The Tucson Weekly dominated its category in the Arizona Newspaper Association's annual Better Newspaper Contest, racking up 20 awards, including top individual and newspaper-wide honors.
Jim Nintzel was named the non-daily Journalist of the Year, for his body of work during the contest period (May 1, 2009 through April 30, 2010). His coverage of the Arizona Legislature, the Congressional District 8 primary and last year's city elections won over the judges from the Nevada Press Association.
The Weekly earned top honors for general excellence in the category for non-daily newspapers with a circulation greater than 10,000, largely due to the four first-place honors that the publication earned in newspaper-wide categories: Departmental News/Copy Editing Excellence, Editorial Page Excellence, Best Newspaper Website, and Special Section (for the Best of Tucson® 2009).
Eleven Weekly writers, photographers and designers earned individual honors. Most impressive was movie-reviewer James DiGiovanna's sweep of the Best Column: Feature or Criticism category: He won first place for "Conceptually Funny" (Aug. 27, 2009), his review of Humpday; second place for "The No. 1 Fan" (Oct. 15, 2009), his review of Big Fan; and third place for "The Institutional Divide" (May 28, 2009), his review of Hunger.
Weekly scribes took the top two places in both the Best Sports Column and Best News Story categories. Tom Danehy took first place for his entry of three sports columns, while Irene Messina won second place. Tim Vanderpool nabbed top News Story honors for "Murder in the Desert" (Jan. 14, 2010), his story about the May 2009 murders of Arivaca residents Gina and Raul Flores. Nintzel won second place for "Regressive Direction" (April 15, 2010), an examination of the fiscal plans of the Republican candidates for Congressional District 8.
Danehy also won first place in the Best Column: Analysis or Commentary category for "Few May Realize the Harm That Will Come as a Result of the Legislature's Assault on Teachers," and second place in the Best Sports Story category for "Soccer, Class and History," a look at the plans to transform Rillito Race Track into soccer fields.
Leo W. Banks, Nick Smith and Mari Herreras won second place in the Best Multimedia Storytelling category for their work covering the death of Southern Arizona rancher Robert Krentz.
Herreras and Adam Kurtz shared second-place honors in the Best Feature Photo Layout category for "Womyn's Land," an examination of the Adobeland commune in the Tucson Mountains, and Kurtz and Patrick McArdle shared third-place honors in the same category for "Soccer, Class and History."
Vanderpool took home third-place honors in the Investigative Reporting category, for "Eye of the Storm," (May 14, 2009), his examination of the changes wrought on Cochise County due to increased border security.
Dave Devine won third place for "Historic Parallels" (Jan. 14, 2010), his comparison of city budget woes during the Great Depression and today, in the Enterprise Reporting category.
The Arizona Republic was named the Newspaper of the Year at the Saturday, Oct. 16, ceremony, held at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the Arizona State University Campus in downtown Phoenix.