The Tucson Weekly took home five awards this year in the Arizona Press Club's annual contest—including a first-place award for Margaret Regan in the Arts Criticism category.
The results of the awards, for work done in 2011, were announced Saturday, May 19, at The Duce in Downtown Phoenix. In the contest, the Weekly competes in the Metro category, along with all of the state's largest newspapers, including The Arizona Republic, the Arizona Daily Star and the Phoenix New Times.
Regan—the dean of Tucson arts writers who is widely regarded as the state's top arts scribe—won two awards, including the aforementioned Arts Criticism first-place, for a selection of her 2011 arts reviews. About Regan's work, judge Ben Waterhouse of Willamette Week (Portland, Ore.) remarked: "Regan's admirably jargon-free essays show both an impressive descriptive ability and a strong awareness of the greater cultural context in which the art exists. Not many visual art critics are capable of both."
Regan's other award came in the Arts Reporting category, in which a selection of her work took home third place. Judge Jori Finkel of the Los Angeles Times said: "Regan writes about artists and arts issues with an appreciation for beauty that makes her writing pleasurable to read, even when at its most informational or educational."
Tom Danehy nabbed second place in the Sports Reporting category (behind only The Arizona Republic's investigation of the Fiesta Bowl scandal) for "Rez Ball" (March 3, 2011), his report on the love of high school basketball in Arizona's Native American communities. Judge Woody Paige of The Denver Post commented: "Loved the creativity, the subject matter, the well-written piece. A story I had not read anywhere before."
Leo W. Banks earned the third-place honor in the Immigration Reporting category for "Digging for Dollars" (April 7, 2011), his story on drug tunnels in Nogales. Judge Paloma Esquivel of the Los Angeles Times wrote: "Banks not only takes us to border tunnels that are increasingly popping up in communities like Nogales to smuggle drugs and sometimes people; he helps us understand how they got there, what it might feel like to crawl through one and why efforts to seize those drugs are often little more than a 'finger in the dike.'"
Finally, Mari Herreras won third place in the Social Issues Reporting category (behind two Phoenix stories) for "Family Portraits" (Pride, June 16, 2011), her report on the struggles that nontraditional families are having in Arizona.
Craig Harris, of The Arizona Republic, was named the Virg Hill Journalist of the Year, in part for his aforementioned Fiesta Bowl-scandal coverage.
Other big awards went to Nick Oza of The Republic (Arizona Photojournalist of the Year), Mike Rice of the Arizona Daily Star (Arizona Designer of the Year), Beatrice Richardson of the Sierra Vista Herald/Bisbee Daily Review (Arizona Community Photojournalist of the Year) and Marley Shebala of the Navajo Times (Arizona Community Journalist of the Year).