The Waxahachie Daily Light received a number of awards Friday and Saturday for excellence in journalism.

During the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors  convention held in Galveston, Daily Light journalists received six awards from the organization in its 2008 awards contest, which is open to member newspapers throughout the state.

The Daily Light competed in the organization’s Class A daily division, open to daily newspapers with a circulation less than 10,000. Entries were judged from material published during the 2007 calendar year.

Awards presented to the Daily Light included:

• Short Features — First place honors for Daily Light Managing Editor JoAnn Livingston

• Editorial Writing — First place honors for Daily Light Editor Neal White

• Specialty Reporting — Second place honors for Livingston

• General Column Writing — Second place honors for White; honorable mention honors for Livingston.

• Feature Photography — Honorable mention honors for White.

The Daily Light staff is in the running for additional awards scheduled for presentation this morning.

“I’m very proud of our news team and want to extend my congratulations to Neal and JoAnn for their well-deserved recognition,” said Ray Pike, vice president and publisher of Waxahachie Newspapers Inc.

“Among our peers in the newspaper industry, WNI has gained a reputation as being an outstanding news organization, one synonymous with excellence in journalism,” Pike said. “We all believe the communities we serve deserve the best newspaper in the state of Texas. Neal, JoAnn and the entire WNI news team put in a great deal of time and effort in producing newspapers Ellis County can be proud of.”

During the past decade, the Daily Light news team has earned more than 200 awards for excellence in journalism from various state newspaper organizations — including the Texas Press Association “Sweepstakes” honors for the past three consecutive years denoting the best small market daily newspaper in the state of Texas. The 2008 Texas Press Association awards will be announced this summer.

Pike pointed out in the APME journalism awards presented Saturday, the Daily Light was competing not only against papers its own size, but in many cases, newspapers nearly twice as large.

“I think that speaks very highly of our news team and its commitment to excellence,” Pike added.

ATPE honors

On Friday in Austin, the Daily Light news team received the 2008 Alafair Hammett Media Award presented annually by the Association of Texas Professional Educators.

The award was established to both honor Alafair Hammett, ATPE’s first state president, and to recognize members of the media for outstanding support and coverage of public education.

The Daily Light was selected for the award among all newspapers of all sizes throughout the state of Texas.

As the largest educators’ group in Texas and largest non-union educators’ group nationwide, ATPE’s 111,000 membership consists primarily of classroom teachers but also includes administrators, paraprofessionals, college students and educators.

Pike accepted the award on behalf of the entire Daily Light staff.

“We are very honored to receive this distinguished award,” Pike said. “Our staff is deeply dedicated to providing our community — and our schools — with outstanding news coverage. To be singled out for this honor among all of our colleagues in Texas is indeed a great honor.”

Kidsville News honors

In February, Waxahachie Newspapers Inc., publisher of the Kidsville  News Ellis County, received three awards in the national Kidsville News Bright Ideas Contest, presented during the organization’s annual conference.

Awards presented to Kidsville News Ellis County were:

• Best Kidsville News Promotion Page

• Best Community Involvement Using Truman

• Best Use of Page Sponsorships for the Promotion of Education.

“The Kidsville News team agreed that the Ellis County promotion page highlighted the unique aspects of Kidsville News that make it relevant and imperative to the educational initiative,” judges noted. “Our team also felt that the Ellis County paper’s use of Truman showed a commitment to the community and a well-rounded program. Last but not least, our team agreed that the TXI concrete page showed a genuine dedication to educating our children about new topics and everyday mysteries.”

Waxahachie Newspapers Inc. launched Kidsville News in the fall of 2007.

The monthly newspaper, designed and written for elementary school children, is distributed free of charge to every elementary school in Ellis County.