Yes, we will always say that when it comes down to journalism awards, it's best not to get too excited, but we enter every year any way and every year we happily celebrate. The Arizona Press Club recently announced winners of the 2015 Writing and Design Awards, and the Tucson Weekly staff placed in several categories.
News editor Jim Nintzel continued to make us proud with second runner-up as Arizona Community Journalist of the Year. In political reporting, Nintzel placed second for his story "Loan Charges." The judge said "Nintzel examined U.S. Rep. Martha McSally's vote on an obscure portion of the Department of Defense budget bill. Nintzel's story is a counter-intuitive take on a popular military veteran who, in contrast to her rhetoric, voted against legislation that would have protected enlisted personnel from predatory lenders." In government reporting, Nintzel came in third with his story "Grant Road Rage, Redux." From the judge: "It can be easy to get bogged down in seemingly mundane policy debates without showcasing the people behind them, and this article ensured that didn't happen. In a simple, readable way, it explained the real costs to one family for bureaucracy over an eventual road widening."
I'm also proud of our staff writer Maria Inés Taracena, who brought in a first place under immigration reporting for her story "The Waiting Game." The judge said "Interesting, well-told snapshots of different people struggling to keep their lives and families together." Taracena also won a third place in human interest writing for two stories "Dignified Displacement" and "Evicted." From the judge: "A sympathetic but even-handed look at why homelessness is so intractable. The reporter's clear, incisive writing gives readers indelible portraits of people living on the street and lets her subjects tell us their stories."
Heather Hoch, our food and culture editor, placed second in arts criticism. I happen to agree with what the judge had to say: "Heather Hoch gives us the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of restaurants in her food reviews. Like all good critics she turns her experiences into an engaging conversation—it makes us feel like she's telling a friend about the meal she just had." In food and beverage reporting, Hoch took second place with her piece "Bread and Bones: La Estrella." The judge said "Heather Hoch gives her readers a cultural history lesson on the origins of 'pan de muerto' through the eyes of local bakers. Vivid bread-making details make you feel like you're watching the bakers in the kitchen."
Congratulations to everyone who placed. A special shout out to former intern Jamie Verwys, former editor of Pima Community College's Aztec Press who took second in public service journalism for her Aztec Press story "What's Your Deadline?" From the judge: "Kudos to the student editors and reporters for fighting back against a college administration seemingly bent on controlling the flow of public information, even if it's illegal."
— Mari Herreras, firstname.lastname@example.org