2005 Arizona Press Club Awards
Each winning entry is followed by judges' comments
Judge: Lindor Reynolds, a columnist with the Winnepeg Free Press, won the 2005 Will Rogers Humanitarian Award from the National Society of Newspaper
Steve Stockmar, The Daily Courier: "BMHS grad honors late mom in style"
“Stockmar hits all the right notes with his poignant column about a sports fan risking arrest to spread his mother's ashes on a football field. This quirky story could have been mishandled but Stockmar writes with compassion and an element of humor about one man's love for mom and sports.”
Dan Dunn, College Times: "Rollin' hard and right quick"
“Parody is tough to pull off but Dunn manages to produce an hysterical column skewering both reality TV shows and the glamorization of gangster culture. He's got a sly turn of phrase and he's not afraid to use it.”
Betsy Rice, Maricopa Monitor, "City can save fire district from crisis"
“A straightforward editorial that clearly lays out the issues, backgrounds them thoroughly and offers up a solution. This is plain, good writing. No tricks, but she doesn't need them.”
Mid-sized newspapers and magazines
Judges: Daniel Weintraub is a public affairs columnist and Maria Henson is deputy editorial page editor for The Sacramento Bee
James E. Garcia, Latino Perspectives Magazine: “Bigots with guns still flout the law”
“The author uses a vivid description of a long-ago crime to bring the reader's attention to a modern injustice that he believes stems from the same root: bigotry. This commentary was gripping, stated its point clearly, and backed it up with solid logic. The conclusion hammered the parallel home with a flourish.”
No second or third place.
C31. News column writing
Judge: Andrea Peyser, a columnist for the New York Post, has been honored by the Newswomen's Club of New York, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, and the New York State Associated Press, which named her Columnist of the Year for 2004/5.
Michael Lacey, Phoenix New Times
“Lacey employs a passion for his subjects combined with exhaustive reporting that is nothing short of breathtaking. Even taking into account the expansive magazine format, he has to be rewarded for achieving the seemingly impossible — Lacey has persuaded this pro-cop, law-and-order type into believing that a man might possibly have been the victim of police misconduct. Nice work!”
Second place: Laurie Roberts, The Arizona Republic
“Roberts' infectiously snappy prose and ‘what're you, kidding me?'' style makes her a winner. Even ignoring a single, lazy, ‘Let me see if I've got this straight’ lede, by her third entry I was eagerly looking forward to polishing off the column with dessert: one of Roberts' signature kickers.”
Third place: Slim Smith, East Valley Tribune
“Slim Smith's folksy, common sense columns were a delightful read. I'd pick this guy for my school yard team any day.”
C32. Sports column writing
Judge: Karen Park is Better Health editor and sports copy desk manager at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which has been recognized as one of the best in the country by Associated Press Sports Editors.
Scott Bordow, East Valley Tribune
“Bordow's columns are written with authority, and he backs his opinion up with solid reporting. The variety of topics was also strong. ‘Marathon man’ was offbeat yet a touching story about a guy who can't stop running.”
Paola Boivin, The Arizona Republic
“Her columns are very compelling, especially ‘Grieving mom recalls son's love of game.’ Boivin captured the grief of Janice Brown, whose family was involved in a car crash that killed her son, critically injured his twin sister and injured their father and another sister.”
Greg Hansen, Arizona Daily Star
“His first-person account of playing a round of golf at Augusta National was by far his strongest entry. Even a person who doesn't golf or know much about the storied course could appreciate how much the day meant to him. Hansen's description made me feel like I was walking with him.”
C33. Business column writing
Judge: Bill White is the longtime business editor for the Anchorage Daily News.
David Pittman, Tucson Citizen
“Pittman’s strong opinions and well-chosen topics invite readers into his subjects and persuade them to join in his outrage, skepticism or bemusement. He skewered a couple of business owners whose main currency seems to be fraud, and he exposed a business paragon as a scoundrel.”
Jim Kiser, Arizona Daily Star
“Kiser’s opinions are clear, strong and well-considered on topical subjects, from conventional banking’s complicity in payday lending to lawmakers’ ill-considered opposition to the UA medical school expansion.”
Tom Gibbons, East Valley Tribune
“Gibbons has readers at the forefront of his thinking – how to engage them quickly; how to use humor, empathy, irony; and how to use description and changing vantage points – all with the goal of selling his opinion.”
