Winners of the 2015 Arizona Press Club Awards

The Arizona Press Club is pleased to announce the winners of the 2015 Writing and Design Awards, recognizing excellence in Arizona journalism. Congratulations to the winners, the finalists, and everyone who entered this year’s contest!

Virg Hill Journalist Of The Year

Judges

Jim Simon, managing editor, Seattle Times, and Chris Grygiel, Northwest News Editor, Associated Press

Simon helped lead The Seattle Times teams that won Pulitzer Prizes for breaking news in 2010 and 2014. He also edited a series on ocean acidification that won multiple national awards. As a reporter, he won national awards for investigative reporting on the environment and Washington state’s mental health system. Grygiel edited a series of stories revealing abuses in the state’s pension system that won a state for open government reporting. His political reporting for Seattle Magazine was won first place in the Northwest SPJ awards.

Glenn Smith is the watchdog/public service editor for The Post and Courier in Charleston, SC. He is a member of the four-person team that won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, the George Polk Award, the Silver Gavel Award and several other honors for a series on domestic violence in South Carolina, “Till Death Do Us Part.” He also led a team that recently won the 2015 Scripps Howard Award for community journalism for a series on police-involved shootings. Smith has received three National Headliner Awards and was part of a team that won two Society of Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi awards for coverage of the tragic Sofa Super Store fire in Charleston in 2007. He was a 2014 H.F. Guggenheim Journalism Fellow at New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice and was named South Carolina’s Journalist of the Year for 2012.

Carol Leonnig, an investigative and enterprise reporter at The Washington Post, won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting. She and two Post colleagues won the Polk award for political reporting for uncovering the cash and gifts that Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell sought from a local businessman he was helping, which ultimately led to the governor’s indictment and conviction on public corruption charges. Her reporting of the Obama administration’s clean-energy stimulus program first revealed how the White House pressured career government officials to award a half-billion-dollar loan to Solyndra, a solar company whose principal owner was a major Obama campaign donor. Leonnig and a small team of Post reporters won the Selden Ring Award for investigative reporting after they uncovered hazardous levels of lead in drinking water in Washington, D.C., as well as similar water quality reporting problems across the country.

Virg Hill Journalist Of The Year

Craig Harris, Arizona Republic

Harris’ work “exemplifies the value to a community of strong and vital local government watchdog reporting – a commodity that is in increasingly in short supply as newspaper staffs shrink,” Simon and Grygiel wrote. “His reporting gets results. Just as Harris was about to publish his investigation of how a transportation official and his wife misused public dollars for personal gain, the official resigned. A criminal investigation followed. In 2015, he also exposed how government workers facing harassment and discrimination claims got off without punishment, and how dollars raised by one prominent charity wound up funneled into a lavishly high salary for one of the organizers.

The judges said Harris’ stories “showcased relentless digging and skilled use of public documents. His clear and engaging writing guided readers through often complicated stories. When it comes to assuring accountability for public officials, Phoenix is fortunate to have Harris on the beat.”

Judge Glenn Smith called Harris “a classic watchdog journalist, industrious and accountability-driven, following the money trail and taking public officials to task for misdeeds and wasteful spending of taxpayer dollars. His work on the Valley Metro story exposed lavish spending by the agency’s head and potential fraud. His piece on the charity tied to Muhammad Ali raised serious questions about the spending of donor dollars. And his series on the settlement of government worker claims revealed a costly practice that covered up system failures and allowed bad practices to fester.”

Judge Carol Leonig recognized Harris “for the almost instantaneous impact of his investigative reporting and his ample use of public records to reveal the truth. His work uncovering Valley Metro executive Stephen Banta’s lavish spending was so explosive it shook this public official and his community even before it was published. His reporting poring over Department of Corrections lawsuits clued in taxpayers to the pricey settlements they were paying for discrimination and sexual harassment claims, again using public records to reveal a truth the public deserved to know.”

First Runner-Up, Virg Hill Journalist Of The Year

Perla Trevizo, Arizona Daily Star

Trevizo’s contest portfolio “demonstrated tremendous initiative, a real knack for enterprise reporting and a deft hand at telling those stories in a clear, compelling way,” judge Glenn Smith wrote. “She has a talent for finding human tales that put a face to larger issues and provide a needed voice to some of society’s most vulnerable. Her series on the family of young kids struggling to keep their lives together in the absence of their mother was captivating, as was the tale of the workers who continue to show up at the closed factory in Nogales. I also was drawn in by the project on the pickers who live at the landfill. These are gritty pieces that are tough to get in places most people never venture. And they are loaded with great color and context. Well done.”

Second Runner-Up, Virg Hill Journalist Of The Year

Carol Alaimo, Arizona Daily Star

“Alaimo’s reporting took readers behind the scenes at Faith Christian Church and stands out for its powerful combination of deep reporting, deft use of available public records and obvious trust she had to carefully build with dozens of sources,” judge Carol Leonig wrote. “In this series, Alaimo laid out such a deeply-detailed portrait of an organization abusing and coercing members, it couldn’t be refuted and quickly spurred government intervention.”

Arizona Community Journalist Of The Year

Judges

Cary Aspinwall is a writer and the creative director for The Frontier, an Oklahoma-based digital media company devoted to investigative and in-depth journalism. In 2015, she was named a Pulitzer finalist for Local Reporting and the Writer of the Year at the Great Plains Journalism Awards, among other honors. Her work has also appeared in Politico Magazine.

Laura Sellers is managing editor of The Daily Astorian in Oregon. She is 2016 president of the national industry group Associated Press Media Editors.

Arizona Community Journalist Of The Year

Murphy Woodhouse, Nogales International

“In a category with outstanding competition, this portfolio stood out for the strength of its enterprise reporting,” judge Cary Aspinall wrote. “These were well-written stories that a reporter could only get via the difficult work of being a tenacious community journalist.

His stories enlighten the reader and liven up the Nogales newspaper.”

Judge Laura Sellers praised Woodhouse’s “accessible writing on a wide range of topics.

“Really love the breadth of this reporter,” she wrote. “The stories ring clear and point out significant social issues on all fronts. All-around good job hitting all the basics with the impact being the main driver, which I think is the main requirement for community journalist of the year.”

First Runner-Up, Arizona Community Journalist Of The Year

Hank Stephenson, Arizona Capitol Times

Judge Laura Sellers described Stephenson’s contest portfolio “insightful, probing, well-written. Good, dogged reporting on FOI, statehouse goings on.” She called Stephenson “an exceptional watchdog who explains complex issues in a clear, organized manner with punch.”

Second Runner-Up, Arizona Community Journalist Of The Year

Jim Nintzel, Tucson Weekly

Arizona Designer Of The Year

Judges: the design staff of the Boston Globe.

Arizona Designer of the Year

Aliya Mood, Arizona Republic

“Smart, sophisticated designs whether the tone is serious or whimsical. It’s great to see how Mood finds such powerful conceptual solutions rooted in story telling.”

First runner-up, Arizona Designer of the Year

Claudia Saavedra, Arizona Republic

“Bold, colorful, and ambitious. Saavedra’s designs aim for impact over refinement and more often than not hit the target.”

Second runner-up, Arizona Designer of the Year

Nicole Vas, Arizona Republic

“Story-driven design solutions to some hard-to-illustrate subjects. Vas does more with less better than many news designers.”

Spanish-Language Publications

A1. Spanish-language news reporting

Results delayed.

A2. Spanish-language feature reporting

Judge: Paola Banchero is associate professor and chair of Journalism and Communication at University of Alaska Anchorage.

Primer lugar

Beatriz Limón, La Voz Phoenix: “La dura lucha contra la violencia doméstica en Arizona”

“Beatriz Limón es muy productiva. Este artículo es detallado, relevante y bien escrito. Me gusta que encontró una mujer que pudo relacionar su experiencia. Hizo la nota más fácil de seguir con información y estadísticas importantes. Bien hecho!”

Segundo lugar

Laura Gómez, La Voz Phoenix: “Se aferra a su fe para evitar deportación,””Cientos de familias en Mesa enfrentan desalojo inminente,” “Gobierno intervendrá en desalojo en Mesa Royale” y “Clínica Liberación: un ‘motor de justicia’ para la comunidad LGBT indocumentada”

“Laura Gómez se dedica a examinar la vidas complicadas de hispanos en su comunidad. La variación de historias sirve de explicar que tipo de reportera es Sra. Gómez. Sus artículos siguen una lógica clara. Es una buen escritora que expresa grandes cosas con pocas palabras en estos artículos. Cada uno es informativo y conciso.”

Tercer lugar

Beatriz Limón, “Detienen sueños de indocumentados”

“Hay cientos de artículos sobre DACA. La reportera encuentra a gente que hace estas noticias relevantes. Los comentarios de Francisco Domínguez nos ayuda ver como una política creada en Washington o una corte lejos de Arizona afecta directamente a la comunidad hispana en el estado. La reportera también es creativa en explicar el fallo legal y que significa.”

