The Merced Sun-Star staff received two awards over the weekend in the 2012 Better Newspapers Contest sponsored by the California Newspaper Publishers Association.
The Sun-Star staff was honored with a second-place award in the general excellence category. The award is given for outstanding overall performance by a newspaper in a variety of areas compared with others of similar circulation.
There are four circulation sizes for daily papers. The Sun-Star competes in the 15,001 to 35,000 category.
Staff writer Joshua Emerson Smith was singled out with a certificate of achievement for his coverage of local government.
The Sun-Star staff also was honored with a first-place award for a special sports section for its "Football Preview: Showtime." The movie-themed section featured the photography of Bea Ahbeck-Casson as well as stories by sports writers Sean Lynch and Shawn Jansen.
"I'm very proud of (managing editor) Dave Hill and our entire editorial staff for their accomplishments over the past year," said Jason Cross, publisher and ad director of the Sun-Star.
"Our editorial team does a great job every day delivering quality comprehensive coverage for Merced County in print and online, and I look forward for all they will continue to do," Cross said.
The Los Banos Enterprise staff was honored with four awards for weekly newspapers with circulation of 11,000 or less.
It received two first-place awards: best layout and design -- broadsheet and best sports coverage. The Enterprise also took home two second-place awards: general excellence and sports photo.
"These awards from our peers in the news industry are certainly flattering and an affirmation of the hard work and dedication of Sun-Star and Enterprise journalists," said Joe Kieta, who oversees news operations for both McClatchy papers as editor of The Modesto Bee and senior vice president/news.
"But the ultimate judge of our performance is the reader, and we are dedicated to delivering the best product to you, whether online, on your smart phone or in print," Kieta said.
The annual contest recognizes print and multimedia journalism for daily and weekly newspapers across California.