I realize this is blatant self-promotion, but I can’t help myself – I’m just so darn proud of our staff.
It was a record-breaking year for the Arizona Capitol Times – at least in terms of awards won at the annual Arizona Newspaper Association’s journalism contest.
Foremost, we won first place in the general excellence category for small non-daily newspapers. Actually, we tied for first with the San Pedro Valley News-Sun.
Considering we don’t submit any entries for sports, sports columns or sports photos, we’re pretty happy about our overall performance (the general excellence category is based on everything from headline writing to investigative reporting to photos to sports coverage). But we have decided to emphasize our coverage of the House-Senate softball game next year so we could compete in the sports categories. After all, we have two former sports journalists on staff.
The paper itself won five additional awards, including first place in both newswriting and reporting excellence and community service/journalistic achievement.
As for the individual awards, we took first-place in seven categories. Reporter Luige del Puerto took two first-place awards, and photographer Bill Coates was first in two photo categories.
One highlight was that we swept all three awards in the enterprise reporting category. Jeremy Duda took first for his work on the Brewer transition to governor, Christian Palmer took second for a story about the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office called “Locking them up, but at what cost,” and Jim Small took third for a story that outlined how big-money donors had avoided contributing to the Arizona Republican Party during the 2008 election cycle.
Our headline writers also cleaned up. Copy Editor Don Harris earned first- and third-place awards for headlines, and I squeezed between with second place. I must admit that one of our reporters, Christian Palmer, helped write the headline “Dirty Bond Money” for which I received an award. In hindsight, I should have played off the “007” movies and gone with “Bond, Dirty Bond.”
The staff at the Arizona Newspaper Association did a great job with the event, which was held Oct. 10 at Arizona State University’s Cronkite building. It’s one of the only times journalists from across Arizona get a chance to hang out together, unless we run into each other at the bar.
We also had a great year in terms of national awards. We won in 10 categories for the National Newspaper Association contest earlier this year, including three first-place showings for best health care story, best local news coverage and best breaking news story.
Following are the results from both contests:
Arizona Newspaper Association
Overall Newspaper Awards (circulation less than 3,500)
1st, Reporting & Newswriting Excellence
2nd, Departmental News & Copywriting Excellence
3rd, Editorial Page Excellence
1st, Community Service/Journalistic Achievement
3rd, Newspaper web site
1st, Best Headline, Don Harris, Land-locked out: Dispute with state strands homeowners
2nd, Best Headline, Matt Bunk, Dirty bond money: AZ judge cleared to probe suspicious payments
3rd, Best Headline, Don Harris, The biggest elections nobody watches
1st, Best News Story, Luige del Puerto, Amid fiscal crisis, lawmakers buy new computers
3rd, Best News Story, Jeremy Duda, Arizona 0-for-4: Echoes of Goldwater as McCain falls to Obama
1st, Best Sustained Coverage or Series, Luige del Puerto, Religion and Politics
1st, Investigative Reporting, Jim Small, SCA contributions
1st, Enterprise Reporting, Jeremy Duda, Jan Brewer transitions to governor
2nd, Enterprise Reporting, Christian Palmer, Locking ‘em up, but at what cost?
3rd, Enterprise Reporting, Jim Small, Big-money donors sidestepped state GOP in 2008
1st, Best News Photograph, Bill Coates, State prison hotshot crew fights fires in Arizona
2nd, Best News Photograph, Bill Coates, Education advocates and a state senator protest
1st, Best Feature Photo Layout or Story, Bill Coates, State prison hotshot crew fights fires in Arizona
National Newspaper Association
1st place, Best Local News Coverage, circulation less than 3,000
2nd place, Best Special News, Sports or Feature Section or Edition, Focus on Courts and Corrections
Honorable mention, Best Feature Story, “Land-locked out,” Jim Small
2nd place, Best Feature Story, “Prison inmates feel heat,” Bill Coates
2nd place, Best Business Feature Story, “Losing sight,” Bill Coates
3rd place, Best Health Story, “Held Blameless,” Anjanette Riley
1st place, Best Health Story, “Still fighting Valley Fever,” Bill Coates
Honorable mention, Best Health Story, “McCain plan adds to uninsured,” Anjanette Riley
2nd place, Best Education/Literacy Story, “Crunch time looms for English learner program,” Jim Small
1st place, Best Breaking News Story, “Sheriff’s captain fined $315K,” Jim Small