SAN ANTONIO — For the third consecutive year, the Waxahachie Daily Light has earned the distinction as the best Texas daily newspaper in its division.

The Daily Light received the “Sweepstakes” award Saturday during the Texas Press Association’s 128th Better Newspaper Contest awards presented during the organization’s summer convention in San Antonio.

In earning the Sweepstakes competition, the Daily Light earned the most points (550) and also received the most awards in the most categories (nine) of competition.

The Daily Light was one of 15 newspapers competing for honors in its division, which included newspapers from across the state with 7,000 or less in circulation.

In the General Excellence category, the judges noted, “Nice mix of hard and light news. In touch with the community.”

“Winning the ‘Best in Texas’ honors once is a great accomplishment. Earning it three consecutive years, well, wow!” said Neal White, Daily Light publisher and editor. “This is a great accomplishment for the staff and for the community. We are extremely honored to be able to bring this award back to Ellis County — and hold it.”

In addition to winning the Sweepstakes award, the Daily Light received a total of nine awards for excellence in journalism and advertising, including:

First place — News photo, JoAnn Livingston Second place — Page design, Neal White and JoAnn Livingston Second place — Feature story, Eric Lidji and JoAnn Livingston Second place — Advertising Third place — Headline writing, Neal White Third place — Sports coverage, Tommy Brown and Jim Perry Third place — General Excellence Third place — Editorial writing, Neal White Fourth place — Sports photo, Neal White

Saturday’s Texas Press Association awards bring a total of 28 honors the Daily Light news team has received this year for journalism excellence.

In April the Daily Light received 14 awards during the annual North and East Texas Press Association conference held in Arlington, including “Journalist of the Year” honors for Daily Light Managing Editor JoAnn Livingston.

That same month, the Daily Light news team received five awards for journalism excellence at the Associated Press Managing Editors general membership meeting held in San Antonio.

“Every day, we work to make our readers proud,” said White. “We have an incredible staff of highly creative, dedicated people who absolutely love what they do.

“While we are honored to be recognized by our peers, the award that we cherish most is the feedback received from the folks who read our paper every day,” White said.

“While we’re absolutely thrilled at earning our third consecutive Texas Press Association Sweepstakes award, I’m most honored by the comment of the judges who noted, ‘In touch with the community.’ Day in and day out, that’s our mission — to be Ellis County’s leading source of news, information and advertising,” White said. “While our names may be on these awards for excellence in the industry, they belong to our readers because that’s who we are working to serve.”

Since 1998, the Daily Light news team has earned more than 200 press association awards for journalism excellence.