C34. Editorial writing
Judge: Tom Philp of the Sacramento Bee won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize in commentary writing.
Joel Nilsson, The Arizona Republic
“This series on a high-rise project off Camelback Road brought eloquent passion to defending Phoenix's community planning process. It clearly identified a solution - sticking with building height limits along Camelback and focusing high-rise construction in the urban core. And it was written in a lively way to capture all of the Donald-ness of the debate and to expand interest beyond just the immediate neighborhood. Local editorial-writing at its best.”
Kathleen Ingley, The Arizona Republic
“This series on the invasive weeds of the desert couldn't help but change a reader's impression forever of the desert. It brought to life a seemingly hum-drum problem — weeds — to show the serious damage the non-native plants are doing to the desert. And it showed citizens both how they could help preserve this wonderful natural resource. Well done.”
Joel Nilsson, The Arizona Republic
“Sunshine. Sunshine. And more sunshine. These editorials on Glendale and its troubled police department used the steady drumbeat of repetition in hopes of persuading Glendale's leadership to be more upfront with citizens about the many problems inside the city. The tone was both persuasive and respectful, written by a person or persons who clearly care about this community. It showed.”
C35. First-person writing/Don Schellie Award
Judge: Plain Dealer columnist Connie Schultz won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary for what the judges called her "pungent columns that provided a voice for the underdog and the underprivileged." In addition to winning the Pulitzer in 2005, Schultz won the Scripps Howard National Journalism Award for Commentary and the National Headliner Award for Commentary.
E.J. Montini, The Arizona Republic
“Montini is the readers' reward for investing in a daily newspaper. He makes fun of himself with glee, takes on the world's painful realities with measured rage and is not afraid to let the whole world know he misses his parents — and makes us miss them, too.”
Peter Aleshire, Arizona Highways
“Aleshire's graceful prose about his beloved Arizona coaxes readers to behold the supposed ordinary and share in its surprises. His is a quiet energy, but the pulse beats strong.”
Patricia Biggs, The Arizona Republic
“Biggs should be mandatory reading for any columnist who spends more time in the chair than on the road. A true storyteller, she shows up where most readers cannot go and deftly coaxes them to see the world anew.”
C36. Humor column
Judge: Pulitzer Prize winner Dave Barry has been writing for the Miami Herald since 1983, has authored 25 books, and has an unholy fascination with low-flow toilets.
Celia Beresford, JAVA Magagine
“A very funny, almost-scarily-honest writer. Her account of attempting to hang out backstage with the band Wilco – the clash between her fantasies, and the pathetic reality – is brilliant.”
Renee Downing, Tucson Weekly
“Smart, tart, witty and a fine phrase-turner. I would not want to be her target.”
Tom Danehy, Tucson Weekly
“A nice, loose, stream-of consciousness style; good observational humor, and a strong sense of the surreal.”
C37. Lifestyle column
Judge: Maria Cote is a columnist and lifestyles editor for the Rocky Mountain News.
Michael Grady, East Valley Tribune
“It's easy to be funny for a graph or two. The ability to be hilarious from first to last sentence of a column, however, is a gift. All three of these columns made me laugh out loud. Awesome writing, clever set-up for all three columns. The Guy Side is a VERY clear first-place winner.”
Second place (tie)
Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic
“Here's the sign of a good columnist (or editorial writer). Whether or not you agree with the writer, does he/she argue the point well? Is the writing powerful? Does it make you think? Goodykoontz passes the test.”
Second place (tie)
Bill Muller, The Arizona Republic
“Strong writing and fine humor. His fine ledes and strong voice nab the reader from the first graph. Simply put, Muller is an intelligent writer...I'd take his word on any movie.”
No third place.
C38. Food reviews
Judge: Leslie Brenner, food editor at the Los Angeles Times, won the 2005 Best Section award from the National Association of Food Journalists. Her most recent book is “The Fourth Star: Dispatches from Inside Daniel Boulud’s Celebrated New York Restaurant.”
Howard Seftel, The Arizona Republic: "Ole? Oh no! Spanish food goes south at new Tapas"
“Seftel writes with terrific assurance, an original voice, sharp wit and unmistakable authority. He also provides valuable context in regard to both the current state of Spanish gastronomy and the way this particular restaurant fits into the local scene. It's a great read.”
