The Arizona Newspapers Association filtered through more than 1,600 entries in its effort to dole out journalism award winners for 2015. Some 60 state newspapers—including eight at the high school level—submitted entries.
Among entrants from Southern Arizona, Murphy Woodhouse of the Nogales International was one of two ANA photographer of the year winners.
Nogales International reporter Curt Prendergast garnered best news stories accolades for circulations under 3,500 for "20 Months On, Feds Arrive at Shooting Scene." Mark Cowling of the Florence Reminder and Blade-Tribune won third place in the same category.
Maria Ines Taracena of the Tucson Weekly won first and third place in best news story division 3, which incorporates non-daily publications with circulations of more than 10,000. "The Never-ending Scrutiny" was first in the category; "The Waiting Game" placed third.
Perla Trevizo of the Arizona Daily Star won best news story for daily circulations greater than 25,000 with "Livelihoods Washed Away."
Jonathan Clark and Joseph Trevino joined Prendergast for another Nogales International winner for best-sustained coverage or series for their work on "Central American minors at the Nogales Border Patrol Station." Carol Broeder's coverage of "Willcox Water Rights" earned Arizona Range News a second place honor in that category while Joey Chenoweth garnered third place for "Fuel Tank Debate" for the Coolidge Examiner.
Dan Shearer and Philip Franchine of the Green Valley News and Sun received third place for sustained coverage for circulations 3,500 to 10,000 for their reporting of a Border Patrol agent who killed a man in Green Valley.
Prendergast received a third place award for investigative reporting for his coverage of "For deportees, a struggle to get cash from checks," and Tucson Weekly managing editor Mari Herreras received third place for "Reefer Research Madness" for non-dailies with circulations greater than 10,000. The Casa Grande Dispatch swept that category for dailies with circulations under 25,000. Carol Ann Alaimo and Emily Bregel of the Arizona Daily Star were the lone recipients among dailies with circulations greater than 25,000 for "Church is a cult, former members say."
Brad Allis of the Marana News landed second place for sports coverage among non-dailies with circulations under 3,500 for "Mountain View grad goes beyond obstacles." That story garnered Allis a second-place award under best feature as well. Daniel Dullum of the Florence Reminder and Blade-Tribune was third in that category. Shearer won a first and third-place award for sports coverage at the Green Valley News and Sun, sandwiched by Sahuarita Sun writer Christopher Boan, who garnered second place in the non-daily 3,500 to 10,000 category. Jon Gold and Becky Pallack at the Arizona Daily Star were first-place winners for dailies with circulations above 25,000 for "Should college athletes be paid."
Prendergast received a third-place honor for best sports column.
For best column, analysis or commentary, Shearer landed a clean sweep with two features for the Green Valley paper and one for the Sahuarita Sun. Bill Hess at the Sierra Vista Herald was awarded first place for dailies with a circulation under 25,000, Tucson Weekly columnist Jim Nintzel was third for The Skinny while Tim Steller's Daily Star metro columns ranked first in that circulation category.
The Weekly represented itself well in the best column, feature or criticism category. Taracena placed second for "Legal Theft, part one," Heather Hoch third for "Bored at Barrio." Kristen Cook's Arizona Daily Star columns received first-place accolades, the only award winner in that circulation classification.
The Sierra Vista Herald's Mark Levy garnered first and second-place multimedia reporting honors. The Herald's Beatrice Richardson garnered a first-place award for best news photograph. Christy and Kelly Presnell at the Arizona Daily Star placed first and second for their news photography work. The duo also received best sports photo and best feature photo honors. The Star swept best photo layout.
Among publications, the Green Valley News and Sun placed second in its circulation category for general excellence. The Sierra Vista Herald earned first place among its circulation peers. The Green Valley News and Sun received first place for reporting and newswriting excellence while The Explorer earned a third-place accolade among non-dailies with a circulation above 10,000. The Explorer was also third for departmental news and copywriting excellence. The Sierra Vista Herald and Arizona Daily Star were first-place winners in the same category.
The Green Valley News and Explorer were winners for page design excellence. The Nogales International garnered a second place honor in that category.
The Explorer also did well in editorial page excellence, garnering a top nod; the Green Valley News earned a second-place honor; Nogales International third in their respective circulation categories.
The Nogales International did receive a top prize for best use of photography; the Sierra Vista Herald landed second place for its classification.
Inside Tucson Business received first place for special section, newspaper supplement or magazine, as did the Sierra Vista Herald and Arizona Daily Star. The Tucson Weekly received a third-place accolade.
The Sierra Vista Herald received a second-place recognition for its website. Not surprisingly, the Daily Star's crappy website did not win an award.
The Tucson Weekly wishes to extend congratulations to the staff of Pima Community College's Aztec Press. In this column, the Arizona Newspapers Association 2015 Better Newspapers Contest awards given to this student newspaper were left out. The newspaper won Best Use of Photography: Second place; Reporting and Newswriting Excellence: Third place; and
Community Service/Journalistic Achievement: Third place. PCC journalism instructor Cynthia Lancaster told us that because there is no college category, the staff competed in the Division 2 professional category: Non-daily circulation 3,500 to 10,000. "Aztec Press is a student publication, but we hold staffers to professional standards. They are talented and hard working, and surely deserve recognition for a job well done," Lancaster wrote. We've had wonderful interns from Lancaster work at the Tucson Weekly, and we've hired a few of them too. We completely agree. Again, apologies for the omission, and a big congratulations.