Winners: 2016 Arizona Press Club annual student award winners

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

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

Student investigative reporting

First: Staff,  News21

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

Second: Joshua Bowling, Cronkite News

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

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

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

Student news reporting

First: Chris McCrory, The State Press

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

Second: Christianna Silva, Arizona Daily Star

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

Third: Ethan Millman, The State Press

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

Student features reporting

First: Sarah Jarvis, Cronkite News

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

Second: Alexa D’Angelo, The State Press

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

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

Student sports reporting

First: Joe Jacquez, The State Press

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

Second: Logan Newman, Cronkite News

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

Third: Kendall Valenzuela, The State Press

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

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

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

The Don Bolles Award for Investigative Reporting

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

First: Caitlin Schmidt, Arizona Daily Star

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

Second: Craig Harris, Arizona Republic

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

Third: Hank Stephenson, Arizona Capitol Times

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

Statewide public service journalism

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

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

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

Second: Ricardo Cano and Caitlin McGlade, Arizona Republic

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

Third: Staff, Arizona Daily Star

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

Statewide breaking news

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Statewide public safety reporting

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

First: Megan Cassidy, Arizona Republic

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

Second: Perla Trevizo, Arizona Daily Star

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

Third: Yihyun Jeong, Arizona Republic

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

Statewide political reporting

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

First: Yvonne Wingett Sanchez, Arizona Republic

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

Second: Evan Wyloge, Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting

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

Third: Richard Ruelas, Arizona Republic

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

Statewide government reporting

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

First: Paul Giblin, Arizona Republic

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

Second: Erica L. Lang, Cronkite News

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

Third: Dustin Gardiner, Arizona Republic

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

Statewide health reporting

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

First: Emily Bregel, Arizona Daily Star

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

Second: Stephanie Innes, Arizona Daily Star

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

Third: Dennis Wagner, Arizona Republic

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

Statewide environmental reporting

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

First: Ron Dungan, Arizona Republic

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

Second: Jimmy Magahern, Phoenix Magazine

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

Third: Tony Davis, Arizona Daily Star

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

Statewide science reporting

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

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

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

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

Statewide social issues reporting

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

First: Robrt Pela, Phoenix New Times

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

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

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

Statewide education reporting

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

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

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

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

Statewide  immigration reporting

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

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

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

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

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

Statewide business reporting

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

First: Megan Kimble, Edible Baja Arizona

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

Second:Robrt Pela, Phoenix New Times

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

ThirdDawn Gilbertson, Arizona Republic

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

Statewide  sports beat reporting

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

First: Jeff Metcalfe, Arizona Republic

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

Second: Jon Gold, Arizona Daily Star

No comments submitted.

Third: Zach Rosenblatt, Arizona Daily Star

No comments submitted.

Statewide sports feature reporting

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

First: Christoper Boan, Sahuarita Sun

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

Second: Jon Gold, Arizona Daily Star

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

Third: Tom Blodgett, Arizona Republic

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

Statewide  sports investigative reporting

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

First: Emily Bregel, Arizona Daily Star

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

Statewide sports column writing

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

First: Jon Gold, Arizona Daily Star

No comments submitted.

Second: Timothy Gassen, Arizona Daily Star

No comments submitted.

Statewide column writing

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

First: Karina Bland, Arizona Republic

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

Second  Tim Steller, Arizona Daily Star

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

Third: Greg Hansen, Arizona Daily Star

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

Statewide editorial writing

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

First: Staff, Arizona Republic

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

Second: Staff, Arizona Republic

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

Third: Jonathan Clark, Nogales International

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

Statewide personality profile

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

First: John Glionna, Phoenix New Times

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

Second: Brian Smith, Tucson Weekly

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

Third: Richard Ruelas, Arizona Republic

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

Statewide human interest writing

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

First: Scott Craven, Arizona Republic

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

Second: Alden Woods, Arizona Republic

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

Third: Debbie Weingarten, Edible Baja Arizona

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

Statewide short-form writing

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

Statewide arts criticism

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

First: Margaret Regan, Tucson Weekly

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

Second: Becky Bartkowski, Phoenix New Times

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

Third: Dominic Armato, Arizona Republic

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

Statewide arts reporting

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

First: Becky Bartkowski, Phoenix News Times 

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

Second: Ed Masley, Arizona Republic 

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

No third place awards were given.

Statewide food and beverage reporting

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

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

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

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

Statewide headline writing

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

First: Jim Wambold, Arizona Republic

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

Second: Dave Ord, Arizona Daily Star

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

ThirdLee Shappell, Scottsdale Airpark News 

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

Paulina Pineda named Community Journalist of the Year

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

Judges


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

Community Journalist of the Year

Paulina Pineda
Nogales International

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

First runner-up
Katie Campbell
Pinal Central

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

Second runner-up
Glenn Gullickson
West Valley View

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

Maria Camou named Arizona Designer of the Year

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

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

First runner-up:

Chiara Bautista

Arizona Daily Star

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

Second runner-up:

Rick Konopka

Arizona Republic

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

 

Stephenson named Arizona’s Virg Hill Journalist of the Year

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

Judges

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

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

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

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

Virg Hill Journalist of the Year

Hank Stephenson
Arizona Capitol Times

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

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

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

First Runner-Up

Craig Harris, Arizona Republic

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

Second Runner-Up

Perla Trevizo, Arizona Daily Star

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

Winners: 2016 Arizona Press Club Spanish language award winners

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

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

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

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

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Announcing the annual Sledgehammer & Brick Wall award winners

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

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

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

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

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

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

Winners: 2016 Arizona Press Club photo awards

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

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

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

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

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

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2016 Arizona Photojournalism Awards open

Entries are now being accepted for the 2016 Arizona Photojournalism Awards — presented by the Arizona Press Club and sponsored by Tempe Camera.

2015 Photograph of the Year “Monsoon Thunderstorm” by Michael Chow – The Arizona Republic

The purpose of the Arizona Photojournalism Awards is to recognize the best visual coverage of Arizona by news-gathering photographers. We aim to encourage growth within the profession, build stronger relationships in the photojournalism community and instill passion to the next generation. We support student photojournalist by awarding scholarships to the winners of the annual APA College Photographer of the Year contest.

All photographers (staff, part-time, freelance, contract and college student) are eligible if they are Arizona residents who had their work published in print or online by a news/sports gathering organization during 2016. Wire service and agency photographers based in Arizona are eligible.

Deadline: January 23th, 2017

* Entries will only be excepted on a USB Flash Drive (Thumb drive). No CDs or DVDs.

Download the complete rules and entry form »

 

 

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”