A3. Spanish-language commentary/analysis

Judge: Paola Banchero is associate professor and chair of Journalism and Communication at University of Alaska Anchorage.

Primer lugar

Ernesto Portillo, Jr., La Estrella de Tucson: “Construye un hogar en Tucson,” “Dejamos que otros (no) contaran nuestra historia”

“Portillo tiene un sentido impresionante de lugar. Su historia en Tucson es profunda y amplia. Trata sus temas con calidez y respecto. He aprendido más sobre Tucson, una ciudad que ya conocía, a través de estas historias. La verdad es que Tucson es profundamente hispana, pero la historia de los mexicanos en Tucson no ha sido preservado adecuadamente ni por los mexicoamericanos ni por los anglos por varias razones. Me gustaría que Portillo fuera más alla con su periódismo para ver por que la cuidad tiene esta historia poco mencionada.”

Segundo lugar

Ernesto Portillo, Jr., La Estrella de Tucson: “Cuando huele a verano,” “Preservar la historia para no olvidar” y “Se impactó de frente con la música”

“El artículo ‘Preservar la historia para no olvidar’ es significante para todos los residentes de Tucson. La parte judía es parte de la historia completa de Arizona.

Community Writing

B1. Community investigative reporting

Judge: Eric Lipton, an investigative reporter for The New York Times, is a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize, in 2015 for investigative reporting for a series of stories about state attorneys general, and in 1992, for explanatory journalism for a series of the scientists who built the flawed mirror in the Hubble Space Telescope. He also won an award in 2015 from Investigative Reporters and Editors.

First place

Evan Wyloge, Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting: Congressional letter ghost written by APS”

“This story brings out into public the deceptive effort by APS to use federal lawmakers who in many cases have taken a considerable amount of campaign money from the company as weapons against the rooftop solar industry. The public was well served by this story, getting visibility into how this corporation has worked to try to influence the FTC and the CFPB.”

Second place

Hank Stephenson, Arizona Capitol Times: Arizona House renovation efforts

“These stories show persistence in following up on excessive state government spending. The first piece on the renovations showed some skepticism about the project. What distinguishes the effort is that the reporter followed up to document additional spending, using open records requests and other methods and even documented the crazy ‘Fiber Fiasco’ with compelling photos of the repair work on the carpet. State residents were well served by these stories, even if they were embarrassing to David Gowan. I also see that the reporter, Hank Stephenson, has followed up with more reporting on the House speaker and his use of state vehicle to travel the state as he runs for Congress. Outstanding work.”

Third place

Kristena Hansen, Will Stone and Al Macias, KJZZ 91.5: Arizona utility regulator’s business ties called into question

“This story shows a surprising degree of enterprise for a radio station, which detailed the conflict of interest that Arizona Corporation Commission member Susan Bitter Smith had, serving both as a registered lobbyist and commission member. The news is buried a bit on the Aug. 24, 2015 initial story — it should have led with Bitter Smith. But the stories were still well done. And it had real and very important impact. It is a reminder that listeners and readers are well served by solid enterprise reporting.”

B2. Community public service journalism

Judge: Fred Schulte, senior reporter for the Center for Public Integrity, is a four-time Pulitzer Prize finalist for investigative projects on Baltimore’s arcane ground rents, excessive heart surgery deaths in veterans’ hospitals, substandard Medicaid plans and the hidden dangers of cosmetic surgery. He has received the George Polk Award for medical reporting, two IRE awards and two Philip Meyer Awards for projects on Medicare and Medicare Advantage overbilling.

First place

Rachel Leingang and Hank Stephenson, Arizona Capitol Times: “Stonewalled”

“A smart look at how lawmakers are using smartphones to conduct public business in secret. A significant public service.”

Second place

Jamie Verwys, Aztec Press: “What’s Your Deadline?”

“Kudos to the student editors and reporters for fighting back against a college administration seemingly bent on controlling the flow of public information, even if it’s illegal.”

B3. Community breaking news

Judge: Richard Wagoner, metro editor for The Seattle Times, was part of the team that won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news reporting for The Times’ coverage of a landslide that killed 43 people north of Seattle.

First place

Derek Jordan, Sierra Vista Herald/Bisbee Daily Review:”F-16 crashes outside Douglas

“The online and print report on the F-16 crash show a quick, thorough response to a breaking news event. Military plane crashes are notoriously hard to cover, as often very little information is released. The reporters worked local officials and eye witnesses to produce a solid report. Also, the regular online updates the night of the crash showed good hustle.”

Second place

Staff, Arizona Daily Sun: “NAU campus shooting kills one, wounds three”

“The Daily Sun staff pursued multiple angles on this campus shooting story. The sidebar about parents calling and texting their sons and daughters at school was a good angle that a lot of news organizations might not think to cover.”

B4. Community public safety reporting

Judge: John Ingold covers federal courts and medical marijuana for The Denver Post.

First place

Michelle McManimon, Arizona Daily Sun: “Wise Beyond His 24 Years,” “Friends: Smith Suicidal Before Confrontation,” “Police: Smith Threatened Suicide Before 2009 DV Arrest,” “Shots Lasted Less Than 14 Seconds,” and “Domestic Violence Calls Common for Flagstaff Police Department”

“McManimon doggedly pursues every angle in one of the toughest stories a reporter can cover: the murder of a police office. In doing so, she brings humanity to the story of the office killed, provides needed background on the killer and gives readers a much better understanding of an event that prompted both grief and questions within the Flagstaff community.”

Second place

Brian Wright, Maricopa Monitor: “Crime and Punishment”

“In two stories about the disciplinary practices of Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, Wright fearlessly raises important questions about the sheriff’s decision making and treatment of employees, acting, as journalists must, as a necessary watchdog on behalf of the public against government officials.”

Third place

Murphy Woodhouse, Nogales International: “From $300 to $50,000 Per Load, Smuggling Wages Range Widely” and ” ‘Blind Mule’ Defense Can Turn Fed Cases Local”

“These were entered separately, but I thought they deserved to be recognized together. In two stories, Woodhouse takes an intriguing look into how drugs are smuggled into the U.S., how police work to stop smugglers, and how hapless business owners and desperate migrants are sometimes caught in the middle.”

B5. Community political reporting

Judge: Nigel Jaquiss, a reporter at Willamette Week in Portland, won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting; three first place awards from Investigative Reporters and Editors, including a 2014 IRE medal for reporting that led to the resignation of Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber; and the 2016 Chairman’s Citation from the National Press Foundation.

First place

Ben Giles, Arizona Capital Times: for coverage of Attorney General Brnovich’s position on elected officials using public money for electioneering.

“Giles provided his readers with sustained coverage of a poorly conceived opinion from newly elected AG Mark Brnovich. Giles’ thorough reporting offered insight into both Brnovich’s approach to his new job and the legality of elected officials using public money to advocate against marijuana legalization.”

Second place

Jim Nintzel, Tucson Weekly: “Loan charges”

“Nintzel examined U.S. Rep. Martha McSally’s vote on an obscure portion of the Department of Defense budget bill. Nintzel’s story is a counter-intutive take on a popular military veteran who, in contrast to her rhetoric, voted against legislation that would have protected enlisted personnel from predatory lenders.”

Third place

Rodney Haas, Casa Grande Dispatch: Central Arizona College recall

“In a series of five stories, Haas brought a tight focus to reporting on a contentious recall effort that laid bare deep divisions in his community. He got great quotes and brought the key players in the election to life on the page.”

B6. Community government reporting

Judge: Joe Mahr, an investigative reporter for the Chicago Tribune, was one of three reporters for the Toledo Blade to win the 2004 Pulitzer Prize in investigative reporting for exposing how the Army covered up the longest-known string of war crimes committed by a battle unit in Vietnam. Last year he and two colleagues were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in local reporting for showing rampant dysfunction in Chicago’s most lawless suburb.

First place

Kristen Hwang, Cronkite News Service: series on tribal remains

“This was a very thorough look at the effects of and debate surrounding a 25-year-old federal law requiring museums and other places receiving federal money to repatriate Native American human remains, along with cultural and sacred items. With solid readability and wide scope, it offered a rich explanation of the questions surrounding how the law was written and criticism of how effective it had been.”

Second place

Hank Stephenson, Arizona Capitol Times: “Azerbaijan connection”

“A thorough, multi-layered look at the regular, and controversial, practice of state lawmakers taking free trips paid by a foreign government, and then passing resolutions pushed by that foreign government that praised that foreign government. The article had balance and national scope, raising critical questions while avoiding a superficial take on the issue.”

Third place

Jim Nintzel, Tucson Weekly: “Grant Road rage, redux”

“It can be easy to get bogged down in seemingly mundane policy debates without showcasing the people behind them, and this article ensured that didn’t happen. In a simple, readable way, it explained the real costs to one family for bureaucracy over an eventual road widening.”

