It's never unusual around these parts for us to feign interest in journalism contests, especially those of the staff and freelance writer variety. But being of the editor variety, it seems to matter just a bit more when the people winning the awards are people you care about in and out of the office. As staff writer, last year it was nice to win, but mostly because it allowed some important stories to get additional attention. This time, to me, it's about the people who give you a bit of their Tucson soul every week.
That's why it's important to congratulate them in latest in our award winning from the Arizona Press Club announced on Tuesday, May 5:
Our tireless production manager Brandon Hays, placed third in statewide tabloid/magazine cover design for his work on the 2014 Fall Arts Preview. From the judges: "This page isn't without its flaws, but the lead visual certainly worked. It's a unique approach to an annual topic. The skeleton and general 'wild west' feel to the illustration make this fall arts preview VERY Arizona, and that helps set it apart."
A former Tucson intern and web editor David Mendez freelanced a piece on wrestling legend Reggie Parks, and that profile came in third for community personality profile. From the judges: "We had no idea that an obscure graduate of carnival sideshow acts went on to invent the 'giant, jewel-encrusted belts' that are now emblematic of wrestling. We were delighted to be educated through David Mendez's colorful, conversational tale of pioneer grappler Reggie Parks."
We also want to send some love to our sister paper's Inside Tucson Business's Hillary Davis, who was the second runner up for community journalist of the year. She's done some fabulous work this year for our other sister paper's too, particularly on Oro Valley Town Council issues and other stories that were eventually followed by the local daily and broadcast folks. Brad Allis of the Explorer took second place for community sports reporter, and Hays won third place for community front page layout/design for Inside Tucson Business.
Side note: Our superhero food and music staff writer Heather Hoch was part of an all-staff award for best statewide features blog in the Phoenix New Times.
Congratulations to these wonderful people. We happen to love them, and we're glad the judges did, too.
— Mari Herreras, firstname.lastname@example.org