L’Observateur named Newspaper of the Year

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 14, 1999

L’Observateur / April 14, 1999

NEW ORLEANS – L’Observateur has been named the 1998 Newspaper of the Year in its division of the Louisiana Press Association.

The newspaper received Newspaper of the Year honors at the 119th annual Louisiana Press Association Better Newspaper Awards Saturday.

At the annual convention, held at the Fairmont Hotel in New Orleans, L’Observateur also won the news-editorial Sweepstakes award, four first-place plaques, four second-place awards, 11 third-place awards and six honorable mention awards, all for work published during 1998.

L’Observateur competed against newspapers published two to four times a week, including the Bossier Press-Tribune, Denham Springs-Livingston Parish News, Ville Platte Gazette, St. Charles Herald-Guide, Eunice Newsand News-Banner of Covington.

Other Newspaper of the Year award winners are the West Side Journal of Port Allen, the Plaquemine Post/South, the Minden Press-Herald, the Houma Courier, the Alexandria Town Talk and The Advocate of Baton Rouge.

The four first-place awards for L’Observateur were presented to sportswriter Michael Kiral for best action sports photo, reporter Leonard Gray for best news story and best news photo, and to the newspaper for best website at www.lobservateur.com.Gray’s first-place news story was a report on a graduation party shooting last May which left a Destrehan High School student dead. His first-placenews photo was taken at a Reserve house fire last March, recording the reaction of a teen-age occupant of the residence.

Kiral’s first-place action sports photo showed a Destrehan High basketball player blocking a shot by an East St. John player, published Jan. 24, 1998.Kiral also won a second-place award for best sports column on a father’s day game of catch, a second-place award for best sports story on River Parishes football rivalries and published in the River Current magazine, and a third-place award for best sports story on the West St. John statechampions and their road to the top. He also received an honorable mentionfor best overall sports coverage and an honorable mention for best feature story on Riverside coach Mickey Roussel’s courageous battle with cancer.

Gray also won two awards for best continuing coverage of a single news event – a third-place and an honorable mention, for the Kaiser strike and the Shintech controversy, respectively. Gray also won a third place forbest headline writing for “Church Bogies Ormond golfers,” a third place for best continuing coverage of a governmental issue on the St. CharlesParish residential development moratorium and a second place for best feature photo. That was a picture of Allee Waguespack of Norcoperforming at the Norco Adult Day Care variety show, which was published in The River Current magazine.

Reporter Deborah Corrao won a second-place award for best feature story on the restoration of an ancient cypress boat in Des Allemands and a third-place award for best regular column, titled “Looking for the WOW.”Photographer Tommy Williams won a third-place award for best action sports photo, a picture of a Lutcher High football player sacking Plaquemine High’s quarterback during this past football season.

Former staff writer Rebecca Burk Ellis also received an honorable mention award for her photo of Keith Colon of Norco with his new puppy. Inaddition, L’Observateur columnist Lee Dresselhaus, whose columns were entered in the competition by The News Banner of Covington, received honorable mention honors in the best regular column category.

L’Observateur also received second-place honors for best newspaper design and for best editorial page, third-place and honorable mention awards for best graphic design, a third-place award for community service for River Current’s Best Along the River issue, third-place honors for general excellence in editorial content and an honorable mention for best special section (Channels).

The Newspaper of the Year award combines the total honors earned in the editorial contest and the advertising contest, held last fall. Sweepstakesawards are presented for advertising and news-editorial each year, based on a point system of individual category awards.

A total of 68 newspapers, specialty publications and university publications competed in the editorial contest, with a total of 2,019 entries submitted.

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