B7. Community health reporting

Judge: Mark Johnson, health and science reporter for The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, shared the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in Explanatory Reporting and has been a Pulitzer finalist on three other occasions. His first book, co-authored with Kathleen Gallagher, is, “One in a Billion: The Story of Nic Volker and the Dawn of Genomic Medicine.”

First place

Jessica Boehm, Cronkite News: “Vaccine injury fund tops $3.5 billion as patients fight for payments” and related stories

“By far the best reported series and it had to be. Vaccine-related injuries are a controversial topic. Reporting too often overplays claims without adequately considering the harm that comes from scaring people away from vaccines. Boehm does a terrific job of covering the complexities of the topic with clarity and fairness. She also takes readers into a little-known program, the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. Impressive work.”

Second place

Danielle Grobmeier, Cronkite News: “Yuma’s heroin problem is persistent and visible”

“Powerful writing on the suffering of Yuma’s heroin addicts. The story could have been improved with more context, explaining chemically why heroin is so addictive, and the factors that have led to its resurgence nationally. Still, the writing and choice of telling details makes this a quality piece.”

Third place

Rachel Leingang, Arizona Capitol Times: “Birthing rights”

“An excellent choice of subject — the impact of new rules on midwifery. The reporting is thorough and the reporter does a fine job of showing the people affected by a policy. The story could have benefited from stronger writing that transported readers into actual scenes of midwives doing their work. Nice job overall.”

B8. Community environmental/science reporting

Judge: Ken Armstrong, a staff writer at The Marshall Project, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter who previously worked at The Seattle Times and Chicago Tribune, where his work helped prompt the Illinois governor to suspend executions and later empty death row.

First place

Melissa Sevigny, Edible Baja Arizona Magazine: “A River’s Return”

“Sevigny takes an experimental release of water – an effort to revive the lower Colorado River – and turns it into a lyrical exploration of water politics, describing, in lovely prose, the ripple effects on cottonwoods, willows, migratory birds and, of course, the delta’s people, who greet the pulse flow with barbeques and a brass band.”

Second place

Kristen Hwang, Cronkite News: “Thicker than water: town of Williams confronts drought”

“It can be awfully hard for a town when it relies on drawing in tourists while facing the prospect of running out of water. Hwang turns the plight of Williams – where people must dig deep, literally and figuratively – into an emblem for climate change and the Southwest, using sharp analysis and spot-on imagery (‘rust-red rings mark the dam’s cement wall like a bathtub, an ugly reminder of how full the reservoir once was’).”

Third place

Valeria Fernández, Sean Logan and Brandon Quester, Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting: “Impacts to health, livelihood continue 1 year after toxic mine spill in Mexico” and “Massive spill highlights outdated water quality standards, government oversight in Mexico”

“This powerful, ambitious multimedia project tackles both the causes and the consequences of an environmental disaster in Mexico, tracing a toxic mine spill (and a slow response) to the suffering and frustration of residents in the Sonora River Basin.”

B9. Community social issues reporting

Judge: Duaa Eldeib, an investigative reporter at the Chicago Tribune, was a finalist along with two colleagues for a 2015 Pulitzer Prize for a series exposing abuse, rape and prostitution at residential treatment centers.

First place:

Megan Kimble, Edible Baja Arizona: “Firing locally”

“This piece brought to life the mantra ‘shop locally’ through elegant storytelling and the surprising selection of a committed group of local firefighters as the main subjects. The reporter excelled at juxtaposing the chaotic life of the firefighters with their thoughtful determination to stave off further department cuts by sourcing their food locally. The story succeeded in demonstrating the impact small decisions, made deliberately and consistently, can have.”

Second place:

Debbie Weingarten, Edible Baja Arizona: “Quitting season”

“Through vivid storytelling and sharp writing, this story details the myriad factors that go into the emotional decision to walk away from a farm. The average reader knows only of that final moment when the farmers announce they are closing shop, when they are financially and emotionally drained. The reporter didn’t sugarcoat the process, even when it would have been easier. She wrote, ‘No one wants to think about farmers calling it quits. It muddies that heroic glow cast around our food producers.’ By chronicling the painful decision of those who felt they had no choice but to walk away, the reporter forces the reader to sit up and take notice.”

Third place:

Rachel Leingang, Arizona Capitol Times: “Cash assistance limits dropped to lowest in the nation”

“This story tackled a weighty and timely issue that thrust Arizona into the spotlight. The reporter revealed how much people like Barbara Cotner risk losing when lawmakers decide to limit cash assistance for some of the state’s poorest families. The story provided ample context, sourcing and statistics on what it means to be the only state in the nation with such stringent regulations.”

B10. Community education reporting

Judge: Erica L. Green, who covers the Baltimore City school system for The Sun, has won nearly one dozen local and national awards, including a 2015 Education Writers Association for investigative journalism. She was also a 2014 finalist for the Livingston Awards for Young Journalists. Most recently, she was part of the team that won the national breaking news award from the American Society of News Editors for coverage of Baltimore’s 2015 riots.

First place

Rachel Leingang, Arizona Capitol Times: “Teaching Arizona”

“A unique perspective on a universal problem of teacher shortages, and the complexities of navigating the issue. Amid the debate about teacher retention, it’s refreshing to read about why teachers stay.”

Second place

Luige del Puerto, Arizona Capitol Times: “Beneath the rhetoric”

“Good, strong lede. Great accountability reporting. Needed more school-level perspective to drive home impact. Nice use of graphics: Show me the money.”

Third place

Cindy Yurth, Navajo Times: “Reading, writing and wrath”

“Dogged and comprehensive reporting from all angles on a key debate about the next phase of this school district. Crisp writing, authoritative voice thorough reporting and appreciate perspectives from parents/community.”

B11. Community immigration reporting

Richard Marosi, who the covered Mexico and the border for the Los Angeles times for a decade, is a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist and winner of the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award.

First place

Maria Ines Taracena, Tucson Weekly: “The waiting game”

“Interesting, well-told snapshots of different people struggling to keep their lives and families together.”

Second place

Luige Del Puerto, Arizona Capitol Times: “Double lives”

Third place

Paul Ingram, TucsonSentinel.com: “Fury, tears over deferred action”

“A solidly reported series about the Rosa Robles saga.”

B12. Community business reporting

Judge: Zach Mider, a reporter at Bloomberg News, won the 2014 Pultizer Prize for explanatory reporting for his work on corporate tax avoidance.

First place

Cindy Yurth, Navajo Times: Denny’s grand opening coverage

“Cindy Yurth’s on-the-ground reporting and light writing touch make for a funny and informative look at a big event in a small town.”

Second place

Megan Kimble, Edible Baja Arizona: “Edible Baja Arizona”

“Megan Kimble has a lively and enjoyable account of a local business.”

Third place

Jason Axelrod, Cronkite News: “Chandler Pharmaceutical Company sees rapid financial gains, but faces scrutiny”

“Jason Axelrod delves into problems with a top-selling pain treatment made by a local company.”

B13. Community sports beat reporting

Judge: Matthew Stanmyre, a staff writer at The Star-Ledger and NJ Advance Media, writes feature and enterprise stories with an emphasis on local sports and projects. He has won 12 national writing awards from the Associated Press Sports Editors for beat writing, project reporting, feature writing and breaking news coverage.

First place

Jason P. Skoda, East Valley Tribune

“Strong subject matter and compelling topics. Descriptive writing with emotion. These stories made me feel something.”

Second place

Norma Gonzalez, Nogales International

“Really enjoyed the depth of reporting. Humanized Little League and made me want to read about it. The author found interesting stories in every nook and cranny and wringed everything possible out of the subject matter.”

Third place

Daniel Dullum, Florence Reminder & Blade-Tribune

“Took a sensitive topic and worked every angle hard. Covered the story well from start to finish, finding interesting side stories along the way.”

B14. Community sports feature reporting

Judge: Brian Davis, Austin American-Statesman

Davis, who covers college sports for the Austin American-Statesman, was honored by the Associated Press Sports Editors for breaking news (2013), investigative journalism (2015) and beat reporting (2014, 2015).

First place

Chris Wimmer, Cronkite News: “Basketball at breakneck pace a way of life in the Navajo reservation”

“This piece featured some fabulous, detailed writing. The writer describes the scene (roosters crowing, dogs hopping, a tattered net, etc.) in strong detail. This was also one of the few stories I’ve read that attempts to explain why cross country and running in general is important to Native Americans and how that relates to basketball. Simply put, a great, detailed look at basketball on reservations.”

Second place

Christina Fuoco-Karasinski, SanTan Sun News: “Traveling with the team: Chandler National Little League All-Stars take over Tainan”

“When the headline is about traveling abroad with any team, the story better deliver the goods. And this one does. Readers expect this kind of story to ‘take me there.’ The writer certainly did that. Unique topic done well.”

