Tucson Weekly senior writer Jim Nintzel was named Community Journalist of the Year by contest judge Willie Stern of the Nashville Scene. Stern said Nintzel's work in 2002, which included coverage of the governor's race, the gambling propositions and Tucson's failed campaign to persuade voters to approve a half-cent transportation sales tax, showed "the best traits of a true community journalist: sensitivity to his surroundings melded with a wonderful writing style." He called Nintzel "a subtle writer with a sharp eye for his subjects."
Nintzel also took second place for general reporting among medium publications for "Balancing Act" (March 21), which judge David Postman of the Seattle Times called "a great mix of insider political tale and hard facts about the city's budget struggle. In the end readers learn much of the mayor and the city."
Leo W. Banks won first-place honors in that general reporting category for "At War on the Border" (Dec. 19), which examined rising tensions related to illegal immigration. "Banks does a great job of getting out in front of an emerging border story," wrote Postman. "He tells the story of Glenn Spencer and American Border Patrol without falling back on political stereotypes. He mostly lets Spencer tell the story and leaves it up readers to make up their own mind about the rise of vigilantism."
Banks also took first place in the medium publications' personality profile category for "La Pistolera" which examined Eva Wilbur-Cruce's role in a longtime cattle war (Aug. 1 and Aug. 8). "It is far and away the best in the category for reason of scope, research, historical interest and presentation," wrote judge Robert McClory, a freelance magazine writer who teaches journalism at Northwestern University. "It almost cries for a movie version."
Regular contributor Margaret Regan picked up a first-place award for arts criticism for "Where the Girls Are" (Oct. 24), which reviewed photographer Lauren Greenfield's Girl Culture exhibit at the Center for Creative Photography. "Margaret Regan's entries offered the most consistently incisive, well-written criticism of any of the entrants," wrote judge Kyle MacMillan of the Denver Post. "This piece effectively discusses the imagery at the same time it compellingly explores the socio-political issues beneath it."
Columnist Tom Danehy rounded out the winners with his first-place prize for "All-American Girl" (April 11), which judge Gerry Ahern of the Orange County Register called "insightful and cleverly written profile/column on University of Arizona softball pitcher and budding celebrity Jennie Finch. This piece captures just how revered Finch has become in the community and beyond."