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I am pleased to share with you this memo I sent to the staff Wednesday:


Many congratulations to all for receiving first place in the Inland Press Association front-page contest for newspapers 25,001 to 75,000 circulation.
Enjoy the comments by the judges from the Readership Institute and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University:
The Victoria Advocate consistently presents a strong, locally focused front page. Stories avoid governmental process, instead explaining impact of events and trends on readers. Writing is clear, direct and compelling. The views and voices of ordinary people are woven in almost every story, balancing the institutional and official comments.
There's a clear front-page framework, but layout varies from day-to-day, avoiding "look-alike" monotony.
The paper makes extensive use of information boxes, informational graphics, maps and breakout boxes. Navigation tools are excellent. Teaser boxes show a good sense of audience targets, are visually appealing and well written. They "sell" as well as "tell."
You don't get much better than that. You all should be proud.
Second-place went to the Rochester (MN) Post-Bulletin and third-place went to the Ann Arbor (MI) News. Yes, we competed against some very good newspapers in this national contest.
What's particularly exciting about this is how the judges emphasized the total package in this honor. Everyone in the newsroom shares in this recognition. And our readers are the big winners of your efforts.
The award will be presented during Inland's national conference Oct. 27 in Chicago.