Arizona Press Club announces the winners of the annual design categories

Community Front-Page layout/design

Judge – Andrea Zagata, a page designer for the New York Times.

First: John Layton, Arizona Capitol Times

Comments: “A visual interesting way to show a story with what I can only assume was very limited art options.”

Second: Sam Gross, Arizona Daily Wildcat

Comments: “This page is visually interesting but would benefit from fewer elements, as there are lots of elements competing.”

Community non-deadline layout/design

Judge – Andrea Zagata, a page designer for the New York Times.

First: Sam Gross, Arizona Daily Wildcat

Comments: “An easy-to-follow timeline designed in an interesting way. This is something a reader will want to pick up and spend some time investigating.”

Second: John Layton, Arizona Capitol Times

Comments: “This has so much on it that it is hard to follow at times. It is extremely ambitious as a project and offers lots of different entry points for the reader, but is a little overwhelmingly and would benefit from some simplification of design elements.”

Statewide Page One layout/design

Judge – Matt Swaney, design director of The Denver Post

First Place: Alexa Hayes, Arizona Republic

Comments: “Cool concept and illustration to explain quickly a complex political topic.”

Second Place: Aviva Loeb,  Arizona Republic

Comments: “A well-thought out photo edit. Smart choice for layout and headline structure to get important information in display type and conveyed to readers quickly.”

Third Place: Aviva Loeb,  Arizona Republic

Comments: “A smart primer on Hannukah. Clever use of small icons that are all matching in style. A good choice to limit the color palette to help hold all the small elements together in a unified display.”

Statewide non-deadline layout/design

Judge – Matt Swaney, design director of The Denver Post

First PlaceAviva Loeb,  Arizona Republic/  AZ Central Sports

Comments: “Wonderful illustration with a smart quiz. A fun and interesting way to preview the Olympics and overcome that challenges of trying to arrange studio shots for all the athletes or combining photos of different athletes and their events. Very smart and well executed.”

Second Place:  Becca Gaujardo,  AZ Central Sports

Comments: “Clever use of typography and various pullout information to create an informative and engaging display.”

No third place award was given in this category.

Statewide tabloid/magazine cover design

Judge – Matt Swaney, design director of The Denver Post

First Place: Tom Carlson, Phoenix New Times

Comments: Well done photo illustration that works in sync with display type.”

Second Place:  Becca Gaujardo,  Arizona Republic

Comments: Interesting photo illustration, combining elements of several images.”

No third place award was given in this category.

Statewide multi-page design

Judge – Frank Mina, design director for the Seattle Times

First: Maria Camou, Arizona Daily Star

Comments: This entry’s consistent, clean design uses its visual elements to great effect. The package captures the differences and similarities of the cities along the U.S.-Mexican border using charts, photographs and maps which compliment the narrative.”

No second place or third place awards were given.

Statewide illustration, drawn

Judge – Frank Mina, design director for the Seattle Times

First: Tom Carlson, Phoenix New Times

Comments: “This illustration draws inspiration  from 1950s pulp magazine covers which is a smart approach for a “scandalous” story like Sugar U. The artist captures the pulp style well with lurid colors and shocked/disapproving passersby watching  the coed and sugar daddy with mouths agape.”

Second: Chiara Bautista, Arizona Daily Star

Comments: “It is the subtle touches in this illustration that really convey the point of the story. The small children are depicted as wide-eyed and carefree enjoying a read upon a brightly colored merry-go-round. Replacing the usual carousel horses with books is clever as is the pen nib as final  to top the whole thing off. Well done.

ThirdChiara Bautista, Arizona Daily Star

Comments:The variation on the tiny cactus theme in these emojis is delightful. The Dia de los Muertos and Thanksgiving emojis are particular favorites. The addition of local landmarks like Hotel Congress and Fox Theater are nice touches.”

Statewide illustration, photo-based

Judge – Frank Mina, design director for the Seattle Times

First: Tom Carlson, Phoenix New Times

Comments: “The use of toy soldiers for this story was a creative solution that takes a visual cliche and makes it fresh by using the green soldiers as background and red and white soldiers to form the medic symbol.”

SecondRachel van Blankenship, Arizona Republic

Comments: “This illustration goes beyond the handout images that come with theatrical reviews. Smart use of vintage newspages to create the industrial New York backdrop for the cast of the show. Simple and well executed.”

ThirdRachel van Blankenship, Arizona Republic

Comments: “A simple solution using an image of Shakespeare most people  are familiar juxtoposed with the ghoulish image of a skull.”

Announcing the winners of the 2016 news writing contest, community division (updated)

The Arizona Press Club is proud to announce the winners in the Community category of the 2016 Writing and Design Competition.

Community investigative reporting

Judge Andy Hall is the executive director of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism and was a judge for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting.

First: Hank Stephenson, Arizona Capitol Times

Comments: “This investigation made great use of public records, including calendars and mileage reimbursements along with Internet searches to show the high-spending ways of Arizona’s House speaker David Gowan. It brought about real change, including new policies at the Capitol and thousands in reimbursements from Gowan, whom the Capitol Times showed clearly misused taxpayer-funded vehicles, staff and his own position to enrich himself and to support his run for Congress. No doubt the digging by the Arizona Capitol Times contributed to the candidate’s low favorability among voters, which forced him to abandon his campaign.”

Second: Joshua Bowling, Cronkite News

Comments: “This investigation showed what happens when regulators and private water operators ignore their core responsibilities. The people of Parker, Arizona are stuck with expensive water that is unfit to drink. And when a major problem arose — a multi-day loss of water during an intense heat wave — the owner and his Costa Rican call center were unreachable. This investigation should prompt further inquiry into the quality of Arizona’s private water systems.”

Third: Evan Wyloge, Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting

Comments: “This story was an interesting, behind-the-scenes peek at the bare knuckles strategies employed by Arizona Public Service as it seeks to keep the solar industry from expanding in one of the states best suited for this renewable energy source.”

Community public service journalism

Judge Jennifer Berry Hawes is a projects writer for The Post and Courier who worked on a Pulitzer Prize-winning team. She also has won a George Polk Award,

National Headliner Award and an ASNE Award for Local Accountability Reporting and is a past South Carolina Journalist of the Year.

First: Evan Wyloge, Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting

“It’s hard to beat this entry for sheer ingenuity. Great idea and fantastic execution on Twitter. And who could resist something called a Dark Money Bot?”

Second: Rachel Leingang, Arizona Capitol Times

“These stories help readers understand the complexities of solar energy and their utility rate increases, no easy feat.”

Third: Hank Stephenson, Arizona Capitol Times

“Only a reporter who knows this beat well could spot this story. Excellent spotting of a story right in front you that would be easy to miss.”

Honorable Mention: Rachel Leingang, Arizona Capitol Times

“This story provides an interesting look at TANF limitations with an especially nice example of how it affected an abused woman and her children.”

Community breaking news

Judge Jack Leonard is editor for police, courts and crime at the Los Angeles Times.

First: Luige del Puerto and Rachel Leingang, Arizona Capitol Times; “Miscalculations quickly became apparent as voters lined up at the polls.”

Comments: “Del Puerto and Leingang ably captured the chaos and frustration that marked voting in the presidential primary in Maricopa County. Their story used a wealth of statistics to simply explain how the problems were the result of confusion among independent voters who didn’t realize they were not allowed to vote and miscalculations by election officials who severely underestimated how many voters would show up at the polls.”

Second: Adam Gaub, Pinal Central; “Pair of local men spring into action during massive SR 347 wreck.”

