GateHouse Media announced the winners of the Best of GateHouse 2016 for reporting, design, visual and column writing.

Alice Echo-News Journal received two awards for Best Reporter and Community Engagement Journalism.

"We competed with newspapers across the country, and it's always nice to know that we rank up there among our peers and get recognized for our journalism skills," said Ofelia Hunter, executive editor for Alice Echo-News Journal and Nueces County Record Star. "With our small staff and resources, we work hard to cover assignments and breaking news."

Police beat reporter Melissa Cantu-Trevino received first place as the 2016 Best Reporter of the Year.

Her articles on the police beat included officers promoted and pinned and articles on crime, including an escapee story.

"The reporter covers a wide range of events and issues and writes very clearly," judges commented.

Second place was Scott Lauck, Missouri Lawyers Weekly, St. Louis, Missouri and Third place went to Nate Ellis, ThisWeek Dublin Villager, Lewis Center, Ohio.

The second award was presented to Ofelia Hunter and Melissa Cantu-Trevino for second place in Community Engagement Journalism category for the paper's initiative on the election debate - Your Voice, Your Vote.

"People don't realize how much work goes into putting a large event such as a city or county debate," Hunter said. "As a community paper, we strive to engage and educate our readers."

First place was issued to the staff of The Item of Worcester, Massachusetts.

Associated Press Media Editors were the judges for the contest.

"We expected to be impressed. We expected glowing praise from judges. But we didn't expect the 2016 Best of GateHouse submissions would break records, shatter ceilings and #DoJournalismWithImpact with such ferocity," wrote Senior Vice President of News Bill Church with GateHouse Media.