NI wins 10 prizes at state awards contest

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Posted: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 8:26 am | Updated: 8:42 am, Tue Oct 2, 2012.

The Nogales International and its writers won 10 prizes at the Arizona Newspaper Association’s Better Newspapers Contest on Saturday in Scottsdale, including five awards by sports editor William Wilczeswki.

In the newspaper categories, the NI won first place in its division for editorial page excellence; second place for reporting and newswriting excellence; and third place for general excellence.

It was the second consecutive year the paper took the contest’s top editorial page prize.

The awards were given for work done from May 1, 2011 through April 30, 2012. The NI competed in a division for newspapers with circulations of 3,500 or less.

In the individual categories, Wilczewski won first place for best news story for “One border, two stories,” which dealt with boxers from Arizona and Sonora getting ready for their upcoming bouts and how their careers have been rejuvenated. He also finished first in the best sports column category for “Snowflake,” about a prep sophomore tennis player leading his winning team and how his teammates have supported him. It was his second consective top prize for sports column writing.

In addition, Wilczewski won second and third place in the sports column category for “A lot to be said about being up front,” which reflected on a coach’s big mistake and how she took the blame head-on; and “Wrestling challenge,” a humorous column about how Wilczewski was called out by a junior state wrestling champ and how he answered the call.

“Ski,” as he is commonly known, also won a third-place prize for best sports photograph with a photo of a local youth boxer getting the best of his opponent during a Western Boxing Club tournament.

Managing editor Jonathan Clark won second place in the best news feature category with “Student murders arouse a voice of protest,” a story based on a march for peace in Nogales, Sonora.

Clark also took home a third-place prize in the best news story category for “Leaders step up opposition to border-warning bill,” about a local backlash against a state legislator’s proposal to issue public alerts about dangers at the Arizona-Sonora border.

“The word pride does not sum up what I felt when I was advised of the awards for the NI,” said editor and publisher Manuel C. Coppola. “With increased budgetary pressures and tighter resources, somehow we are able to continue providing quality journalism. The Nogales International has been an important tie that binds this community since 1925 and as such, a tremendous responsibility for those of us charged with its publication and content.

“I am truly fortunate and honored to work with managing editor Jonathan Clark and sports editor William “Ski” Wilczewski. They are consummate professionals who believe in this mission and make it appear so easy. I am happy that they were recognized by ANA for the hard work that they do day in and day out.”

Freelancers and part-timers who contributed regularly to the NI’s news, sports and editorial pages during the most recent ANA contest period included Roger Conroy, Roberto Contreras, Austin Counts, Marisa Gerber, Hugh Holub, JB Miller, Curt Prendergast (now a full-time staffer), Kathy Scott, Hank Stephenson, Kathleen Vandervoet, Marcelino Varona, Jr., and Marion Vendituoli.