Comments: “Gaub showed what can be done when a reporter gets to the scene of the news quickly enough. He scored interviews with two heroic Good Samaritans to produce a compelling deadline account of a horrific freeway accident that went beyond a regular accident story by showing how the event underscores the need to improve highways in Maricopa to meet the needs of a growing city.”

Third: Rachel Leingang, Arizona Capitol Times; “Catherine Miranda defeats stepdaughter in LD27 Senate race.”

Comments: “Rachel’s lede said it all: ‘The family reunion might be a little awkward this year.’ From that funny and inviting start, this short-but-sweet piece ably charts the result of the intra-family election battle, providing important context about campaign finance and the candidates’ family history.”

Community public safety reporting

Judge Shoshana Walter covers human trafficking and public safety for Reveal, part of the Center for Investigative Reporting. She won the 2015 Livingston Award for Young Journalists for national reporting and a John Jay/Harry Frank Guggenheim fellow in criminal justice journalism.

First: Justin Price, Brandon Quester and Evan Wyloge, Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting

Comments: “A chilling story about a horrific murder case. The reporters made great use of public records, sources and interviews and composed a vivid narrative that was hard to put down.”

Second: Paulina Pineda, Nogales International

Comments: “Great local watchdog reporting. Pineda raised important questions about alleged racial profiling of Mexican drivers — traffic stops that have led to gigantic leaps in revenue.”

Third: Terri Jo Neff, Cochise County Record

Comments: “Neff’s reporting shed light on abuses of power in the Cochise county criminal justice system. Neff shows a good command of complicated court filings and proceedings.”

Community political reporting

Judge Allison Wisk is the California politics editor for the Los Angeles Times.

First: Evan Wyloge, Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting

Comments: “Wyloge’s work tracking the flow of dark money in Arizona campaigns is an invaluable service to voters in the state. With the Dark Money bot and its accompanying stories, he showed how central data reporting is to journalism by cracking open and simplifying access to campaign finance information for readers.”

Second: Evan Wyloge, Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting

Comments: “Wyloge’s use of data reporting to explain how voters removed firebrand Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio from office turns any assumption about the election on its head. Through precinct-level voting data, Wyloge provides a cogent analysis of out how Arpaio — whose long time in the post helped him cultivate a national profile thought to have made him bulletproof among conservatives — had lost the race thanks to an erosion of support in Republican-leaning areas.”

Third: Cindy Yurth, Navajo Times

Comments: Yurth’s coverage of redistricting and voter access issues in San Juan County sharply brings into focus allegations of Diné voter disenfranchisement due to redistricting and a host of poll access issues that often confront tribal members. Her thoughtful reporting provides crucial information to people living in the Four Corners area.”

Community government reporting

Judge Chris Megerian covers Gov. Jerry Brown, the budget, climate change legislation and state government for the Los Angeles Times.

First: Erica L. Lang, Cronkite News

Comments: “This was a comprehensive examination of a serious problem that had gone unaddressed by government officials. It fulfills an important watchdog role with a solid mix of anecdote and data.”

Second: Evan Wyloge, Sarah Jarvis, Justin Price Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting

Comments: “The investigation included an impressive use of new data tools to analyze legislation. It’s a good reminder that lawmakers aren’t always making the laws they’re passing.”

Third: Colleen Keane, Navajo Times

Comments: “This was a good example of ground-level community journalism, shining a light on problems that aren’t being addressed by political leaders.”

Community health reporting

Judge Jordan Rau, a senior correspondent for Kaiser Health News, was honored for beat reporting by the Association of Healthcare Journalists. His stories have been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, USA TODAY, Philadelphia Inquirer, Politico, and on npr.org and nbcnews.com, among other media outlets.

First: Rachel Leingang, Arizona Capitol Times

Comments: “Leingang produced a strong profile of a less heralded group of pot smokers: people in their 50s and older. Her look at this demographic slice of medical marijuana users was refreshing and well told.”

Second: Kendal Blust, Nogales International

Comments: “Blust went beyond the typical medical tourism story to show how Mexican dentists were siphoning off American patients and how the loss was affecting Arizona dentists. Both sides of the border were portrayed fairly.”

Third: Ben Giles, Arizona Capitol Times

Comments: “Giles provided balanced coverage of statehouse issues. His look at how a fight over the regulation of municipal employee benefits hinged on the interpretation of one word was particularly sharp.”

Community environmental reporting

Judge Josephine Marcotty, environmental reporter for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, was honored for beat reporting in 2016 by the Society of Environmental Journalists.

First: Debbie Weingarten,  edible Baja Arizona.

Comments: “It’s a counterintuitive story about the hidden  power of women farmers, and the crucial role they are playing in Arizona’s  sustainable agriculture.  And it’s beautifully written, telling the stories of  strong characters in a strong landscape.”

Second: Murphy Woodhouse, Nogales International.

Comments: “Does an excellent job of describing the scope and cost of a serious environmental problem in one county.”

Third: Rachel Leingang, Arizona Capitol Times.

Comments: “An unexpected piece about the complexity and promise of a novel conservation solution.”

Community science reporting

Judge Colin Woodard of Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram Was a finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting for a compelling account of dramatic ecological changes occurring in the warming ocean region from Nova Scotia to Cape Cod.

First: Miquel Otarola, Cronkite News

Comments: “A solid, on-the-scene profile of a local research project with global implications.”

Second: Terry Bowman, Navajo Times

Comments: “Bowman went out in the field, captured the scene, and filed a local follow-up to a breaking national science story on a tight deadline.”

Third: Jim Nintzel, Tucson Weekly

Comments: “A readable in-depth profile on a locally-sourced deep space research project.”

Community social issues reporting

Judge Halle Stockton, managing editor of PublicSource, was a 2016 finalist for the Livingston Awards for Young Journalists for a series on psychotropic drugs prescribed to juvenile offenders. She also won a 2015 Sigma Delta Chi award for a story about a couple who both have cerebral palsy.

First: Arielle Zionts, Nogales International

Comments: “This is an engaging piece and succeeds at educating the reader about the issues faced by people with a language and disability barrier. I also appreciate the barriers the reporter must have had to get this
story, and it’s important for journalists not to let that hold us back from telling these stories.”

Second: Katie Campbell, PinalCentral/Casa Grande Dispatch

Comments: “This reporter has a knack for taking timely issues and elevating her coverage of them to include powerful narrative, information from data and records and, even in the face of topics that can cause despair, she offers what stakeholders and the community can do in response in a responsible, professional way.”

Third: John Washington, Edible Baja Arizona
Comments: “John Washington’s Sweat Vinaigrette piece not only paints a picture with vivid writing but touches on extremely pertinent issues of agriculture, labor, automation and immigration in a way that never gets wonky. I love that it takes readers to a place where they would never normally get to go either.”

Community education reporting

Judge Cara Fitzpatrick, a reporter with the Tampa Bay Times, was part of a team that won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for local reporting for exposing a local school board’s culpability in turning some county schools into failure factories, with tragic consequences for the community.

First: Megan Kimble, Edible Baja Arizona

Comments: “It was an interesting window into the world of getting ‘Farm-to-School’ food into school cafeterias.”

No second or third place awarded.

Community immigration reporting

Judge Mark Fazlollah, immigration reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer, has won national awards including a George Polk Award and the National Association of Black Journalists’ award for investigative reporting. He has been a reporter in Mexico for United Press International and a Latin America correspondent for the Daily Telegraph of London.

