Star’s website earns high honor; among the best in Texas

The Valley Morning Star posted its way to becoming one of the best news websites in Texas, according to judging by the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors awards association. ranked third place in the Online Newspaper of the Year category, as announced this week after the annual Texas APME awards convention, which was set for late March in San Angelo, but was cancelled because of precautions to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Overall, AIM Media Texas newspapers — including the Valley Morning Star, The Brownsville Herald, El Nuevo Heraldo, and The Monitor — earned 41 awards this past week for journalism completed in 2019. Newspapers across the state competed against other publications of similar circulation size.

“The fact that our website was received so warmly by the judges shows that our journalism stands up well against the best in the state,” Star editor Ryan Henry said. “And we are especially proud of the hard work undertaken by our newsroom to bring our community timely, trusted and accurate local news. These awards reflect the fact that our staff is doing valuable journalism that holds up against the best of the best in Texas.”

Along with the website’s prestigious honor, online editor Diana Eva Maldonado also won first place for the Star in the Video Longer than Two Minutes category.

“The photographer made a good effort with interviews and B-roll,” the judges said, remarking also on the clarity of the audio. “(The) visual moves smoothly to keep the viewer attentive.”

Judges described Star reporter Rick Kelley’s reporting as “great enterprising work,” recognizing him with a first place finish in specialty reporting. “A most interesting, well-written set of articles, presented in sprightly form,” the judges said. “The author does a great job of mixing on-the-ground narrative with facts about history and science.”

Star reporter Elsa Cavazos won an honorable mention for business reporting, examining the dual nature of Harlingen’s rankings in affordable living. “(The) story emphasized key distinctions around demographics, such as defining affordability — an ambitious stab at examining the cost of living, median income and employment.”

The Star also was recognized for its visual work, with designer Ana Villarrutia earning an honorable mention in the infographics category and designer Victor Cerda being named Designer of the Year for Class AA.

“Victor: Your A1 fronts are enlivened by your solid understanding of effective design principles: dominant centerpieces, headline treatments that match the subject in an interesting and appropriate manner, and a judicious use of color,” the judges wrote about Cerda’s winning entry.

Also from AIM Media Texas, The Brownsville Herald won a total of 15 awards, including Newspaper of the Year and Newsroom of the Year, and The Monitor won a total of 13 awards in categories as varied as news writing, sports, and photography. The region’s Spanish-language newspaper, El Nuevo Heraldo, also received seven awards for journalism and design.