We won't know whether we won first, second or third until mid-September, but the finalists were announced for the third and final awards we participate in each year, the Arizona Newspaper Association Better Newspaper awards, and the Weekly did well, with Mari Herreras set to pick up four awards and Jim Nintzel nominated for Journalist of the Year among 13 total nominations.

I've said it before in this space, but you can't get too excited or depressed about these awards, considering the generally subjective nature of the process, but hey, if they're going to give us a plaque for Reporting & News Writing Excellence, we'll take it. And, at very least, it gives me an opportunity to talk about the great work our writers have been doing. Mari, in particular, had a great year last year and the four finalists mentions she earned (one shared with Chelo Grubb) are well deserved. Go back and re-read the stories she's going to recognized for: "Solitary Justice" (Aug. 29, 2013), "Seeking Justice" (May 30, 2013), "Fighting for Mom" (Feb. 27, 2014) and "Drag Power" (Oct. 10, 2013). They're exceptionally reported and well written, telling stories that might otherwise go untold.

Basically, we're lucky to have Mari writing for the Weekly and I think the community is equally fortunate to have her work to read.