First: Staff, Cronkite News

Comments: “The Cronkite News staff articles hit all the bases, providing video interview in both English and Spanish, attractive graphics and well written stories about the polling of 1,427 people on both sides of the border.”

Second: Paulina Pineda, Nogales International
Comments: “Paulina Pineda gave an important voice to Central American women searching for missing relatives.”

Third: Kendal Blust, Nogales International
Comments: “Kendal Blust’s stories on Haitian migrants stuck on the border was well-written, giving a real sense of the difficulties their faced. The articles clearly described their travels from the Caribbean and through Latin American, only to be stalled in Nogales, Sonora. “

Community business reporting

Judge Kimi Yoshino is the business editor of the Los Angeles Times. At the Times, she helped to report on the Bell corruption scandal, which won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize Gold Medal for Public Service.

First: Megan Kimble, Edible Baja Arizona

Comments First person is difficult to pull off, but Megan Kimble nails it in this Edible Baja Arizona piece that actually tells two stories. It’s both an explainer on equity crowdfunding and a profile of a local brewery. This was an effective way to get people interested in equity crowdfunding – as a potential investor and as a business owner. There’s a lot of reporting and detail packed into this story, but the lively writing had me about ready to whip out my checkbook.

 Second: Steve Totten, Phoenix Business Journal 

Comments: Steven Totten reports that a movie about the deadly Yarnell Hill fire in Arizona is actually being filmed in New Mexico. Totten leaves no angle unexplored in this package of  Phoenix Business Journal stories about film tax credits. As someone who has read (and edited) a number of stories about film tax credits, I appreciated the depth of reporting, the myriad examples and the rich history of filming in Arizona.”

Community sports beat reporting

Judge Angel Rodriguez is the sports editor of the Los Angeles Times.

First: Ezra Amacher, Arizona Daily Wildcat

Comments: “Well-crafted and vivid coverage of the University of Arizona’s baseball team. Highlight was feature on their trip to Omaha. Crips writing throughout.”

Second: Brad Allis, Marana News

No comments submitted.

Third:  Christopher Boan, The Sahuarita Sun

No comments submitted.

Community sports feature reporting

Judge Angel Rodriguez is the sports editor of the Los Angeles Times.

First:  Christoper Boan, The Sahuarita Sun

Comments: “Deeply reported feature that brought to life the protagonist. The story never dragged and was compelling throughout. Well done. “

Second:  Brad Allis, Marana News

Coaching legend inspired kids, grandkids and many others

Third: Nick Krueger,  Cronkite News

Comments: “Despite grandfather’s CTE, Stabler’s grandsons carry on family’s football legacy”

Community sports investigative reporting

No awards.

Community sports column writing

Judge Geoff Calkins writes columns and opinion for Memphis and the Mid-South for The Commercial Appeal.

First: Brad Allis, Marana News

No comments submitted.

Second: Adam Gaub,  PinalCentral

No comments submitted.

Third: Justin Spears,  Arizona Daily Wildcat

No comments submitted.

Community column writing

Judge David Cook, metro columnist with the Chattanooga Times, won the 2016 ASNE Mike Royko Award for Commentary Writing.

Royko†Award†for†Commentary†WritingÆ

First: Bill Coates, Casa Grande Dispatch

Comments: “Bill Coates’s columns are powerfully rooted in the pains and joys of everyday life. From a roadside tragedy – and the one survivor who somehow lived – to the eternal bond of brothers to the politics of smoking, Coates writes with wisdom and precision about the sweetness, suffering and impermanence of ordinary life. Not the rich and famous, but the rest of us.”

Second: Cindy Yurth, Navajo Times

No comments submitted.

Third: Bill Donovan, Navajo Times

No comments submitted.

Community editorial writing

Judge Andrew Green is part of the Baltimore Sun team that was a finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in editorial writing.

First: Jonathan Clark, Nogales International

Comments:  The editorial argues an essential point – the need for diligence and transparency in the investigation of police-involved shootings – and marshals as evidence both some well known cases from around the country but also a detailed examination of several in Arizona. Particularly commendable is the author’s use of the NI’s original reporting on the topic but also that of other newspapers in the region to make his points.”

No second place or third place awards were given.

Community personality profile

Judge Carrie Seidman is a 2016 winner of the Society for Features Journalism Award for Features Series or Project Award and took second place in Feature Writing Specialty Portfolio. She is a reporter for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and just wrapped up a Carter Center fellowship focusing on mental illness.

First: Brian Smith, Tucson Weekly

Comments: “Full of arresting details, colorful language and nuance. A fascinating subject, intricately revealed.”

Second: Megan Kimble, Edible Baja Arizona

Comments: “The goal of a good profile is to make the person in question come alive in a way that leaves readers longing to meet or hate the subject. After reading this I was ready to show up at Suzana Davila’s restaurant and put myself entirely in her hands.”

Third: Debbie Weingarten, Edible Baja Arizona

Comments: “The connection of a young boy’s early memories in the kitchen with his mother to his life’s passion, told via well-connected and revealing stages.”

Community human interest writing

Judge Staci Sturrock is a senior content editor and copywriter for the ad agency Ideabar. She previously worked as a reporter for the Palm Beach Post and won first place in the Society for Feature Journalism Awards 2016 for Feature Specialty Writing Portfolio and third place in Short Feature.

First: Megan Kimble, Edible Baja Arizona

Comments: “Right out of the gate, this lovingly tended story is a winner. The first several paragraphs read like the opening of a good novel. The reporter writes with an impressive authority. And while the story is packed with facts of how these women are changing the face of farming, it’s the personal stories of the farmers that sing. Great storytelling.”

Second: Rebecca Brisley, State Press

Comments: “This is a well-researched, wide-ranging and nicely balanced takeout on a herd of horses that everyone seems to have an opinion on. The sourcing is thorough, and I enjoyed how the writer described both the horses and her visits to the Coon Bluff area with the people she was interviewing. Anything you want to know about the Salt River Horses is in this article.”

Third: Kendal Blust, Nogales International

Comments: “I’m still thinking about the young man sitting at the back of the migrant center after breakfast. Really nice job of using his situation to discuss such a multifaceted issue. The story is nicely contained (it doesn’t try to do too much) but also includes just the right touch of state and national statistics to put things in perspective locally. Kudos on extracting so many details about Carlos’ flight and plight during your interview with him.”

Community short-form writing

First: Katie Bieri, Cronkite News

Comments: “Bieri’s story is light and off-beat, traits too often overlooked by reporters hell-bent on finding the next #scandal that will expose an elected official. To be sure, big, front-page, inverted pyramid stories are the lifeblood of print journalism. But we’re not living in an apocalypse — at least, we aren’t as I write this. Fingers crossed! Anyway, back to Bieri’s story. She found a fun topic and avoided the common trap for an off-beat story: slacking on the reporting end. Here, she shows up to the office and talks to Rep. Schweikert and his staff as if this were any other news story. She was alert to find out when and why Schweikert started bringing dogs to work. Plus, extra points for getting the names of the dogs.”

Second: Christopher S. Pineo, Navajo Times 

Comments: “Editors, professor and salty old reporters will give you plenty of tips as a budding journalist: know what you talk about BEFORE you get to an interview, adjectives are worse than swear words, get the name of the dog. (I know; I know; see above.) But the most important part of journalism is finding access to the right people. This part is hard to teach. It requires a sense of empathy, understanding which people are most affected by an issue. Here, Pineo nails it. He finds Jessie Carabajal the day after the worst day of her life. Pineo allows her to tell her story. Importantly, he doesn’t get in her way. He gives her room to talk through what happened, what she saw, how she felt. And she gives us, the readers, room to feel with Carabajal.”

