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Arizona Capitol Times wins 16 awards, including AP’s ‘Member of the Year’

Arizona Newspaper Association Awards 2017

What began as a September gathering among publishers, editors and reporters to recognize winning entries quickly turned into a celebration of journalism against the backdrop of shrinking newspapers, unceasing fights over public records and a fusillade of hostility coming from many sides.

The tone at the Arizona Newspaper Association’s 2017 Better Newspapers Contest awards nights was at once somber and defiant – somber because, as one journalist acknowledged, the press isn’t so popular now, but also defiant because everybody in the room knows what’s at stake.

“Journalism is crucial to democracy,” the Republic’s Pat Flannery, who also received an award from the Society of Professional Journalists, told attendees.

Like every year, the awards ceremony became a showcase of newspapers’ best work, particularly those that sought to shed light on how government operates.

All told, the Arizona Capitol Times won 16 awards, including recognition as the Associated Press Member of the Year.

In giving the recognition, Josh Hoffner, AP’s Southwest News Editor, said the Arizona Capitol Times provides the kind of watchdog journalism that is the thorn in the side of people in power.

Reporter Rachel Leingang, who covers the governor’s office, also won story of the year in the non-daily category for an article that explored how a decision by legislators to cut welfare assistance wasn’t only affecting poor families but also hurting the Arizona Department of Economic Security’s finances.

2017 Arizona Newspaper Association Story of the Year, Rachel LeingangIndividual Awards

Non-Daily Story of the Year – Rachel Leingang

Third Place, Best Headline – Gary Grado

Second Place, Best News Story – Hank Stephenson

Second Place, Investigative Reporting – Ben Giles

Third Place, Best Feature Story – Luige del Puerto

Second Place, Best Feature Story – Rachel Leingang

Second Place, Enterprise Reporting – Hank Stephenson

First Place, Enterprise Reporting – Rachel Leingang

Second Place, Best Column, Analysis or Commentary – Luige del Puerto

Second Place, Best Multimedia Storytelling – Katie Campbell

2017 Associated Press Member of the YearGeneral Excellence Awards

Associated Press Member of the Year

Second Place, Editorial Page Excellence

Third Place, Best Use of Photography

First Place, Community Service/Journalistic Achievement

Third Place, Special Section or Newspaper Supplement or Magazine

Third Place, Newspaper Website

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Thank you, Arizona Capitol Times

 I am leaving at a time when our readership and overall business are growing. Our content is as timely and as relevant as ever, and I am fully confident those trends will continue after I’ve left.  I will truly miss working for the Arizona Capitol Times. It's been a real honor leading our small but mighty newsroom, which, I truly believe, produces the best journalism in our state.