Advocate journalist honored as Star Reporter in Texas

The Victoria Advocate's Gabe Semenza was honored Sunday as the top reporter in the state at the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors' annual convention.

The newspaper association recognized Semenza for a variety of work in 2009, including a special series called "The Fatal Funnel," another series on stimulus funds in the Crossroads, and a profile of former Houston Oilers' coach Bum Phillips. Earlier in the convention, Semenza was recognized as the Star Reporter in the Advocate's circulation category of 30,001-124,999.

In a ceremony Sunday, the AP judges named Semenza as the Headliners Excellence in Journalism Star Reporter for all newspaper classifications. Semenza, 35, a native of Helena, Mont., is the public service editor at the Advocate, where he has worked for four years.

"Gabe is one of the hardest working and most dedicated journalists I've ever had the privilege to work with," Advocate Editor Chris Cobler said. "We're thrilled he's been singled out from among all reporters in this great state full of so many talented journalists."

Also Sunday, the Advocate picked up several more awards in its circulation category:

Community service, first place

Team effort, first place

Best online newspaper, second place

The awards Sunday brought the Advocate's total to 21 during the convention.