Community arts criticism

Judge Amy Biancolli is the arts writer and columnist for The Times Union in Albany, NY. She won first place in the Arts and Entertainment Commentary Portfolio category in the 2016 Society for Features Journalism awards and has published two books.

First: Margaret Regan, Tucson Weekly

Comments: “Authoritative and terrifically written with lively, sexy cheek. She praises the artists for portraying the nude in a manner ‘clear-eyed and without apology,’ and she does the same.” 

Second: Sherilyn Forrester, Tucson Weekly

Comments:I enjoyed this for its nuance and balance (a mixed review is, I think, the hardest to write by far) and for its insights into the nature of playwriting. A great read, and an interesting one.” 

Third: Cindy Yurth, Navajo Times

Comments: “I admired the light touch in this one. It paints a portrait of a Navajo classical pianist — his background and his music — with concision, color and humor.”

Community arts reporting

Judge Rashod Ollison is a reporter for The Virginian-Pilot, covering entertainment, music, pop culture and other features. He won first place in the Arts and Entertainment Feature category in the 2015 Society for Features Journalism awards and third place in Arts and Entertainment Commentary Portfolio.

First: Becky Bartkowski, Phoenix News Times

Comments: “Informative and lively coverage of the art scene. “The 100 Creatives You Should Know …” piece was smart and essential.”

No second place or third place awards were given.

Community food and beverage reporting

Judge Hanna Raskin is the food editor and chief critic for The Post & Courier in South Carolina.

First: John Washington, Edible Baja Arizona
Comments: “Well-researched and comprehensive survey of state’s craft beer scene, with enough specific details and humanity to engage readers.”

No second place or third place awards were given.

Community headline writing

Judge Sara Ziegler is the treasurer of the American Copy Editors Society and deputy features editor for the Omaha World-Herald

FirstLee Shappell, Scottsdale Airpark News 

Comments: “This entry uses wordplay in a clever way that ultimately serves the story. These aren’t puns for puns’ sake. “Hundred-buck ground chuck” is the kind of headline that doesn’t just make you want to read the story — it makes you feel like you’ll be missing out if you don’t.”

Second: Phyllis Braun, Arizona Jewish Post

Comments: “These headlines are straightforward and evocative. “Lebanese, Christian, gay — and fully Israeli” paints a full picture of a complicated person in just six words, and it tells readers of the Arizona Jewish Post exactly why they should care.”

3: Michael Rinker (#1) — The star of this entry is “A fungi you can take a lichen to.” I actually laughed out loud. No matter how you feel about puns, when you have the opportunity to use a lichen pun, you have to take it.

Winners: 2016 Arizona Press Club annual student award winners

The Arizona Press Club is proud to announce the statewide student winners of the 2016 Writing Awards.

Judge Sandy Banisky is the former deputy managing editor of The Baltimore Sun and the  Abell Professor in Baltimore Journalism at the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism.

Student investigative reporting

First: Staff,  News21

“Comprehensive reporting on the myriad barriers that face Native Americans who want to vote.  The text is paired with breathtaking photos and imaginative graphics in a digital presentation that is a pleasure to read.”

Second: Joshua Bowling, Cronkite News

“Strong reporting and writing built atop data, plus clean graphics, show how addiction has spread to the suburbs, taxing emergency rooms.  The subject is not new, but this package shows the depth and reach of the crisis locally.”

Third: Jacob Goldstein, The State Press. Diversity without Inclusion

“Racism  and xenophobia are old stories.  But in this article the reporter catalogues recent incidents of bias and interviews a variety of people to show how unwelcoming a campus can be.  With very interesting graphics and an interactive.”

Student news reporting

First: Chris McCrory, The State Press

“With Tweets, photos and video, a terrific deadline story on a contentious issue. The text captures the drama of the moment and the distress of the protesters”.

Second: Christianna Silva, Arizona Daily Star

“This story goes beyond the government process to talk with the people who explain the need and the concerns raised by residents.”

Third: Ethan Millman, The State Press

“A good exploration, through text and graphics, of a problem facing the campus: how to conserve water.”

Student features reporting

First: Sarah Jarvis, Cronkite News

“Well-reported look at problems facing a European minority in a nation that has moved to the right. With strong writing and lovely photos.”

Second: Alexa D’Angelo, The State Press

“A terrific look at the romance and mystery surrounding a Western theme: the search for treasure. An interesting bar chart captures how many people put themselves at risk in search of gold.”

Third: Savanah Yaghsezian, The State Press
“An exploration of the problems and benefits of building new houses for fraternities and sororities on campus. The article  doesn’t shy away from the issues surrounding Greek life.  It gives the reader background as it addresses the concerns of the university and police. And it gives advocates their say.”

Student sports reporting

First: Joe Jacquez, The State Press

“A lively look at how analytics work in this sport. The writer manages to convey the coach’s enthusiasm as she tries a new approach and watches her team improve.”

Second: Logan Newman, Cronkite News

“A well-told tale, taking the reader through Colangelo’s career and his impact on the Olympic team.”

Third: Kendall Valenzuela, The State Press

“The powerful life story  of an athlete who came from poverty.  With photos that capture her exuberance.”

Announcing the winners of the 2016 news writing contest, statewide (updated)

The Arizona Press Club is proud to announce the statewide winners of the 2016 Writing Awards.

The Don Bolles Award for Investigative Reporting

Judge Dee Hall is the co-founder of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.

First: Caitlin Schmidt, Arizona Daily Star

Comments: “This story involved true shoe leather investigative reporting. It started out as a tip that the Pima County Sheriff’s Office had given a sweetheart deal to the niece of a high level official. Through digging by the Arizona Daily Star, what appeared to be small case of wrongdoing ballooned into criminal charges alleging that Chief Deputy Christopher Radtke and others in the sheriff’s office had illegally misused hundreds of thousands of dollars in money seized from criminals for non-law enforcement purposes. This is classic investigative journalism at its finest!”

Second: Craig Harris, Arizona Republic

Comments: “Like the winner in this category, this investigation began as a story of state employee fired under egregious circumstances as she struggled to recover from cancer treatment. Several public records requests later, the Arizona Republic uncovered a major scandal in the firing of state employees without cause in several agencies, most particularly the Department of Juvenile Corrections and the Department of Economic Security. Gov. Doug Ducey,
who had ordered officials to whittle down the state workforce, ended up firing secretaries of both agencies and instituting new safeguards for employees targeted for termination.”

Third: Hank Stephenson, Arizona Capitol Times

Comments: “This investigation made great use of public records, including calendars and mileage reimbursements along with Internet searches to show the high-spending ways of Arizona’s House speaker David Gowan. It brought about real change, including new policies at the Capitol and thousands in reimbursements from Gowan, whom the Capitol Times showed clearly misused taxpayer-funded vehicles, staff and his own position to enrich himself and to support his run for Congress. No doubt the digging by the Arizona Capitol Times contributed to the candidate’s low favorability among voters, which forced him to abandon his campaign.”

Statewide public service journalism

Judge Jennifer Berry Hawes is a projects writer for The Post and Courier who worked on a Pulitzer Prize-winning team. She also has won a George Polk Award, National Headliner Award and an ASNE Award for Local Accountability Reporting and is a past South Carolina Journalist of the Year.