Third place

Sunnie Clahchischiligi, Navajo Times: “50 years later, Mills recalls journey”

“The lede alone pulls you in. This was a fascinating read from a rather unexpected topic. The revelation about the subject being diagnosed with a blood disorder was an interesting surprise. And the writer smartly lets the subject talk about breaking the tape in his own words.”

B16. Community sports column writing

Judge: Michael Sielski is sports columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

First place

Ed Petruska, Casa Grande Displatch

“Clear, spare writing about interesting people. Didn’t get in the way of the story. Told it straight, with a light touch.”

No second or third place.

B17. Community column writing

Tony Messenger, metro columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, was a 2015 Pulitzer finalist for his series of editorials on Ferguson and he won the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sigma Delta Chi award for best editorials. In 2014, he won the Burl Osborne award for editorial leadership from the American Society of News Editors and the Walker Stone editorial writing award from the Scripps-Howard Foundation.

First place

Bill Coates, Casa Grande Dispatch

“A tremendous story-teller who keeps the reader to the end, giving them more than they bargained for. Does a nice job setting the scene and letting it affect where the story goes. Nice empathy for the little guy.”

Second place

Duane A. Beyal, Navajo Times

“Good use of detail and scene setting. Doesn’t hit reader over the head with opinion there but allows the writing to take reader there. The alien bit in one column was a bit much and probably unnecessary.”

Third place

David Rupkalvis, The Explorer

“Clear and concise writing. To the point. Could work on bringing reader into the story a little more. Less “I” and more of showing the reader what you are seeing and hearing. But overall, crisp and nicely done.”

B18. Community editorial writing

Judge: Jill Burcum, an editorial writer with the Minneapolis Star Tribune, was a 2015 Pulitzer Prize finalist for editorial writing for “Separate and Unequal,” a series on dilapidated Bureau of Indian Education schools.

First place

Staff, Arizona Daily Wildcat: “It happened here twice,” “UA tobacco ban just smoke and mirrors” and “President Ann Weaver Hart should have shown solidarity and refused bonus after budget cuts and 320 layoffs at the UA.”

“Engagingly written and smartly reported editorials that tackled serious topics – gun control, administrative spending and a loosely-enforced campus smoking ban. Appreciated their ambition for the editorial page and willingness to take on higher-ups, such as Ann Weaver Hart, the university’s president.”

Second place (tie)

Jonathan Clark, Nogales International: “Undue red tape,” “Workers need advocates, too” and “Interscholastic inflexibility.”

“Bravo for making local government back down when bureaucrats pushed to prevent access to public information! Also glad to see the editorial page stand up for local softball players who were unfairly penalized by a sporting organization. Terrific watchdog journalism.”

And

Cindy Yurth, Navajo Times: “Pick your poison”

“Writer’s strong command of environmental and public health issues yielded a consumer-friendly editorial on a regional environmental disaster: Animas River mining pollution. This editorial provided a valuable public service by answering many readers’ questions about their drinking water.”

B19. Community personality profile

Judge: Sarah Schweitzer, a reporter for the Boston Globe, was a Pulitzer finalist in feature writing in 2015 and a member of the Globe staff that won the Pulitzer in 2014 for breaking news coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing. She shared Columbia University’s Dart Award in 2011. Her work has been featured in The Best American Newspaper Narratives.

First place

Debbie Weingarten, Edible Baja Arizona: “Michelle Lesco doesn’t do slow food”

“Lovely writing that respects her subject without failing to pause and highlight the lighter side of her quest. Nice turns of phrase: ‘Gastronomical alter-ego,’ ‘her eatography,’ ‘something between a proselytizing teacher and a performance poet.’ Impressively, goes a long way in explaining what motivates a competitive eater.”

Second place

Alastair Bitsoi, Navajo Times: “Shear enjoyment”

“Lively writing, live reporting. Story felt organic, not taken from a press release. Vivid details: Helpers called “wool men,” no grazing before a shear, scissors not a razor. I wanted to hear more about the sisters – from them, from family and friends – for a more rounded view of the pair and their lives.”

Third place

Norma Gonzalez, Nogeles International: “At 89, local woman continues to feed the hungry in Mexico”

“Good reporting in the field, which makes the story feel real and newly discovered.

Vivid details left me wanting to know more about Isabel Leal and the men she helps (some sleep in a cave?!?).”

B20. Community human interest writing

Judge: Barbara Marshall, a features writer with the Palm Beach Post, is a frequent honoree in the Society for Features Journalism contest.

First place

Alysa Landry, Navajo Times: “History surfacing: newly digitized”

“A fascinating read with fine details about a shameful period in American history.”

Second place

Murphy Woodhouse, Nogales International: “Neighborhoods of Nogales” series

“A strong sense of place, immersive storytelling and a sharp eye for intimate details make this group of neighborhood stories a delight.”

Third place

Maria Ines Taracena, Tucson Weekly: “Dignified displacement” and “Evicted”

“A sympathetic but even-handed look at why homelessness is so intractable. The reporter’s clear, incisive writing gives readers indelible portraits of people living on the street and lets her subjects tell us their stories.”

Honorable mention

Sean Logan, Cronkite News: “For one couple, staying sober is the key to their relationship”

“This writer managed to give us an intimate view of a couple’s heroin addiction and their struggles to stay clean. Told in short sentences and quick quotes, the story delivers a punch that allows readers to make up their own minds about these two troubled people.”

B21. Community short-form writing

Judge: Carlos Frías, a features writer and occasional columnist for The Palm Beach Post, has won numerous awards from the Society for Features Journalists, the Associated Press Sports Editors, the Society for Professional Journalists, and The Best American Sports Writing.

First place

Murphy Woodhouse, Nogales International: “Local artist’s catrinas add life to Day of the Dead”

“Woodhouse’s quirky story grabs you with the freak factor and pulls you in to tell a very human story.”

Second place

Luige del Puerto, Arizona Capitol Times: “Do you have $21 to spare?”

“Del Puerto cleverly whets our appetite with all we could do with these hypothetical $21 and then he snatches them from us, and that keeps us around for an important public-service story that might otherwise go overlooked.”

Third place

Ben Giles, Arizona Capitol Times: “Montgomery calls pot-smoking vet enemy of Constitution”

“Strong use of quotes prods you along a controversial story that reveals players in a key election.”

B22. Community arts criticism

Judge: Evans Donnell, lead writer for NashvilleArtsCritic.com, is a former theater, opera and classical music critic for The Tennessean. He was selected as a fellow for the 2004 National Critics Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, and for several National Endowment for the Arts arts journalism institutes for theater, musical theater, classical music and opera.

First place

C.J. Shane, Sonoran Arts Network

“C.J. Shane’s visual arts reviews have the authority and assurance of a journalist who knows and loves the discipline well. We get sharp insights coupled with relevant reportage in a comprehensive package with the fine narrative flow of mature writing.”

Second place

Heather Hoch, Tucson Weekly

“Heather Hoch gives us the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of restaurants in her food reviews. Like all good critics she turns her experiences into an engaging conversation – it makes us feel like she’s telling a friend about the meal she just had.”

No third place

B23. Community arts reporting

Judge: Daniel Miller, who covers the film business for the Los Angeles Times. was named 2015 Journalist of the Year in the Los Angeles Press Club’s National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards.

First place

Shondiin Silversmith, Navajo Times

“Shondiin Silversmith’s stories are well written and tell unique tales about the community. The story about Navajo designs being appropriated by fashion designers — and the ire a particular designer’s Navajo-inspired dress has drawn — was interesting and well told. A piece about a local

skateboard designer was entertaining and engaging.”

Second place

Steve Stockmar, Sierra Vista Herald/Bisbee Daily Review

“Steve Stockmar’s stories on the Bisbee music scene were a pleasure to read because they were clearly written by a true insider. In particular, he writes with great descriptive details that place the reader right in the middle of the action. Strong ledes, too.”

No third place

B24. Community food and beverage reporting

Judge: Nancy Luna, a food writer for the Orange County Register, A familiar name on the Southern California food scene, Nancy has covered the restaurant industry since 2005. She created the popular online persona, Fast Food Maven, in 2007 and has won numerous Orange County Press Club awards for her food, restaurant, travel and business stories. In 2012, she won the OC Restaurant Association’s first Golden Foodie Award as the area’s best food writer.

First place

Lisa O’Neill, Edible Baja Arizona: “Ingraining: Bringing white Sonora wheat back to the Sonoran Desert”

“Lisa O’Neill masterfully tells the story of a village of bakers, farmers and scientists who have devoted their energies to bringing back the white Sonora wheat to the Sonora desert. She reels you in from the get go, weaving a tale of passion, preservation and patience.”

Second place

Heather Hoch, Tucson Weekly: “Bread and Bones: La Estrella”

“Heather Hoch gives her readers a cultural history lesson on the origins of ‘pan de muerto’ through the eyes of local bakers. Vivid bread-making details make you feel like you’re watching the bakers in the kitchen.”

