STPA 'Family' to Reunite
for 2021 Convention
in Uvalde, Texas

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          The 95th annual South Texas Press Association Convention will be held in Uvalde, known as the “Crossroads to the Hill Country,” from July 29 to 31, 2021.

          Offering all the amenities of the big city with all the charm of a small town, Uvalde has plenty of opportunities for visitors to absorb some Texas history, art and nature.

          Uvalde was founded in 1855 by Reading Wood Black, a young man from New Jersey. The town was originally named Encina for the live oak trees that cover the banks of the river but the name was changed to Uvalde in 1856 to honor Spanish General Juan de Ugalde.

          We look forward to seeing all our STPA colleagues,

family and friends this summer for three days of South

Texas hospitality and Hill Country air.

          Convention registration will be held at the

Holiday Inn Express & Suites with the unofficial

headquarters being at the SSGT Willie de Leon Civic

Center (300 E. Main Street in Uvalde), with many other

events taking place at various locations around the city. All

the sites we have chosen are easy to reach.

          Convention Registration is $80 per person ($90 after

July 9) and $50 per child, age 6-12 ($60 after July 9).

          Registration is free for kids 5 and under. $75 annual

STPA membership dues must be paid before registering for the convention. For more info call Jeff Berger at (830) 426-3346 or


          Hotel reservation deadline is June 29 at $115 per night at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites on 2801 E Main Street in Uvalde. Call 830-278-7300 to reserve your room. The phone number printed in the registration form is to the international site for Holiday Inn but the one provided here is direct and you should have no trouble getting someone who knows our convention rate.

Convention Kick-Off

          The convention begins on Thursday, July 29, with the President’s Reception at 7 p.m. hosted by American Electric Power (AEP) at the Uvalde Grand Opera House, 104 W North St.. Featured will be a special performance by the Sahawe Indian Dancers, a popular dance troupe that performs throughout the country with colorful costumes and fast routines inspired by the traditions and legacies of the American and Mexican native peoples.

          Following the President’s Reception, you can join us at the Strauss Haus, which will be located at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites and will be open from 9 p.m. to midnight both Thursday and Friday. It will be sponsored by Fenice Community Media and manned by the always wonderful Rhonda Chancellor from the Pleasanton Express and her husband, Will.

Friday Activities

          Friday morning’s activities begin at the

SSGT Willie de Leon Civic Center for breakfast

with a welcome by Uvalde Mayor

Don McLaughlin Jr.

Keynote Speaker

                                    Our informational and educational sessions will                                       include keynote speaker and Pulitzer Prize-                                              winning editorial writer, columnist, reporter                                              and editor Jeffrey Gerritt. He has earned                                                    more than 60 national and state awards,                                                 including the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for editorial                                        writing.

                                        He has more than 20 years’ experience at the                                         Detroit Free Press, USA Today and The Toledo                                              Blade, and has completed dozens of                                                           enterprise and investigative projects                                                         focused on prisons, the criminal justice system, drugs, and urban issues. He also has won the Walker Stone Award from the Scripps Howard Foundation, the Burl Osborne Award for Editorial Leadership, two National Headliner Awards, three Sigma Delta Chi Awards and the Batten Medal.

          Decorated photographer Dean

Smith will provide a pair of presenta-

tions. Smith has been involved in

news photography since 1959. He

has been a photographer for the

Troy Messenger (Troy, Alabama), the

Montgomery Advertiser-Alabama

Journal (Montgomery, Alabama), the

Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Florida),

and the Beaumont Enterprise

(Texas). Additionally, he has free-

lanced for the Associated Press,

United Press International and

national newspapers and magazines.

          Smith is a professor of English

at the high school and college levels,

a former teacher at Dilley High

School and a longtime friend of the

Frio-Nueces Current, for whom he

served as photographer for many years.

          Smith has received recognition from the Alabama and Florida members of the Associated Press, the National Press Photographers Association, and the South Texas Press Association.

STPA Better Newspaper Contest

          The awards luncheon will

begin at noon and will be

catered by a local favorite.

           Melissa Perner, of the

Ozona Stockman, will

announce the winners of the

2020 STPA Better Newspaper Contest

immediately after lunch.


          Your afternoon will be free to explore Uvalde. Available attractions include the Aviation Museum of Texas at Garner Field, the Uvalde Municipal Airport at the eastern edge of town, which preserves the local and regional history of aviation and displays memorabilia and aircraft from WWII; and the Briscoe Art & Antique Collection in First State Bank of Uvalde. The collection of primarily Western art and Victorian era antiques is on display during bank hours at 200 E. Nopal St. The Janey Slaughter-Briscoe Grand Opera House downtown offers community theater productions, children’s theater and concert series, and professional talent.         


Special Awards at the Country Club

          Friday evening will find us at the Uvalde Country Club, at 407 East Garden Street, where we will have presentations of the Red Gibson and Friend of STPA awards at 6:30 p.m., dinner at 7 p.m., and music by local artist Camille Sanders.

Saturday Activities

          On Saturday morning, we will be back at the de Leon Civic Center.


STPA Business Meeting/Special Award

Our business meeting begins at 9 a.m. and is followed by brunch at 10 a.m. with a presentation by representatives of the Briscoe Art And Antique Collection, and the presentation of the Chester Evans Award.

          We hope to see you all at our convention, and we are excited to share our informative and cultural events with you in our peaceful town at the Crossroads to the Hill Country.

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Convention Registration

$80 per person, $50 per child 6-12

Free for kids 5 and younger

(Rates go up after July 9 to $90 per person, $60 per child 6-12)

*Note: $75 annual STPA membership dues for 2021 must be paid before registration for the convention.

Send to:

STPA Treasurer Jeff Berger

P.O. Box 400

Hondo, TX 78861

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Hotel Deadline - June 29, 2021



$115/night - Holiday Inn Express & Suites

2801 East Main Street, Uvalde, Texas


Dean Smith


Jeffrey Gerritt

STPA Sweepstakes Takers 2020

These are the top winners named in the last year's STPA Better Newspaper Contest, based on aggregate scores from the contest's numerous categories. To see a full list of winners, visit the Winner's Circle Page.








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Publisher Cyndy Slovak-Barton and production chief and assistant publisher, David White, accept their overall winner's plaque for the small weekly division.

Accepting the Sweepstakes - Division 2 plaque for 2020 in the large weekly division are the Rockdale Reporter's editor David Money, left, and general manager Kyle Cooke.

Last year's Division 3 sweepstakes plaque for semi-weekly papers went to the Uvalde Leader-News. On hand to accept in the back row, from left, are sports editor James Volz, photographer Pete Luna and publisher Craig Garnett; and, in front, from left, staff writer Julie Keeble, managing editor Meghann Garcia and staff writer Melissa Federspill.