Daily Record file photo
Daily Record brings home 15 awards from Texas AME contest
The San Marcos Daily Record received 15 awards and several honorable mentions from the Texas Association of Managing Editors awards.
For the second year in a row, the Daily Record earned first place in the Star Reporter of the Year, Star Investigative Report of the Year and sports feature categories.
“I’m proud of the work the Daily Record produced in 2021,” Publisher Lance Winter said. “The Daily Record strives to provide San Marcans with the news that impacts their daily lives as well as produce top-notch sports coverage and features. The awards show that everyone in the newsroom aims for excellence.”
The Daily Record’s coverage spotlighting the fatal collision caused when San Marcos Police Department Sgt. Ryan Hartman, who was off-duty on June 10, 2020, crashed into a vehicle in Lockhart, killing Jennifer Miller and severely injuring Pamela Watts, was the subject of multiple awards.
Former reporter Stephanie Gates received first place for Star Investigative Report of the Year for her investigation into the fatal wreck. Managing Editor Nick Castillo received a first-place award for specialty reporting for his work following Watts’ effort to seek justice. Castillo also received second-place awards in deadline reporting and news photography for reporting on the subject.
“Gates and her colleagues at the Daily Record exemplified the purpose of investigative journalism with their reporting on a police officer who was cleared of criminal charges and returned to duty despite his involvement in a fatal traffic wreck,” a contest judge wrote. “The newspaper listened to the victim’s family when few others would, carefully verified their claims, and artfully demonstrated how the judicial system shielded an officer from the consequences of morally outrageous behavior.”
Alongside his first place in specialty reporting, Castillo was named Star Reporter of the Year. Castillo’s entries for the award included stories from 2021 on the fatal collision, remembering those lost to COVID-19, antisemitic letters littered across San Marcos, City of San Marcos employees’ involvement in a lawsuit stemming from a Biden Bus controversy in 2020, and the killing of Adil Dghoughi in Martindale.
“This package is stitched together with a clear thread: accountability and public service,” a judge wrote.
Castillo also received third-place honors for Designer of the Year, headline writing and deadline reporting.
Sports Editor Drew King received first and second place awards in the sports feature category. His features on Texas State football player Troy Lefeged Jr. and Bobcat softball player Sara Vanderford earned him the accolades.
Winter received a second-place honor in the feature category for his story “Finding Diego,” highlighting former San Marcos Mayor Daniel Guerrero’s journey to find his missing tortoise.
Winter also received honorable mentions for Star Photojournalist of the Year and feature photography.
Kennedy Taylor, who worked as an intern for the Daily Record’s sports department, received third place for the Celeste Williams Star Sportswriter of the Year award. Sports correspondents Deshaun Hartley and Kristen Cordani as well as King all received honorable mentions for Star Sportswriter of the Year.
Staff reporter Alyssa Gonzales, Winter and Castillo teamed up to receive second place for Star Breaking News Report of the Year for their coverage of a swift-water rescue following heavy rainfall in October 2021.
The Daily Record staff received a second place award for team effort for its coverage of Winter Storm Uri.
The Daily Record placed third for Newsroom of the Year.
“Our newsroom continues to strive for excellence while keeping the San Marcos community in the know,” Castillo said. “I’m proud of all the awards won over the weekend. While awards are great, knowing that we make an impact on our community with our dedication to accountability and public service is a far greater reward.”
The Daily Record competes in the Texas AME Awards’ Division I, which consists of newspapers across the state with a Sunday circulation of 9,999 or fewer.
To see the full list of award winners visit: https://www.tapmecontest.org/winners/.