The Exeter Sun's website, www.theexetersun.com, took first place for Best Website at the California Newspaper Publishers Association's (CNPA) Better Newspapers Contest for 2003.
The statewide competition announced winners at its annual convention held on July 17 aboard the Queen Mary in Long Beach, Calif.
The Exeter Sun and Lindsay Gazette newspapers launched both of their websites in November 2003 (www.lindsaygazette.com). Both websites publish on Wednesdays along with the newspaper in print. In addition to articles found in print, the website publishes obituaries and classifieds on-line. All classified ads that appear in the paper are also published on-line, giving them a much broader audience than the paper's circulation. Right now, both papers are offering a free on-line classified ad with the purchase of the same classified text printed in the paper. With several quick clicks you can submit ads on-line.
Advertisers looking for local on-line advertising space can take advantage of banner ads on both sites in addition to advertising in both print publications. Anyone interested in on-line display advertising should contact the paper's account executives at 592-3171.
The sites are also interactive. Readers can answer on-line poll questions, send letters to the editor and send e-mails to any of our departments through the websites. Forget to renew your subscription? You can do that through the sites as well. The websites will also give readers the ability to look up past articles that have been posted to the website. These archives will be searchable by topic or keywords, such as words in the headline. Other features include up-to-date world, financial, health and entertainment news and information.
"The websites enhance the newspapers to provide more access to readers in an increasingly on-demand world," Publisher Reggie Ellis said.
Exeter Sun writer Carolyn Barbre and Ellis were selected for a second place award in Public Service category for its Library Legacy series.
The same series took first place in the George F. Gruner awards for Meritorious Public Service in Journalism back in March. The Gruner awards are limited to papers published in the San Joaquin Valley.
Barbre wrote seven of the articles that ranged from commentaries to hard news to features. Ellis wrote three of the pieces including two editorials and a hard news story.
When the series started eight branch libraries were proposed to be shut because of likely budget cuts. But two months later after the Gazette published an almost non-stop crusade to keep the branches open, the county librarian's office agreed that keeping all branches open at least one day was doable.
Ellis also earned a Blue Ribbon Finalist for his editorial comment in the library series, "Saving library branches was right choice," which was published on the Opinion Page in the June 25, 2003 issue of The Sun.
The editorial applauded the Tulare County Board of Supervisors for making the difficult decision to cut library hours across the board rather than close down branches in rural communities. It also praised Tulare County Librarian Brian Lewis for remaining professional in the face of personal attacks and recognizing that the community response to preserve the libraries outweighed any fiscal savings to county government.
The certificate, signed by CNPA President Ginger Moorhouse states, "Congratulations on reaching the Blue Ribbon Finals in the 2003 CNPA Better Newspapers Contest. Your entry was among the top 10 percent that made it to this prestigious level of nearly 5,000 entries."