 minutes on the Harlingen community garden.
The Star’s website also received an honorable mention for online newspaper.
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VMS awards from the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors:
1st – Specialty reporting – “Red Tide”
2nd – Freedom of Information
2nd – Team effort – “Prison riot”
3rd – Best video more than 2 minutes – “Shop with a Cop”
3rd – Breaking sports “Killer finish”
Honorable mentions – Headlines – Ana Villarrutia; Video – Maricela Rodriguez; Investigative reporting – Emma Perez-Trevino and website.