First: Dennis Wagner, Michael Clow and Craig Harris, Arizona Republic

“This impressive investigation reveals the shameful mismanagement of housing funds that should be helping people in need.  To Build A Home provides readers impressive breadth of reporting and includes compelling personal portraits that round out the numbers nicely.”

Second: Ricardo Cano and Caitlin McGlade, Arizona Republic

“This user-friendly investigation raises important red flags for parents who rely on their school system to transport children safely. The searchable database is especially helpful and engages readers so they understand the project’s methodology and how to use the data themselves.”

Third: Staff, Arizona Daily Star

“After hearing so much about Trump’s wall, this project provided very helpful explanations of what exists along the border, in terms of man-man or natural impediments, to curb illegal crossings. It makes great use of state-by-state information and interactive graphics that break down information by sector.”

Statewide breaking news

Judge Jack Leonard is editor for police, courts and crime at the Los Angeles Times.

First: Emily Bregel, Arizona Daily Star; “Officials look into reports of Pima County voting problems.”

Comments: “Bregel put together a superb election day story that raised serious questions about whether many Pima County voters had been prevented from casting ballots in the presidential primary. The fact she was able to do the necessary reporting on a daily deadline to simply explain how this could have happened was hugely impressive.”

Second: Craig Harris, Robert Anglen and Anne Ryman, Arizona Republic; “Navy SEAL Charlie Keating, Arcadia grad and grandson of Charles Keating, killed in Iraq.”

Comments: “The story was a beautifully written and comprehensive tribute to a young man killed while serving in Iraq in the war against Islamic State. The profile managed to capture Keating’s personality and chronicle his accomplishments while also sensitively handling his family link to his notorious grandfather.”

Third: Megan Cassidy and Kaila White, Arizona Republic; “2 girls who died in murder-suicide at Independence High School were friends.”

Comments: “Despite authorities releasing little information about the deaths, Cassidy and White captured the heartbreak of a teenage couple killed in a murder-suicide on campus, using interviews with the aunt of one victim and friends of the pair to paint a vivid portrait of one of the victims as well as the impact on fellow students while on a tight deadline.”

Statewide public safety reporting

Judge Shoshana Walter covers human trafficking and public safety for Reveal, part of the Center for Investigative Reporting. She won the 2015 Livingston Award for Young Journalists for national reporting and a John Jay/Harry Frank Guggenheim fellow in criminal justice journalism.

First: Megan Cassidy, Arizona Republic

Comments: “Cassidy’s cogent reporting went beyond typical crime coverage to examine a system that has failed many. In a series of stories, she explained in clear and convincing detail how bail, court and traffic fines disproportionately impact the poor. In another story, she also raised important questions about the ties between a county attorney’s anti-marijuana activism and a court diversion program that was funneling millions back into his office. A fascinating read with good use of public records and data.”

Second: Perla Trevizo, Arizona Daily Star

Comments: “Excellent reporting on the illegal trafficking and use of fentanyl. Trevizo wrote clearly and concisely about this poorly understood problem, peppering her story with helpful data and human tragedies that made the problem palpable.”

Third: Yihyun Jeong, Arizona Republic

Comments: “Meticulous beat reporting on a high profile police shooting and the background of the officer involved. Jeong made good use of public records and public records law, pushing the department to release records they had incorrectly withheld.”

Statewide political reporting

Judge Allison Wisk is the California politics editor for the Los Angeles Times.

First: Yvonne Wingett Sanchez, Arizona Republic

Comments: “Sanchez’s coverage of the controversy surrounding work done by the governor’s administration to garner support for Proposition 123, the measure’s squeaker of a victory at the ballot box and how it all unfolded is the type of compelling storytelling that is desperately needed in state political journalism. It’s accountability journalism at its best — and it gives readers a real sense of what a lack of transparency in government looks like.”

Second: Evan Wyloge, Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting

Comments: “Wyloge’s work tracking the flow of dark money in Arizona campaigns is an invaluable service to voters in the state. With the Dark Money bot and its accompanying stories, he showed how central data reporting is to journalism by cracking open and simplifying access to campaign finance information for readers.”

Third: Richard Ruelas, Arizona Republic

Comments: “Ruelas’ coverage sends up a chill. It’s a cautionary tale of what could happen if state political reporters don’t keep a watchful eye on government officials’ compliance with open records, open meeting laws and other transparency issues. Without reporting of this kind, the ability to hold those in power accountable is in question and press freedom is at risk.

Statewide government reporting

Judge Chris Megerian covers Gov. Jerry Brown, the budget, climate change legislation and state government for the Los Angeles Times.

First: Paul Giblin, Arizona Republic

Comments: “This investigation checked all the boxes, with an eye-opening look at one councilman’s malfeasance that was grounded in a broad analysis of the issue. The story was impressive in its level of detail and the clarity of its presentation.”

Second: Erica L. Lang, Cronkite News

Comments: “This was a comprehensive examination of a serious problem that had gone unaddressed by government officials. It fulfills an important watchdog role with a solid mix of anecdote and data.”

Third: Dustin Gardiner, Arizona Republic

Comments:”This was an interesting look at a surprising problem, spotlighting ineffective city management that is having a negative effect on residents and businesses.”

Statewide health reporting

Judge Jordan Rau, a senior correspondent for Kaiser Health News, was honored for beat reporting by the Association of Healthcare Journalists. His stories have been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, USA TODAY, Philadelphia Inquirer, Politico, and on npr.org and nbcnews.com, among other media outlets.

First: Emily Bregel, Arizona Daily Star

Comments: “When the for-profit company Cenpatico took over the administration of Medicaid behavioral health cases in Southern Arizona, residential treatment placements—even for the most troubled children— became a rarity. With thoroughness and tenacity, Emily Bregel of the Arizona Daily Star explored the repercussions to children, families and taxpayers. She found that the company’s denials were so extreme that courts were ordering the funding of residential treatment. Meanwhile, under Cenpatico’s oversight, pharmacy spending grew rapidly even as the number of prescriptions declined. Bregel’s coverage of the company’s resistance to institutionalization was fair and nuanced while never losing sight of how the profit motive was influencing critical treatment decisions.”

Second: Stephanie Innes, Arizona Daily Star

Comments:“Innes offered compelling, multigenerational portraits of families affected by Alzheimer’s, including profiles of the toll the disease takes on people and the conundrums created by tests to identify the presence of the mutation in younger people. Each story nicely framed a different challenge posted by the disease”.

Third: Dennis Wagner, Arizona Republic

Comments:“Wagner embarked on a nationwide tour of Veterans Affairs centers two years after the systems’ cover-ups of long wait times and other shortcomings led to reform legislation in Congress. Wagner solicited and examined stories not only of shortcomings but also successes through site visits and interviews with people in all levels of the system.”

Statewide environmental reporting

Judge Josephine Marcotty, environmental reporter for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, was honored for beat reporting in 2016 by the Society of Environmental Journalists.

First: Ron Dungan, Arizona Republic

Comments: ”A fascinating tale of the uneasy relationship between a beloved national icon and the community that put it where it might not belong.”

Second: Jimmy Magahern, Phoenix Magazine

Comments: ” A critically important explanation of how water and food ties nations together – whether we like it or not.”

Third: Tony Davis, Arizona Daily Star

Comments: “He takes on the challenge of laying bare the inner workings the government’s permit and environmental review process for mining. It’s the kind of reporting that is difficult because it requires a understanding of the internecine regulatory process, good sources, aggressive use of public information, and a strong public service mission.”

Statewide science reporting

Judge Colin Woodard of Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram Was a finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting for a compelling account of dramatic ecological changes occurring in the warming ocean region from Nova Scotia to Cape Cod.

