The Arizona Newspaper Association awarded Arizona Capitol Times its top honor for general excellence in its circulation category and reporter Hank Stephenson non-daily “story of the year” for his exposé on the rampant use of state vehicles by top House of Representatives Republicans and their aides.
In all, the paper and its reporters won 20 awards from the Arizona Newspaper s Association in its annual Better Newspapers Contest. The awards were announced Sept. 24 during a ceremony at Wild Horse Pass Hotel and Casino.
“What an honor for the editorial staff, and the paper, to win these Arizona Newspaper Association awards,” said Kent Johnson, publisher of the Capitol Times. “It is a 100% reflection of the work and dedication that each editorial staff member puts in on a daily basis. We are proud to be able to serve our readers (and Arizona) with quality content that impacts issues larger than us.”
The Capitol Times won first place for general excellence, reporting and newswriting excellence, page design excellence, community service/journalistic achievement and special section/magazine. It also won second place for departmental news and copywriting excellence, and took home a third place for its website.
Capitol Times reporters won 13 individual awards, led by Stephenson’s story on the House’s use of fleet vehicles. In addition to winning story of the year, that story also was awarded a first place for investigative reporting. Stephenson also was honored with a Freedom of Information Award for his use of public records in that story.
The awards for Best News Story in the category all went to Capitol Times reporters: Stephenson won first place for a story about a prostitution probe that rocked the southern Arizona political scene; Stephenson and Jeremy Duda took second place for reporting on the leftover funds that Gov. Doug Ducey and the Legislature kept, even while imposing budget cuts on other programs; and Duda’s analysis of how public school advocates, the Legislature and Ducey brokered a deal to end litigation on school funding was awarded third place.
All of the awards received by Capitol Times and its reporters are published below.
- 1st Place, General Excellence
- 1st Place, Reporting & Newswriting Excellence
- 2nd Place, Departmental News & Copywriting Excellence
- 1st Place, Page Design Excellence
- 1st Place, Community Service/Journalistic Achievement
- 1st Place, Special Section/Supplement/Magazine
- 3rd Place, Newspaper Online Site/Web Page
- Best News Story
- 1st Place, Hank Stephenson, “Cell phone records linked to prostitution probe shake southern Arizona politics”
- 2nd Place, Jeremy Duda and Hank Stephenson, “Nest Eggs: Governor, Legislature plan to keep leftover funds”
- 3rd Place, Jeremy Duda, “Eye to eye: Evolution of the school finance deal”
- Best Sustained Coverage or Series
- 1st Place, Luige del Puerto and Rachel Leingang, Susan Bitter Smith
- 2nd Place, Gary Grado and Ben Giles, medication abortions
- Investigative Reporting
- 1st Place, Hank Stephenson, “House lawmakers, staff log tens of thousands of miles in government cars on Arizona trips”
- Best Feature Story
- 1st Place, Luige del Puerto, “Double lives”
- Enterprise Reporting
- Best Column, Analysis or Commentary
- 2nd Place, Luige del Puerto, “Lessons learned on press restrictions from my home country”
- Best Multimedia Storytelling
- 2nd Place, Rachel Leingang and Hank Stephenson, “House lawmakers, staff log tens of thousands of miles in government cars on Arizona trips”