No third place.

B25. Community headline writing

Judge: Joe Berkery is a longtime news editor and front-page headline writer for the Philadelphia Daily News.

First place

Adam Gaub, Maricopa Monitor: “Board blunts Voyles’ protests on Rx marijuana grow site”

“Every imaginable play on pot, weed, joint, etc. has been used. Never saw blunt and it works perfectly. Nice job.”

Second place

Matthew Paulson, Casa Grande Dispatch: “Much abrew about nothing?”

“Clever way to work in a coffee reference. Beer and coffee often get the ‘brew’ reference, but this was unique.”

Third place

Adam Gaub, Maricopa Monitor: “PD chief candid about cameras”

“Nice way to work in some word play that fits.”

Statewide writing

C1. The Don Bolles Award for Investigative Reporting

Judge: Eric Lipton, an investigative reporter for The New York Times, is a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize, in 2015 for investigative reporting for a series of stories about state attorneys general, and in 1992, for explanatory journalism for a series of the scientists who built the flawed mirror in the Hubble Space Telescope. He also won an award in 2015 from Investigative Reporters and Editors.

First place

Rob O’Dell and Craig Harris, Arizona Republic: Public Disservice series

“This series shows considerable effort to dig deeply into an important and often under-reported topic. The Republic team did not just document the many harassment cases settled and at a considerable cost to taxpayers. It then looked at the employment records of the supervisors whose actions generated the payouts and found that they were often not disciplined and perhaps even promoted. It is obvious there was a significant amount of work involved in gathering the information necessary to tell these stories. The lead on the Oct. 20 piece about the large number of settlements at the Department of Corrections should have been re-worked. I found it somewhat confusing, as the reader is redirected. But overall this was a well-done series that makes clear to state officials that the public is watching.”

Second place

Joe Ferguson and Caitlin Schmidt, Arizona Daily Star: Tucson Police and Prostitution

“This running series of stories shows persistence on the part of the reporters, who clearly were not going to let their questions about the circumstances at so-called ‘By Spanish’ go unanswered. The Daily Star handled this investigation responsibly, withholding names of officers who had been cleared, but making sure those who were fired were held accountable. The paper did a public service by ensuring that this matter was not simply swept under the rug, with several dozen open records requests and persistent reporting. This is classic accountability journalism.”

Third place

Carol Ann Alaimo and Emily Bregel, Arizona Daily Star: Faith Christian Church.

“The Daily Stair aggressively followed through on a tip, doing extensive reporting on the operations of Faith Christian Church and raising questions about its operations at the University of Arizona, leading to or at least contributing to an investigation by university authorities. Obviously, a lot of labor was involved in this story. And it was carefully written, to not overstate what the reporters had found. That said, for this reader, it remained hard to determine definitively if the church was in fact a ‘cult’ or just had some odd and disturbing practices. To its credit, the story let readers judge that on their own. It is an important piece of enterprise reporting.”

C2. Statewide public service journalism

Judge: Fred Schulte, senior reporter for the Center for Public Integrity, is a four-time Pulitzer Prize finalist for investigative projects on Baltimore’s arcane ground rents, excessive heart surgery deaths in veterans’ hospitals, substandard Medicaid plans and the hidden dangers of cosmetic surgery. He has received the George Polk Award for medical reporting, two IRE awards and two Philip Meyer Awards for projects on Medicare and Medicare Advantage overbilling.

First place

Craig Harris, Arizona Republic: Transit chief investigation

“When the target of a newspaper reporting project resigns before the story even runs, you know you’re on the right track. Good job!”

Second place

Staff, Arizona Republic: “How safe is your most precious cargo?”

“An important story and public service campaign that could help save lives.”

Third place

Rachel Leingang and Hank Stephenson, Arizona Capitol Times: “Stonewalled”

“The top winner in the smaller category, this also deserves mention as among the best overall.”

C3. Statewide breaking news

Judge: Richard Wagoner, metro editor for The Seattle Times, was part of the team that won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news reporting for The Times’ coverage of a landslide that killed 43 people north of Seattle.

First place

Staff, Arizona Republic: “Death toll rises to 12”

“A solid, well-told breaking news story covered all the angles to this tragedy. The photos are compelling, as are the anecdotes in the main story from the woman who shot video of the flood. The Q&A about the risks of flash floods was helpful, and the sidebar about whether the isolated residents on this community were aware of the weather-service warnings brought a watchdog element to the story.”

Second place

Staff, Arizona Republic: “Serenity shattered”

“The Republic covered a lot of ground with its report on the campus shooting in Flagstaff. The profiles of the victims along with that the alleged shooter produced a more balanced report. Also, the paper made a good call by putting the story in the context of other recent campus shootings nationally.”

No third place.

C4. Statewide public safety reporting

Judge: John Ingold covers federal courts and medical marijuana for The Denver Post.

First place

Richard Ruelas, Arizona Republic: “What ‘sex trafficking’ really means” and “Shift in attitudes”

“Through sophisticated observation and poignant detail, Ruelas shows how law enforcement officials and activists have created a new approach to policing prostitution and providing help to victims. This is a fantastic, intelligent example of a journalist stepping back to provide greater context to everyday headlines.”

Second place

Perla Trevizo, Arizona Daily Star: “Lots of immigration checks run by TPD; few are deported” and “Fear grips Sonoyta”

“These were entered separately, but I thought they deserved to be recognized together. Trevizo shows courage and smarts in covering the border, offering readers insight into two aspects of the same broad story that is shaping their community. In the first, Trevizo provides a necessary, question-raising checkup on the efficacy of a controversial law. In the second, she travels to a region gripped by violence and provides that most elemental journalistic service: She bears witness.”

Third place

Elizabeth Stuart, Phoenix New Times: “Brain-damaged Roger Scott may be only one executed in Debra Milke case”

“Stuart raises troubling questions about why Roger Scott, one of three people sentenced to die for the horrifying murder of a 4-year-old, is the only one still facing execution and, in doing so, exposes the flaws and inequity in a justice system that can help some while condemning others. This is a vital analysis every time a state seeks to use its greatest authority by imposing the death penalty.”

C5. Statewide John Kolbe Politics Reporting Award

Judge: Nigel Jaquiss, a reporter at Willamette Week in Portland, won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting; three first place awards from Investigative Reporters and Editors, including a 2014 IRE medal for reporting that led to the resignation of Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber; and the 2016 Chairman’s Citation from the National Press Foundation.

First place

Yvonne Wingett Sanchez, Arizona Republic: coverage of Gov. Doug Ducey

“In a series of five deeply reported pieces, Sanchez examined various aspects of how the new governor was approaching his job: the cloud of black money that got him elected; whether his tough talk on administration as a candidate translated into action as governor (no); whether he was hiring women and minorities, living his faith or using private email to conduct the public’s business. Sanchez used different yardsticks — his campaign promises, his predecessors, and even Hilary Clinton — to help readers understand how he’s performing. Her coverage is nuanced and rich.”

Second place

Brenna Goth, Arizona Republic: coverage of Phoenix’s proposed transit tax hike

“Goth moved way beyond the campaign rhetoric to take a deep dive into the city’s previous transit tax hike to show readers what got accomplished and what didn’t. She expanded her focus to look at what comparable cities had done, particularly in terms of light-rail expansion. Goth provided readers with broad context to help them consider a multi-billion, multi-year commitment.”

Third place

Alia Beard Rau, Arizona Republic: “A New generation of influencers”

“As the influence of so-called ‘dark money’ explodes in Arizona, Rau provided both historical perspective on how powerful institutions and individuals have influenced Arizona politics for decades; who’s doing it now; and how for all the changes the state has undergone, the influence of the business elite on state politics is not so different from 40 years ago.”

C6. Statewide government reporting

Judge: Joe Mahr, an investigative reporter for the Chicago Tribune, was one of three reporters for the Toledo Blade to win the 2004 Pulitzer Prize in investigative reporting for exposing how the Army covered up the longest-known string of war crimes committed by a battle unit in Vietnam. Last year he and two colleagues were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in local reporting for showing rampant dysfunction in Chicago’s most lawless suburb.

First place

Rebekah Sanders, Arizona Republic: Congressional coverage

“This collection of stories takes readers behind the scenes of the typical political articles, offering a deeper look not only at policies but also personality. The stories point out questionable actions while maintaining a fairness to best allow readers to draw their own conclusions.”

Second place

Ray Stern, Phoenix New Times: coverage of DES

“It’s rare for a state agency to be led by a controversial figure who’s not afraid of the spotlight or speaking his mind. This collection of stories captures all the flavor and controversy, while being careful not to cross the line into taking sides.”