First: Tom Beal, Arizona Daily Star
Comments: “Beal provided readers with  comprehensive, extensive, well-written and carefully reported coverage of the Osiris-REx mission, a local research project to the outer reaches of the inner solar system.”

Second: Weldon Johnson, Arizona Republic
Comments: “Succinct, engaging, and relevant, Johnson summarizes a discrete research project with efficient clarity.”

Third: Miquel Otarola, Cronkite News
Comments: “A solid, on-the-scene profile of a local research project with global implications.”

Statewide social issues reporting

Judge Halle Stockton, managing editor of PublicSource, was a 2016 finalist for the Livingston Awards for Young Journalists for a series on psychotropic drugs prescribed to juvenile offenders. She also won a 2015 Sigma Delta Chi award for a story about a couple who both have cerebral palsy.

First: Robrt Pela, Phoenix New Times

Comments: “This is an incredible piece. It makes accessible and deeply personal a topic of great import for our society. The author did not shy away from the realities of being a family caregiver, and his authenticity while exploring the true potential of a new local program sets his writing apart.”

Second: Karina Bland, Arizona Republic
Comments: “This is a beautifully written story. The reporter was able to effectively explore complicated interpersonal relationships while also sharing about organ donation, both its rewards and the perils.”

Third: John Washington, Edible Baja Arizona
Comments: “John Washington’s Sweat Vinaigrette piece not only paints a picture with vivid writing but touches on extremely pertinent issues of agriculture, labor, automation and immigration in a way that never gets wonky. I love that it takes readers to a place where they would never normally get to go either.”

Statewide education reporting

Judge Cara Fitzpatrick, a reporter with the Tampa Bay Times, was part of a team that won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for local reporting for exposing a local school board’s culpability in turning some county schools into failure factories, with tragic consequences for the community.

First: Yvonne Wingett Sanchez and Rob O’Dell, Arizona Republic
Comments: “An important analysis and ongoing coverage of a state voucher program that has had unintended consequences.”

SecondRob O’Dell and Anne Ryman, Arizona Republic
Comments: “A compelling investigation into how crime statistics are formed at universities – and how misleading they can be.”

Third: Megan Kimble, Edible Baja Arizona
Comments: “It was an interesting window into the world of getting ‘Farm-to-School’ food into school cafeterias.”

Statewide  immigration reporting

Judge Mark Fazlollah, immigration reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer, has won national awards including a George Polk Award and the National Association of Black Journalists’ award for investigative reporting. He has been a reporter in Mexico for United Press International and a Latin America correspondent for the Daily Telegraph of London.

Note: Judges from decided opted to give the first place award to three separate reporters.

First (tie): John M. Glionna, Phoenix New Times
Comments: “Writer John M. Glionna did an exception job in detailing the work of the Pima County Medical Examiner’s office to identify migrants who have died while trying to enter the United States illegally. He first focusing on men who drowned while crossing from Nogales, Sonora through a drainage tunnel running under the border, and then he skillfully widened the lens to view many issues of U.S. immigration policies.”

First (tie): Alberto Rios, Phoenix New Times
Comments: “Author Alberto Rios captured the essence of cities on the Arizona-Mexican border and a culture that is too-often unappreciated by those who don’t know the region. His article gave readers a view of what it is like to have grown up in a border town. Personal, yet not overblown, his story put us in shoes that we don’t often get to wear. The Phoenix New Times provided attractive on-in presentations in both English and Spanish.”

First (tie): Daniel González, Arizona Republic
Comments: “The story by Daniel González on Sioux Center, Iowa is a gem. It provided insight into a key role that immigration issues played in the 2016 presidential campaign, capturing real-life complexities that were often ignored in campaign rhetoric.”

Statewide business reporting

Judge Kimi Yoshino is the business editor of the Los Angeles Times. At the Times, she helped to report on the Bell corruption scandal, which won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize Gold Medal for Public Service.

First: Megan Kimble, Edible Baja Arizona

Comments: “First person is difficult to pull off, but Megan Kimble nails it in this Edible Baja Arizona piece that actually tells two stories. It’s both an explainer on equity crowdfunding and a profile of a local brewery. This was an effective way to get people interested in equity crowdfunding – as a potential investor and as a business owner. There’s a lot of reporting and detail packed into this story, but the lively writing had me about ready to whip out my checkbook.”

Second:Robrt Pela, Phoenix New Times

Comments: Robrt Pela’s profile of mattress company Tuft & Needle captures the spirit and ethos of Silicon Valley — in Phoenix. Again, first person is hard to pull off, but the experience of shopping at a traditional mattress store vs. Tuft & Needle is extremely effective. Don’t be fooled by the conversational tone of this story. It’s pack full of solid business reporting about the mattress industry, Tuft & Needle’s revenue and how competitors are responding.”

ThirdDawn Gilbertson, Arizona Republic

Comments: “All the bases — and then some — were covered in the ambitious story by the Arizona Republic’s Dawn Gilbertson on American Airline’s shrinking footprint in Phoenix and how that’s impacting Sky Harbor International Airport. Smart to unpack the story in chapters — with a nice use of both graphics and video. Very thoroughly reported piece.” 

Statewide  sports beat reporting

Judge Angel Rodriguez is the sports editor of the Los Angeles Times.

First: Jeff Metcalfe, Arizona Republic

Comments: “Very well-rounded selection of stories on the Olympics beat. Good mix of news and features with special emphasis on the Arizona newsmakers.” 

Second: Jon Gold, Arizona Daily Star

No comments submitted.

Third: Zach Rosenblatt, Arizona Daily Star

No comments submitted.

Statewide sports feature reporting

Judge Angel Rodriguez is the sports editor of the Los Angeles Times.

First: Christoper Boan, Sahuarita Sun

Comments: Deeply reported feature that brought to life the protagonist. The story never dragged and was compelling throughout. Well done.” 

Second: Jon Gold, Arizona Daily Star

Comments: Compelling feature on the near-death of an athlete. Great access and great detail in Gold’s feature. Kept you reading until the end.” 

Third: Tom Blodgett, Arizona Republic

Comments: “Originality tough to come by in Arizona high school mascot names.”

Statewide  sports investigative reporting

Judge Angel Rodriguez is the sports editor of the Los Angeles Times.

First: Emily Bregel, Arizona Daily Star

Comments: “Great investigative work exposing the troubled Tucson Tech prep school. Bregel did a good job of tracking down students and parents that were hurt by the closure of the school. Well done set of stories.” 

Statewide sports column writing

Judge Geoff Calkins writes columns and opinion for Memphis and the Mid-South for The Commercial Appeal.

First: Jon Gold, Arizona Daily Star

No comments submitted.

Second: Timothy Gassen, Arizona Daily Star

No comments submitted.

Statewide column writing

Judge David Cook, metro columnist with the Chattanooga Times, won the 2016 ASNE Mike Royko Award for Commentary Writing.

First: Karina Bland, Arizona Republic

Comments: “First place for Bland’s  elegantly, powerfully and compassionately telling the everyday stories – of smoking, dying fathers, of a family destroyed by suicide, and the insidious power of hate, Karina Bland writes columns that are accessible, inviting, poetic and, best of all, profoundly instructive. She deserves a standing ovation from Arizona readers.”

Second  Tim Steller, Arizona Daily Star

Comments: “For doing what columnists should always do – holding the powers that be to accountability, and writing truth to power, and doing so with style, humor, grace and clarity.” 

