News-Telegram Arts Editor Mathews wins AP's top award in comment & criticism

Burney, staff also earn mentions in state's premier journalism contest

From Staff Reports

April 1, 2008 - Terry Mathews, the arts editor of the Sulphur Springs News-Telegram, took the top prize for critical reviews in this weekend's Texas Associated Press Managing Editors Headliners Excellence in Journalism competition.

Mathews earned the top award in the comment and criticism category for Texas newspapers with circulations of 10,000 or less. The division is one of the most competitive in the state, with more newspapers represented than in any other circulation category.

"This is an honor," said Mathews of winning the award. "I get paid to write about the things I love. I read books, listen to music, attend the opera and go to the theater. There aren't many small daily newspapers with an arts editor on staff. I'm fortunate to have a publisher and a managing editor who give me the freedom to explore a wide range of topics."

News-Telegram Managing Editor Bruce Alsobrook praised Mathews for her win, as well as her day-to-day journalistic efforts.

"I receive so many compliments from the public about Terry's work," he said. "She has a rare ability to interpret artistic works with a critical eye and convey her opinions without having to resort to being mean-spirited. She earned this award. She deserves this award."

News-Telegram Sports Editor Bobby "Butch" Burney was also recognized at the Texas APME contest, earning an honorable mention award for spot sports reporting.

"We're blessed to have someone of Butch Burney's immense ability on our staff," said Alsobrook. "To be recognized as one of the top three out of hundreds of entries in this category just underscores how truly talented he is."

The staff of the News-Telegram was also honored with an honorable mention in the Community Service competition, one of the most coveted categories for community newspapers. The award recognized multiple members of the newspaper staff for contributions in reporting on efforts to revitalize the city's downtown area.

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