Third place

Kristen Hwang, Cronkite News: series on tribal remains

“This was a very thorough look at the effects of and debate surrounding a 25-year-old federal law requiring museums and other places receiving federal money to repatriate Native American human remains, along with cultural and sacred items. With solid readability and wide scope, it offered a rich explanation of the questions surrounding how the law was written and criticism of how effective it had been.”

C7. Statewide health reporting

Judge: Mark Johnson, health and science reporter for The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, shared the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in Explanatory Reporting and has been a Pulitzer finalist on three other occasions. His first book, co-authored with Kathleen Gallagher, is, “One in a Billion: The Story of Nic Volker and the Dawn of Genomic Medicine.”

First place

Dennis Wagner, Arizona Republic: “Scandal at the VA”

“Aggressive reporting that has made the VA accountable for its lackluster service and toxic culture. Wagner also presents a balanced picture, giving the VA credit for improvements. One cannot help suspecting that veterans are receiving better care because the VA knows Wagner is watching.”

Second place

Stephanie Innes, Arizona Daily Star: “Pay up front or no surgery” “Very interesting, thoroughly reported and balanced story on a practice that seems heartless and ethically questionable. Was surprised that there were no follow-up reports submitted. This could have been a strong national story.”

Third place

Caitlin McGlade, Arizona Republic: “Arizona Schools not enforcing measles rules”

“Good topic and excellent enterprise in checking the data. What’s unclear from the submission is whether Arizona actually saw ‘a measles outbreak’ as is suggested in the May 6 story. This submission might have finished higher had that point been clarified.”

C8. Statewide environmental/science reporting

Judge: Ken Armstrong, a staff writer at The Marshall Project, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter who previously worked at The Seattle Times and Chicago Tribune, where his work helped prompt the Illinois governor to suspend executions and later empty death row.

First place

Brandon Loomis, Arizona Republic: “As the river runs dry”

“It’s one thing to be ambitious. It’s another to execute. This ambitious project executes, with breadth (reporting from Peru, Colorado, California, and, of course, Arizona) and depth, using accessible language and lucid analysis to make sense of a complicated subject: the impact of climate change and population growth on a diminishing water source, and the steps that might be taken to save the Colorado River. This series could have been, if you will, dry. Instead it was consistently compelling – and felt urgent, without being alarmist.”

Second place

Ron Dungan, Arizona Republic: “Controlled chaos”

“This story – about a popular, remote creek – sneaks up on you, becoming, as it winds along, a character study of a wise and patient river ranger; a dive into our historical love-hate relationship with dams; and, perhaps most important, a metaphor for our persistent refusal to give the wilderness its due, evidenced by how we set out on a rugged 10-mile hike in flip flops (flip flops!) and refuse to believe that our Google Maps and GPS might be wrong, even as the evidence (as in, a cliff) is right before our eyes. This story is beautifully done and a pleasure to read.”

Third place

Kelly Vaughn, Arizona Highways: “The blue”

“There’s such an appealing transparency to this piece, a self-declared argument for extending wilderness protection to the Blue Range Primitive Area. The writer turns a long walk in the woods into an elegant meditation on wilderness politics, which, as illustrated by this landscape stretched across two states, can be awfully arbitrary: The New Mexico side, thanks to backing from the state’s congressional delegation, received protection from mining, while the Arizona side, ‘lost without political advocates,’ remains vulnerable.”

C9. Statewide social issues reporting

Judge: Duaa Eldeib, an investigative reporter at the Chicago Tribune, was a finalist along with two colleagues for a 2015 Pulitzer Prize for a series exposing abuse, rape and prostitution at residential treatment centers.

First place:

Jimmy Magahern, Phoenix Magazine: “West of Westboro”

“This profile is an excellent example of telling the entire story. The depth of reporting was clear when the reporter went beyond the fiery sermons and profiled the man, the pastor, the father, the husband, the brother, the student, the running buddy. Writing about such a polarizing figure, the reporter made sure to explore all facets of the pastor’s life. To illustrate just how revered this pastor is to his followers, the reporter told the story of a man who initially defended his brother when he came out to his family but now does not speak to him. The writing was beautiful and the images – like that of his wife and eight children filling an entire row at the church – really brought the story home.”

Second place:

Miriam Wasser, Phoenix New Times: Phoenix homeless shelter closing

“The reporter shed light on an often-overlooked population and was not content to write one story and move on. She stuck with the story, going back time and again to speak to those who were affected and seek answers from government officials. Her in-depth reporting revealed that the initial plan was essentially no plan. When officials hammered out a blueprint, she followed up to see how it would be implemented. Her detailed descriptions were vital in communicating the conditions the hundreds of men and women faced along the way.”

Third place:

Patty Machelor, Arizona Daily Star: “This mom chooses teenage boys, not babies, to adopt

“This story tackled an uncomfortable reality – older children are far less likely to be adopted than their young, cherubic counterparts. The reporter interviewed a woman who had adopted four teenage boys about the challenges of navigating adolescence without a family to love. The reporter was able to get teens who have suffered loss and difficulty to speak candidly. One girl recalled feeling baffled when a family took her out to dinner in hopes of adopting her. She was aloof during the dinner, in large part because she wondered, ‘Why in the world would anyone want to adopt a teenager when they could adopt a little kid or a baby?’ In addition, the reporter used court records and statistics to buttress the poignant accounts.”

C10. Statewide education reporting

Judge: Erica L. Green, who covers the Baltimore City school system for The Sun, has won nearly one dozen local and national awards, including a 2015 Education Writers Association for investigative journalism. She was also a 2014 finalist for the Livingston Awards for Young Journalists. Most recently, she was part of the team that won the national breaking news award from the American Society of News Editors for coverage of Baltimore’s 2015 riots.

First place

Carol Ann Alaimo, Arizona Daily Star: Brown Mackie College

“Deep dive, and hard-hitting, digestable detailing of the failings of a training program and those it affected. The follow-through on the lapses from all perspectives was impressive. The story into the way that this program failed nursing students was particularly compelling.”

Second place

Alia Beard Rau, Arizona Republic: Arizona tax credits

“Comprehensive and well-researched series into tax credits in Arizona and how they’re being used. Story about key administrator being paid six-figures was particularly strong.

Third place

Rob O’dell and Anne Ryman, Arizona Republic: “Complexes pay ASU for ‘Good Neighbor’ label

“Deep, smart and well-researched investigation into the politics and money that allows universities and communities nationwide to co-exist, often times in turmoil and silence until something tragic happens. Anyone who has attended college or lives within miles of one can relate. Well organized, poignantly written.”

C11. Statewide immigration reporting

Richard Marosi, who the covered Mexico and the border for the Los Angeles times for a decade, is a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist and winner of the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award.

First place

Elizabeth Stuart, Phoenix New Times: “Saved: It took a Tucson church and 10,000 Arizonans to stop the deportation of Rosa Robles Loreto”

“A great piece. A richly detailed story illuminating the tragic consequences of our broken immigration system.”

Second place

Daniel Gonzalez, Arizona Republic: “Beating the odds”

“Unflinching and compelling, this profile really gives readers an incisive look at the challenges of being a school principal.”

Third place

Perla Trevizo, Arizona Daily Star and Fernanda Echavarri, Arizona Public Media

“Wow. A powerful, wrenching series, told with great compassion and depth.”

C12. Statewide business reporting

Judge: Zach Mider, a reporter at Bloomberg News, won the 2014 Pultizer Prize for explanatory reporting for his work on corporate tax avoidance.

First place

Perla Trevizo, Arizona Daily Star: “Jobs long gone, factory workers still show up”

“Perla Trevizo reports on the risks to workers when factory owners flee with unpaid debts, and how market forces and government policies play a role.”

Second place

Jimmy Magahern, Phoenix Magazine: “Risky business”

“Jimmy Magahern tells the surprising stories of the entrepreneurs staking out turf in Arizona’s growing marijuana marketplace.”

Third place

Lauren Saria, Phoenix New Times: “Wok away”

“In an often-overlooked corner of American life, Lauren Saria has a fascinating tale of food, culture and commerce.”

C13. Statewide sports beat reporting

Judge: Matthew Stanmyre, a staff writer at The Star-Ledger and NJ Advance Media, writes feature and enterprise stories with an emphasis on local sports and projects. He has won 12 national writing awards from the Associated Press Sports Editors for beat writing, project reporting, feature writing and breaking news coverage.

First place

Jon Gold, Arizona Daily Star

“Really impressed by the storytelling and writing, crafted with such depth of detail — the signs of great reporting. The story about the softball player gave me chills; the lead is just exquisite and has you hanging on every word. Creative and compelling storytelling found in everyday subjects. The author took community college athletes and made them as interesting as pros, if not more so.”

Second place

Kent Somers, Arizona Republic

“Impressive portfolio filled with unique and important topics, especially the Julian Edelman piece. Incredibly well done and well written. The author clearly has mastered his beat and produced several stories you probably won’t find anywhere else. Wonderful writing — simple, declarative sentences.”