Third: Greg Hansen, Arizona Daily Star

Comments: “For Hansen’s beautiful and insight commentary on sports, culture and why we cheer.”

Statewide editorial writing

Judge Andrew Green is part of the Baltimore Sun team that was a finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in editorial writing.

First: Staff, Arizona Republic

Comments: “An absolute masterwork that we at The Sun quoted in our own endorsement of Ms. Clinton. It does not fall into the trap that many newspapers did last year in simply presenting a damning case against Donald Trump and some hold-your-nose praise of Ms. Clinton. Rather, it articulates the reasons why principled conservatives should actually prefer Ms. Clinton. It has punchy lines and a deeply detailed argument. It is everything a good endorsement should be.”

Second: Staff, Arizona Republic

Comments: It reflects a deep institutional knowledge about immigration and presents a convincing case, even for conservatives who might be inclined to support the president, that the type of hard-line tactics he has previously endorsed simply don’t work. It takes an emotional issue and strips it down to pragmatic terms.”

Third: Jonathan Clark, Nogales International

Comments:  The editorial argues an essential point – the need for diligence and transparency in the investigation of police-involved shootings – and marshals as evidence both some well known cases from around the country but also a detailed examination of several in Arizona. Particularly commendable is the author’s use of the NI’s original reporting on the topic but also that of other newspapers in the region to make his points.”

Statewide personality profile

Judge Carrie Seidman is a 2016 winner of the Society for Features Journalism Award for Features Series or Project Award and took second place in Feature Writing Specialty Portfolio. She is a reporter for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and just wrapped up a Carter Center fellowship focusing on mental illness.

First: John Glionna, Phoenix New Times

Comments: “Given a subject like Doug Stanhope, you’d be hard pressed to write a boring profile. But this was by far and away the best entry I read in this category — vivid language, wonderful weaving of the story, and impact that lasted long after my first, second and third read.”

Second: Brian Smith, Tucson Weekly

Comments: “Full of arresting details, colorful language and nuance. A fascinating subject, intricately revealed.”

Third: Richard Ruelas, Arizona Republic

Comments: “Great storytelling, masterfully walking the line between whether the subject is a con artist or a committed activist.”

Statewide human interest writing

Judge Staci Sturrock is a senior content editor and copywriter for the ad agency Ideabar. She previously worked as a reporter for the Palm Beach Post and won first place in the Society for Feature Journalism Awards 2016 for Feature Specialty Writing Portfolio and third place in Short Feature.

First: Scott Craven, Arizona Republic

Comments: “An absorbing portfolio of work that explores the Grand Canyon State at a variety of latitudes and even altitudes. I felt like I was riding shotgun around Arizona with the author, and listening in as he encouraged his subjects to talk about themselves. I would guess that this reporter develops a nice rapport with whomever he interviews. The stories were full of detail and left no question unanswered. There’s an “easiness” to the way these are written that belies the time and talent it takes to regularly produce this level of work. Well done!”

Second: Alden Woods, Arizona Republic

Comments: “This is consummate storytelling. What trust the writer built with his source. I felt like he really got inside Julie’s head and heart, and was able to relate her thoughts in an intimate, almost conversational way (love the choice to refer to her as “Julie” as opposed to “Jones”). Wonderful eye for detail and ear for quotes. This is an important story, sensitively and beautifully told.”

Third: Debbie Weingarten, Edible Baja Arizona

Comments: “Right out of the gate, this lovingly tended story is a winner. The first several paragraphs read like the opening of a good novel. The reporter writes with an impressive authority. And while the story is packed with facts of how these women are changing the face of farming, it’s the personal stories of the farmers that sing. Great storytelling.”  

Statewide short-form writing

The judge opted no to give out any awards in this category.

Statewide arts criticism

Judge Amy Biancolli is the arts writer and columnist for The Times Union in Albany, NY. She won first place in the Arts and Entertainment Commentary Portfolio category in the 2016 Society for Features Journalism awards and has published two books.

First: Margaret Regan, Tucson Weekly

Comments: “Authoritative and terrifically written with lively, sexy cheek. She praises the artists for portraying the nude in a manner ‘clear-eyed and without apology,’ and she does the same.” 

Second: Becky Bartkowski, Phoenix New Times

Comments: “Engagingly written, and quite funny — great example of a story that I wouldn’t have guessed was a story until it swept me in, right from its killer lede.” 

Third: Dominic Armato, Arizona Republic

Comments: “Excellent piece of food writing — packed with delicious turns of phrase and insights into both the Italian-cuisine ethos and the restaurateur himself.

Statewide arts reporting

Judge Rashod Ollison is a reporter for The Virginian-Pilot, covering entertainment, music, pop culture and other features. He won first place in the Arts and Entertainment Feature category in the 2015 Society for Features Journalism awards and third place in Arts and Entertainment Commentary Portfolio.

First: Becky Bartkowski, Phoenix News Times 

Comments: “Informative and lively coverage of the art scene. “The 100 Creatives You Should Know …” piece was smart and essential.”

Second: Ed Masley, Arizona Republic 

Comments: “It’s clear the writer knows what he’s covering, offering historical context and perspective.” 

No third place awards were given.

Statewide food and beverage reporting

Judge Hanna Raskin is the food editor and chief critic for The Post & Courier in South Carolina.

First: Patricia Escarcega, Phoenix New Times
Comments: “To understand the greatness of this piece, it’s worth Googling “Mexican sushi” – which I only did because Escarcega’s crisply-written story made me want to learn more about the subject. The top hit is a snarky three-year-old blog post from the same paper, noting and mocking the trend. Maybe it made a few people laugh for a minute. By contrast, the curiosity, respect and strong journalistic skills which Escarcega brought to the topic resulted in a story which will forever change Valley residents’ understanding of how foodways evolve and change. Bravo.”

Second: Shelby Moore, Phoenix New Times
Comments: “Great example of contextualizing a restaurant opening in a way that deepens readers’ appreciation of their hometown’s cocktail culture. This is a very well-structured story with plenty of vivid details to make the history stick.”

Third: John Washington, Edible Baja Arizona
Comments: “Well-researched and comprehensive survey of state’s craft beer scene, with enough specific details and humanity to engage readers.”

Statewide headline writing

Judge Sara Ziegler is the treasurer of the American Copy Editors Society and deputy features editor for the Omaha World-Herald

First: Jim Wambold, Arizona Republic

Comments:: “This entry shows off a mix of news and feature styles. My favorite headline of the day: “In a redraw, Apple replaces revolver emoji with squirt gun,” which uses “redraw” to perfection. The ripples of the Brexit vote and laughing until you cry over comedian Garry Shandling’s death round out a very nice entry.”   

Second: Dave Ord, Arizona Daily Star

Comments: “After years of squeamishness, it’s time to bleed by example,” on a story about donating blood, is my kind of wordplay. I also really enjoyed the “skeleton crew” headline, which proved that sports stories are ripe for fun, smart treatments.”

ThirdLee Shappell, Scottsdale Airpark News 

Comments: “This entry uses wordplay in a clever way that ultimately serves the story. These aren’t puns for puns’ sake. “Hundred-buck ground chuck” is the kind of headline that doesn’t just make you want to read the story — it makes you feel like you’ll be missing out if you don’t.”

Paulina Pineda named Community Journalist of the Year

The Arizona Press Club is pleased to announce the winner of the 2016 Community Journalist of the Year Award.

