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CHANDLER — PinalCentral newspapers won 22 awards in the annual Better Newspapers Contest of the Arizona Newspapers Association, announced during its annual meeting on Saturday at Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino.

The Casa Grande Dispatch won third place in its division in the overall General Excellence category. Dispatch photographer Oscar Perez received two first places.

The entries were judged by members of the Nevada Press Association.

The Dispatch was judged in the division for daily newspapers under 25,000 circulation, the Maricopa Monitor in non-dailies 3,500 to 10,000 and the Coolidge Examiner, Eloy Enterprise and Florence Reminder & Blade-Tribune in non-dailies under 3,500. In a few cases, divisions were combined.

The area winners were: General Excellence, Dispatch, third; Reporting & Newswriting Excellence, Enterprise, second; Reminder, third; Dispatch, third; Departmental News & Copywriting Excellence, Reminder, third; Editorial Page Excellence, Examiner, third; Dispatch, third; Use of Photography, Monitor, third; Community Service/Journalistic Achievement, Dispatch, third; Special Section, Dispatch, third; Newspaper Website, Monitor, second; Dispatch, second.

Individual winners: Best Headline, Matt Paulson, Dispatch, third; Best News Story, Rodney Haas, Brian Wright, Dispatch, first; Best Sports Story, Joey Chenoweth, Reminder, third; Wright, Dispatch, second; Best Team, Sport or Sports Beat Coverage, Chenoweth, Examiner, second; Best Sports Column, Wright, Dispatch, second; Best Feature Story, Rofida Khairalla, Examiner, third; Best News Photograph, Perez, Dispatch, first; Best Sports Photograph, Perez, Dispatch, first and third.

The Payson Roundup and White Mountain Independent, which along with the Pinal newspapers are part of Kramer Media, won 26 awards. Keith Morris of the Roundup was named non-daily Photographer of the Year, and Alexis Bechman of the Roundup was non-daily Journalist of the Year.

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