Third place

Jeff Metcalfe, Arizona Republic

“A strong blend of stories that provides a little bit of everything for the reader. Another example of an author that has an incredible grasp of his beat. Particularly enjoyed the variety, including the hits on lesser-known sports such as swimming and the club hockey program getting elevated to Division 1 status. Well done finding good stories outside of the biggest sports.”

C14. Statewide sports feature reporting

First place

Jeff Metcalfe, Arizona Republic: “Taking her biggest steps”

“This feature stands out because it profiles an athlete doing something we all take for granted — standing up. There are vivid details, and the story structure is superb (Lap One, Lap Two, etc.). Read it all the way through and felt exhausted. Twice.”

Second place

Amy Silverman, Phoenix New Times: “Game Changer: Arizona schools are pioneering a new kind of Special Olympics”

“What comes shining through in practically every graf is the energy and passion the writer has for the subject. This is something the writer is invested in personally, and it shows. We operate in an era of look-at-me journalism. This screams look-at-this. There’s a difference.”

Third place

Dan Bickley, Arizona Republic: “A football life like no other”

“Capturing the essence of any individual is difficult unless you go to their own environment. The writer gets some fascinating and vivid details about the subject’s home and personal life that you simply cannot get by hanging around the complex and talking to the subject in his or her office. This also leans on family members to tell the story, not just the high-profile subject himself.”

C16. Statewide sports column writing

Judge: Michael Sielski is sports columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

First place

Paola Boivin, Arizona Republic

The column about the Tiger Woods heckler was excellent, and Boivin showed a willingness both to report her columns thoroughly and to take on tough topics.

Second place

Greg Hansen, Arizona Daily Star

“A deft touch in each piece. The column on the UA marching band at Super Bowl I stood out.”

No third place.

C17. Statewide column writing

Judge: Tony Messenger, metro columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, was a 2015 Pulitzer finalist for his series of editorials on Ferguson and he won the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sigma Delta Chi award for best editorials. In 2014, he won the Burl Osborne award for editorial leadership from the American Society of News Editors and the Walker Stone editorial writing award from the Scripps-Howard Foundation.

First place

Tim Steller, Arizona Daily Star

“Tim writes with passion for the downtrodden and his columns have a sense of place. He writes with purpose and clarity, and he shows just enough of himself to give the reader additional depth.”

Second place

Bill Coates, Casa Grande Dispatch

“A tremendous story-teller who keeps the reader to the end, giving them more than they bargained for. Does a nice job setting the scene and letting it affect where the story goes. Nice empathy for the little guy.”

Third place

Stephen Lemons, Phoenix New Times

“Strong opinion writing. Takes us where he wants to go, backs up assertion with fact, and doesn’t hold back. Confident writer.”

C18. Statewide editorial writing

Judge: Jill Burcum, an editorial writer with the Minneapolis Star Tribune, was a 2015 Pulitzer Prize finalist for editorial writing for “Separate and Unequal,” a series on dilapidated Bureau of Indian Education schools.

First place

Sarah Garrecht Gassen, Arizona Daily Star: “Teacher evaluations should be rigorous, not punitive,” “Tucson Unified superintendent’s 24 percent raise” and “Employers want college graduates, not prison beds.”

“Well-written, muscular editorials that took a deep dive into state and regional education issues. The newspaper’s editorial staff more than rose to the occasion when local school boards failed to ask tough questions. Editorials are clear, accessible and well-argued – and very likely led to improvements and reforms. Consistent, hard-hitting coverage like this illustrates the vital contributions that editorial writers make to journalism and their communities.”

Second place

Staff, Arizona Daily Wildcat: “It happened here twice,” “UA tobacco ban just smoke and mirrors” and “President Ann Weaver Hart should have shown solidarity and refused bonus after budget cuts and 320 layoffs at the UA.”

“Engagingly written and smartly reported editorials that tackled serious topics – gun control, administrative spending and a loosely-enforced campus smoking ban. Appreciated their ambition for the editorial page and willingness to take on higher-ups, such as Ann Weaver Hart, the university’s president.”

Third place (tie)

Jonathan Clark, Nogales International: “Undue red tape,” “Workers need advocates, too” and “Interscholastic inflexibility.”

“Bravo for making local government back down when bureaucrats pushed to prevent access to public information! Also glad to see the editorial page stand up for local softball players who were unfairly penalized by a sporting organization. Terrific watchdog journalism.”

And

Cindy Yurth, Navajo Times: “Pick your poison”

“Writer’s strong command of environmental and public health issues yielded a consumer-friendly editorial on a regional environmental disaster: Animas River mining pollution. This editorial provided a valuable public service by answering many readers’ questions about their drinking water.”

C19. Statewide personality profile

Judge: Sarah Schweitzer, a reporter for the Boston Globe, was a Pulitzer finalist in feature writing in 2015 and a member of the Globe staff that won the Pulitzer in 2014 for breaking news coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing. She shared Columbia University’s Dart Award in 2011. Her work has been featured in The Best American Newspaper Narratives.

First place

Elizabeth Stuart, Phoenix New Times: “Gunslinger”

“Expansive and compelling glimpse into one man’s gospel of guns. Solid structure and writing. Fairly calls him out on a highly nuanced understanding of his role – i.e. he ‘gets huffy if you label him a member of the gun lobby (‘I am a gun-law expert,’ he stresses.)’ Later makes clear that his own title could be misleading, with some questioning the content of his books and his claim to expert understanding. I would have liked more explanation of why Korwin became so enamored of guns. Story says he bought one on a lark and then wrote a book about gun laws, but how and why did he come to see them as vital to democracy?”

Second place

Michael Kiefer, Arizona Republic: “Sheriff Joe Arpaio”

“A comprehensive overview of Sheriff Joe. As an outsider, I knew some of these details, but having them aggregated and expanded upon, mixed with the writer’s own experiences with the sheriff, helped paint a more complete portrait. The story went a long way in getting behind the hype. More fresh reporting would have made it even richer.”

Third place

Jon Gold, Arizona Daily Star: “Players meet again, 74 years after the big game”

“Sweet and tender telling of memories and paths not taken. The women come across as charming and wistful, and left me with a sense of what might have been in a different era. Would have liked a bit more explanation of the backdrop – what were the two women doing together after all this time?”

C20. Statewide human interest writing

Judge: Barbara Marshall, a features writer with the Palm Beach Post, is a frequent honoree in the Society for Features Journalism contest.

First place

Karina Bland, Arizona Republic: “How James Foley changed the world, one life at a time”

“A near-perfect tale told in clear, unfussy prose by a master storyteller who understands narrative structure. Short, well-crafted sentences make this propulsive story leap off the page, while the deft weaving of humor and heartbreak lodge indelibly in our brains.”

Second place

Shaun McKinnon, Arizona Republic: “The Amazing Rodeo”

“A vividly painted slice-of-life written that offers indelible portraits of a family trying to hang on to a Southwest tradition.”

Third place

Ron Dungan, Arizona Republic: “The defiant death and secret burial of Ed Abbey”

“It’s not easy to write a detailed story decades after it happened, but this writer manages with color, a strong sense of place and time and plenty of drama. You know by the end of the second paragraph that you’re in for a good ride.”

Honorable mention

Perla Trevizo, Arizona Daily Star: “Dump is home for pickers”

“The reporter immersed herself in a world of desperate outcasts and emerged with a beautifully reported and sympathetic portrait of what it takes to survive.”

C21. Statewide short-form writing

Judge: Carlos Frías, a features writer and occasional columnist for The Palm Beach Post, has won numerous awards from the Society for Features Journalists, the Associated Press Sports Editors, the Society for Professional Journalists, and The Best American Sports Writing.

First place

Kristen Cook, Arizona Daily Star: “Family knows how to rock”

“It was hard to pick this winner from Cook’s submissions alone. She has an eye for finding a good, off-beat story. Her best offering, ‘Family knows how to rock,’ is the best of all the submissions. She tells this story with a balance of flirtatious writing that both informs and entertains.”

Second place

Murphy Woodhouse, Nogales International: “Local artist’s catrinas add life to Day of the Dead”

Third place

Kristen Cook, Arizona Daily Star: “This gym’s gone to the dogs”

“A gym for dogs: Cook found it and she wrote about it with personality. A fun story with playful turns of phrase.”

C22. Statewide arts criticism

Judge: Evans Donnell, lead writer for NashvilleArtsCritic.com, is a former theater, opera and classical music critic for The Tennessean. He was selected as a fellow for the 2004 National Critics Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, and for several National Endowment for the Arts arts journalism institutes for theater, musical theater, classical music and opera.

First place

Dominic Armato, The Arizona Republic

“Dominic Armato hooks us and entertainingly reels us in to food reviews that are as informative, discerning and funny as any stories a witty dinner party raconteur could tell. And he probably deserves a bonus for dedication after taste-testing 30 items at the 2015 Arizona State Fair for one of his articles!”