Nikki Buchanan, Phoenix Magazine: "Check Out the Vu"
“It's not easy to write a rave that doesn't sound fawning, but Buchanan does so admirably. Particularly strong is the critic's analytic eye — she is able to step back and help us understand the way the chef thinks. The descriptions of each dish are perceptive in a way that convince me of the astuteness of the critic's palate.”
Howard Seftel, The Arizona Republic: "Baleen"
“The critic brings his devastating wit to bear once again, and the result is pure fun. Succinct and knowledgeable descriptions of the dishes are quite effective.”
C39. Visual and performing arts criticism
Judge: Carlin Romero, literary critic for The Philadelphia Inquirer and critic-at-large of The Chronicle of Higher Education, was a finalist for the 2005 Pulitzer in criticism.
Leanne Potts, Phoenix NewTimes: "Suburban pall"
“Crisp description, muscular language and imagery, convincing evaluation, all
merged in a fine coherent overview of a young painter.”
Leanne Potts, Phoenix NewTimes: "The cold west"
“Another excellent overview of an artist that contextualizes his work,
provides pointillist pictures of individual works, and deftly convinces this
reader that Potts takes her sentences as seriously as the artists take their
Robrt L. Pela, Phoenix NewTimes: "How to be a drama critic in five easy
“The wittiest piece in the whole bunch: a wonderful critique, by indirection, of stagecraft and how it's evaluated. A canny, acerbic voice.”
C40. Music criticism
Judge: Don McLeese, an associate professor of journalism in the
University of Iowa's School of Journalism and Mass Communication, previously was the pop music critic at the Chicago Sun-Times and the Austin American-Statesman, and has contributed to numerous national music magazines.
Brendan Joel Kelley, Phoenix New Times: "High voltage"
“Combines a strong sense of the musical impact, a provocative evaluation of its
significance and an effective analysis of rock context — where and how the
Chris Page, East Valley Tribune: "Minnelli paces herself in unsurprising MAC show"
“A fresh take and thoughtful critique on the sort of overly familiar
performance that often receives a rote dismissal.”
Stephen Seigel, Tucson Weekly: "Rev. Al Green"
“Vividly captures the spirit of a concert that mixes spiritual and sensual
C41. Film, video and television criticism
Judge: Jay Boyar, who was movie critic of the Orlando Sentinel for more than two decades, teaches film analysis in the honors department of the University of Central Florida and has taught film at Rollins College, SUNY/Buffalo and Medaille College. He is the founder of the Florida Film Critics Circle and his work has been honored by the Associated Press, the Society of Professional Journalists and the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors. A collection of his movie reviews, Films to Go, will be published in early 2007.
Robrt L. Pela, Phoenix New Times
“For his impudently entertaining review of Chastity, the 1969 cinematic travesty that was ‘shot entirely in Phoenix’ and which stars ‘a pre-rhinoplasty Cher.’ Not only does Pela review the film, he also hilariously assesses its impact on the city, including the cultural significance of Cher's bubble-bath interlude and the now-it-can-be-told story of a certain piece of dyed-green furniture known as ‘the Chastity Couch.’”
Craig Outhier, East Valley Tribune
“For his closely reasoned critique of Four Brothers, the latest big-screen extravaganza from director John Singleton. In reviewing the movie, Outhier traces Singleton's career from his ‘brilliant debut feature, Boyz N the Hood, to the present, observing that the filmmaker now ‘embraces urban violence like a once-idealistic politician embraces pork barrels.’”
Bill Muller, The Arizona Republic
“For his witty review of The Ring Two, a horror sequel featuring, according to Muller, a ‘killer Bambi’ deer attack and a corpse that ‘looks like The Scream by Edvard Munch.’ Muller's lead is a grabber: ‘In the first Ring, you watched a videotape and seven days later, you were dead. In the second Ring, you watch a movie and seven minutes later, you're asleep.’”
F3. Editorial cartooning
Judge: Nick Anderson, who recently joined the staff of the Houston Chronicle, won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize in editorial cartooning while at the The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky.
Alfredo Garcia, La Voz: “Déjame te muestro”
“Ironic and insightful graphic depiction of how the artist sees the relationship between the United States and Hispanic immigrants. Nicely done.”
Steve Benson, The Arizona Republic: “No man is an island”
“Unique take on the racial and socio-economic implications of the Katrina disaster. Excellent artwork.”
David Fitzsimmons, Arizona Daily Star: “Nannies”
“Humorous take on the relationship between Governor Napolitano and the Arizona legislature.”