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'Weekly' writers haul home 16 Arizona Press Club awards, dominate midsize publications category

Nine Tucson Weekly writers picked up 16 awards in the Arizona Press Club's annual contest. The results were announced Saturday, May 10, at the Heard Museum in Phoenix.

Three of the awards--including two first-place honors--came in all-publications categories, meaning every newspaper in the state could compete. Leo W. Banks took the top prize among 37 entries in the Personality Profile category for "J.P.S. Brown's Last Stand" (Aug. 30, 2007), with judge Tom Hallman Jr., of The Oregonian, noting: "This is a confident writer, and his pacing, details and structure mirror the man he is profiling. His opening is perfect as a way to draw in readers. Wonderful details and quotes used in this story make the man come alive. So much that I'm going to buy this man's book when it comes out."

James DiGiovanna once again took the state's top prize for Film, Video and Television Writing/Criticism for "Cult Classic" (Feb. 15, 2007), his review of El Topo. Premiere magazine film editor Glenn Kenny selected DiGiovanna's review among 36 entries, noting, "Witty lead and an approach that combines the scholarly with the hip. Funny about the subject without being patronizing."

Catherine O'Sullivan took second place in News Column Writing, all publications. Judge Pilar Marrero, of La Opinion in Los Angeles, commented: "Her piece about Romney (Nov. 29, 2007) was my favorite, but I liked all her pieces. She writes with great sensibility and attention to detail to give a bigger meaning."

The Weekly's other 13 awards came in the midsize-publications writing categories; no other publication came close to winning as many awards in those categories as the Weekly. (The Tucson Citizen won the second-most, taking home seven.) Jim Nintzel, Margaret Regan and Tim Vanderpool each won three awards, while Tom Danehy took home two, and Dave Devine and Michael Marizco earned one each.

Two of Regan's awards were first-place prizes, in the Personality Profile Reporting category for "Never Sold Out" (May 10, 2007); and in the Business Reporting category for "Roasting Revolution" (Yum! Feb. 8, 2007). She also won third place in the Personality Profile category for "Unstill Life" (Oct. 18, 2007).

Tim Vanderpool swept the Sustained Coverage category, earning the only two awards given among the 13 entries: first place for his coverage of Ephraim Cruz's Border Patrol whistleblowing case, and second place for his coverage of the proposed Rosemont mine. He also took third place in Business Reporting for "Oaxaca Journal" (Aug. 16, 2007).

Nintzel took first and third among the 21 entries in the Commentary/Analysis category, for "Campaigning 101" (Nov. 1, 2007) and "Flush This Crackpot Scheme" (Oct. 11, 2007), respectively. He nabbed second place in Environmental/Health Reporting for "We're No. 1!" (Feb. 1, 2007).

Also in Environmental/Health Reporting, Dave Devine took third place for "State of Emergency" (June 7, 2007).

Tom Danehy won top honors for Sports Reporting for "Missing Lute Olson" (Nov. 29, 2007). He also earned a second-place award in Lifestyle Reporting for "Community Under the Stars" (Oct. 25, 2007).

Michael Marizco won first place for Public Safety Reporting for "The Corridor of Killing" (April 19, 2007).

The Arizona Daily Star won three of the top Arizona Press Club Awards. James Gregg was named Photographer of the Year, while Michael Rice was named Designer of the Year. Brady McCombs earned Virg Hill Journalist of the Year honors.

Cindy Yurth of the Navajo Times was named Community Journalist of the Year. Thelma Grimes of the Vail Sun--which is owned by the Weekly's parent company, Wick Communications--was second runner-up.

The ridiculous arrest of Phoenix New Times executives Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin--for writing about subpoenas seeking information regarding New Times' publication of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's home address, which was already publicly available online--was noted several times. (Those charges were dropped, and the special prosecutor pursuing the case was fired; the New Times is now suing Arpaio and other county officials. Charges against the New Times' Ray Stern, for photographing public records, are still being pursued.) Lacey was given a Distinguished Service Award, while Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas was given the Brick Wall Award--which has been renamed in "honor" of Arpaio--for stonewalling the freedom of the press.

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