Second place

Cathalena E. Burch, Arizona Daily Star

“Cathalena E. Burch paints a picture of her experiences reviewing music concerts and operas – from the cotton-candy-pink color of a character’s hair to ‘big blops’ of rain at a music festival. We not only know what she thinks of a show – we feel like we’re right beside her.”

Third place

Barbara VanDenburgh, The Arizona Republic

“Like a well-framed closeup, Barbara VanDenburgh’s very focused movie reviews are clear and concise. We not only get a vivid feel for the film and interesting background but we’re sure from the lede on about her opinion of a feature. Her writing, as some of my screenwriting friends like to say, is tight.”

C23. Statewide arts reporting

Judge: Daniel Miller, who covers the film business for the Los Angeles Times. was named 2015 Journalist of the Year in the Los Angeles Press Club’s National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards.

First place

Cathalena E. Burch, Arizona Daily Star

“Cathalena Burch of the Daily Star has an eye for a good yarn and that’s apparent in her amusing story about a local musician’s attempt to meet trumpeter Herb Alpert. She also has a nice, detailed story about a local musical instrument shop that could be on its last legs.”

Second place

Kathleen Allen, Arizona Daily Star

Kathleen Allen’s portfolio of Daily Star stories was strong. In particular, her story about an unknown 92-year-old painter named Robert Barber was a great read — a standout among all entrants.”

Third place

David Accomazzo, Phoenix New Times

“David Accomazzo chronicles the Arizona music scene with a connoisseur’s

eye for engaging local tales. Of particular interest was his profile of Maynard James Keenan, who has a surprising (and thriving) wine business.”

C24. Statewide food and beverage reporting

Judge: Nancy Luna, a food writer for the Orange County Register, A familiar name on the Southern California food scene, Nancy has covered the restaurant industry since 2005. She created the popular online persona, Fast Food Maven, in 2007 and has won numerous Orange County Press Club awards for her food, restaurant, travel and business stories. In 2012, she won the OC Restaurant Association’s first Golden Foodie Award as the area’s best food writer.

First place

Dominic Armato, Arizona Republic: “Cracking the Hana egg: A brash take on tradition” “Dominic Armato explains the story behind the Japanese culture clash dish: the Hana egg. It’s a masterful description of how one Japanese family blends old and modern techniques to create the elegant tempura fried poached egg. He puts you at the table with him, and you leave wanting a bite of the exquisite dish.”

Second place

Gwen Ashley Walters, Phoenix Magazine: “Saintly stockers”

“Gwen Ashley Walters tells a fascinating story of how one Mormon family stocks food supplies for a year — a misunderstood practice that is now trending outside the church.”

Third place

Dominic Armato, Arizona Republic: “The three restaurants that led me to this door”

“The Arizona Republic’s new dining critic Dominic Armato introduces himself as a modern age food critic. He boldly sets himself apart from prickly faceless undercover rivals and unqualified Yelpers by promising to take you on a culinary journey that will please both your palate and your mind.”

C25. Statewide headline writing

Judge: Joe Berkery is a longtime news editor and front-page headline writer for the Philadelphia Daily News.

First place

Dave Ord, Arizona Daily Star: “After 26 years, this UA assistant can surely judge a back by his cover”

“Excellent word play, my favorite headline of the bunch. All three of this headline writer’s submissions were strong.”

Second place

Lee Shappell, Arizona Republic: “They’re a page right out of history”

“Particularly effective for print readers who tend to be older. This Flintstones reference likely had the readers humming the theme song (I know I was).”

Third place

Lee Shappell, Arizona Republic: “Liquid asset”

“Works on several levels, meaning this was effective word play. Liquid (canal) … Asset (helpful to the community) … Liquid Asset (business reference) … amazing what just two words can do.”

Statewide/Community Design Categories

Judges: The design staff of the Boston Globe.

D1. Community front-page layout/design

First place

Bobby Martin and Olson Patterson, Navajo Times: “March to the championship”

“Dynamic page driven by dynamic photo cropping that gives the design a sense of motion.”

No second or third place.

D2. Community non-deadline layout/design

No awards given.

D3. Statewide Page One layout/design

First place

Nicole Vas, Arizona Republic: “Death drug intercepted”

“Impressive page, especially considering the slim visual possibilities.”

No second or third place.

D4. Statewide non-deadline layout/design

No awards given.

D5. Statewide tabloid/magazine cover design

First place

Peter Storch and Chris Whetzel, Phoenix New Times: “Banking on pot”

“Cheeky take on this story. It’s nice avoid the ubiquitous marijuana leaves as an illustration in favor of an approach with real attitude.”

Second place

Steve McMackin, Edible Baja Arizona: “The Food of Dia de los Muertos”

Bold and bright, it makes the reader want to take a closer look.

Third place

Steve McMackin, Edible Baja Arizona: “Bread”

“Simple, but clever and perfectly executed.”

D6. Statewide multi-page design

First place

Courtney Kan, Arizona Republic: water project

“Big, ambitious and an impressive use of all of the tools of storytelling from typography to photography to infographics.”

Second place

Steve McMackin, Edible Baja Arizona

“Beautiful photography — well-chosen and dramatically displayed — is the key to this powerful presentation.”

No third place.

D7. Statewide illustration, drawn

First place

Brian Stauffer, Phoenix New Times: “The trouble at Barrett”

“Great use of color and sinuous shapes elevates what could have been a familiar idea.”

Second place

Andrew J. Nilsen, Phoenix New Times: “Not suitable for children”

“Spare, sophisticated, with a smart use of scale and color to tell a tough story.”

Third place

Chiara Bautista, Arizona Daily Star: “Happy holidays wrapping paper”

A fun idea with every detail of this retro approach executed perfectly from the palette to the shapes the animals sit on.”

D8. Statewide illustration, photo-based

First place

Rachel Van Blankenship, Arizona Republic: “Good fellas”

“Smart conceptual solution and a bold page overall. Effective use of white, er, pink space.”

Second place

Rachel Van Blankenship, Arizona Republic: “Soulful Sam”

“Subtle and sophisticated. Nice use of color.”

Third place

Rachel Van Blankenship, Arizona Republic “Ermahgerd welcerme term ah herme”

“We almost didn’t pick this, but we kept coming back to it and laughing at both the idea and execution. A talker…”

Student Writing

E2. Student news reporting

Judge: Dennis Joyce is metro editor for the Tampa Tribune.

First place

Amelia Goe, Cronkite News: “Inspectors find dead rodent, undated food at Cactus League ballpark eateries”

“This story combines records research with interviews for the most ambitious entry in the category.”

Second place

Travis Arbon, Rachel Bouley, Sarah Jarvis and Courtney Pedroza, Downtown Devil: Downtown Phoenix development stories

“Stories in the package are well written and detail the promise and pain of transitioning from old to new.”

Third place

Bailey Bellavance, Arizona Daily Wildcat: “UA research team discovers liquid water on Mars”

“A significant and complicated scientific event is clearly chronicled.”

E3. Student features reporting

Judge: Stephanie Grimes is deputy features editor for the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

First place

Jacquelyn Oesterblad, Arizona Daily Wildcat: “Big dreams, no funding”

“Jacquelyn is a solid writer and I like that she found multiple undocumented students to talk to for the story. The information presented was easy to digest, which can be a challenge when writing about the law. The story itself did land a bit more on the hard news side of the spectrum — from a features standpoint, I would have loved to see more of the emotional side of things when it comes to dealing with DACA. We need to humanize the subject a bit more.”

Second place

Alexandra Scoville, Downtown Devil: “A history of Okilly Dokilly”

“This feature got stronger the further in you started. It could have used a bit more context up front; as it’s currently written, the writer assumes the reader has at least basic knowledge of Okilly Dokilly. The ‘Going Viral’ section is what really shines in this piece, as it brings the band members to life for the reader and showcases them as normal people having an abnormal experience. Switch up the organization a bit and add some background information up front and you have a really solid feature here.”

Third place

Jacquelyn Oesterblad: “Smoke and mirrors”

“Another solid effort here, with some great quotes scattered throughout. What would’ve made this a stronger contender: less of the back and forth approach between students and faculty and a tightened angle beyond the general overview of the situation. This one, too, starts to feel more like a hard news story than a feature. I’d focus more on one subject, bring that person to life and then fill the story in around them.

E4. Student sports reporting

Judge: Jesse Newell, Kansas beat writer for the Kansas City Star, received first-place honors in beat writing and feature writing in the 2015 Associated Press Sports Editors Contest.

First place

Patrick O’Connor, Arizona Daily Wildcat: “Greening the Game aims for its first zero-waste football game against Utah”

Second place

James Kelley, Arizona Daily Wildcat: “T.J.’s legacy”

Third place

Matt Wall, Arizona Daily Wildcat: “Haka no more”

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