Judges


Dennis Joyce is the assistant metro editor of the Tampa Bay Times, Autumn Phillips is the executive editor of the Quad-City Times and Dennis Anderson is the executive editor of the  Peoria, Ill. Journal Star.

Community Journalist of the Year

Paulina Pineda
Nogales International

Pineda “pursues the stories and the people that define a community quite literally on the edge. Her reporting is characterized by genuine voices, including rural students who endure long school bus rides and farm workers concerned they might not be allowed back after visiting family in Mexico. She is up to the task of chronicling the unique border region in and around Santa Cruz County,” wrote Joyce.

First runner-up
Katie Campbell
Pinal Central

“It’s obvious that Katie Campbell has a bright future. Her work shows her dedication to working a beat, developing sources and looking outside of court documents for stories. She’s engaged on social media, on a variety of platforms, both with journalism as an industry and with her readers. She’s has also embraced photo and video, in a way that no editor could imagine her saying, ‘That’s not my job.'” wrote Philips.

Second runner-up
Glenn Gullickson
West Valley View

“The work of Glenn Gullickson is distinguished by the depth with which he pursued several of the topics included in his entry, such as a spike in monthly water bills that brought down a bureaucracy, and a hulking, little-used, long-abandoned horse-trotting stadium that now stands as a community white elephant,” Joyce wrote.

Maria Camou named Arizona Designer of the Year

The Arizona Press Club is pleased to announce that Maria Camou of the Arizona Daily Star has been named 2016’s Arizona Designer of the Year.

Judge Andrea Zagata, a page designer for the New York Times, said of Camou, “this designer has a clear voice. I see intelligent photo editing and clean design free of gimmicks. The “wall” project is well paced and planned, consistent throughout. This designer has a good sense of balancing visuals and type and is an intelligent visual editor. While some designers would ‘jazz up’ these news pages with different type treatments or colored backgrounds, the designer made the very smart decision to let the content speak. It is interesting, compelling content that does not need to be anything more than simple.”

First runner-up:

Chiara Bautista

Arizona Daily Star

“These graphics and illustrations are whimsical and fun. As a reader of this newspaper, I would very much look forward to seeing what this designer has up her sleeve next. The many styles of illustration to fit different types of content are very impressive. From features to sports to news, this designer can do it all and I believe readers benefit from her eye and dedication. Any paper would be lucky to have such a versatile artist.”

Second runner-up:

Rick Konopka

Arizona Republic

“A clean, simple designer with a clear vision. This designer is taking sometimes complicated topics and making them visually interesting. This portfolio has simple type treatments that are well-executed. The opinion page is in my opinion one of the hardest ones to design well, and this designer pulls it off in a tasteful way. His creativity is well-used in this publication and he is clearly an asset to this staff.”

 

Stephenson named Arizona’s Virg Hill Journalist of the Year

The Arizona Press Club is pleased to announce the winner of the 2016 Virg Hill Journalist of the Year Award.

Judges

Michael LaForgia, investigations editor at the Tampa Bay Times, George Papajohn is associate managing editor for investigations of the Chicago Tribune and Angie Muhs is executive editor and vice president of the State Journal-Register, Springfield, Illinois.

LaForgia has twice won the Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting — in 2014 for exposing problems in a Hillsborough County homeless program and in 2016 for a series on Pinellas County’s neglect of five schools in black neighborhoods.

George Papajohn started at the Chicago Tribune in 1982, and remained there ever since. In 2007, Papajohn directed the Tribune ’s “Hidden Hazards” project, which won a Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting

Angie Muhs previously held reporting and editing positions at the Portland (Maine) Press Herald, The Miami Herald, the Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader and The (Columbia, S.C.) State. She has served as a juror for the Pulitzer Prizes.

Virg Hill Journalist of the Year

Hank Stephenson
Arizona Capitol Times

Stephenson’s work “showed how following the money – not to mention analyzing the data – is almost always a good instinct. Despite intense pressure from government officials, he persisted and his work made a clear impact.”

The judges said Stephenson’s stories demonstrated “his doggedness in holding state officials accountable.

Judge Muhs recognized Stephenson for his work, saying it was a “Great example of classic government watchdog reporting.”

First Runner-Up

Craig Harris, Arizona Republic

“Harris dove in on the story of mass firings in state government and blazed new investigative trails, bringing a human face to a story that could have been bureaucratic and helping spur change,” wrote Papajohn.

Second Runner-Up

Perla Trevizo, Arizona Daily Star

Trevizo’s contest portfolio contained “elegant writing, combined with solid in-depth reporting, presents a vivid and nuanced portrait of life on the border. Anyone debating “the wall” should read these packages. She also deserves the top honor due to her commitment to digital presentation, incorporating GPS coordinates into reporting.”

Winners: 2016 Arizona Press Club Spanish language award winners

Journalists from the Arizona Daily Star’s La Estrella de Tucsón took first place honors in two out of the three Spanish-language award categories in the Arizona Press Club’s 2016 Writing and Design competition.

Curt Prendergast and Perla Trevizo were awarded first place in Spanish-language news reporting, for their series on the U.S.-Mexico Border.

Ernesto Portillo, Jr. of La Estrella de Tucsón took home first, second and third place in the Spanish-language commentary/analysis.

In the Spanish-language feature reporting category, Laura Gomez of the Arizona Republic took home first place for her story, “El reflejo del miedo de las mujeres transgénero en Eloy.”

(more…)

Announcing the annual Sledgehammer & Brick Wall award winners

The Arizona Press Club is pleased to announce that Hank Stephenson, of the Arizona Capitol Times, is the winner of the 2016 Sledgehammer Award for his efforts to expose the truth.

Pima County Supervisor Ally Miller and former state legislator David Gowan are both winners of the 2016 Brick Wall Award, which is reserved for the state’s most deceptive government agencies and politicians.

Stephenson’s months-long review of a state travel base detailing thousands of trips by government officials revealed that some of the state’s most powerful lawmakers, most notably Gowan, House Speaker at the time, logged tens of thousands of miles in government cars on trips unrelated to state business. As a result, Gowan had to reimburse $12,000 in erroneous mileage and the House established a new travel policy.

During Stephenson’s investigation, Gowan’s office repeatedly refused to provide requested public records and after the initial story was printed, Gowan revoked the Arizona Capitol Times’ seat at the House press table. The Capitol times threatened to sue and Gowan backed down, although he made a number of retaliatory attempts against Stephenson, including attempting to implement a “reporter screening” process that would have barred Stephenson from receiving credentials to be on the House floor.

After a member of Miller’s staff was exposed for setting up a fake news website and interviewing local politicians, Miller blatantly covered up communications with her staffers, delaying and denying public records requests and going so far as to falsely claim they didn’t exist. She and the her staffer filed false reports with the FBI in an attempt to hide their involvement with the fake “Arizona Daily Herald” and because of her deceptive practices involving public records, the Pima County Attorney’s Office ultimately referred her for investigation by the Arizona Attorney General’s Office.

Winners of the 2016 Writing and Design Awards will be released throughout the week.

Winners: 2016 Arizona Press Club photo awards

Two Arizona Republic photographers took home top honors in the Arizona Press Club’s 2016 Photojournalism Awards.

Michael Chow was named News Photographer of the Year and Patrick Breen was awarded Sports Photographer of the Year, with the award for Photograph of the Year also going to Chow.

Courtney Pedroza of Arizona State University was named College Photographer of the Year.

The Daily-News Sun’s Jacob Stanek was named Community Photographer of the Year.

The Press Club will begin announcing winners of the 2016 Writing and Design Awards next week.

(more…)