Media Watch


The Arizona Press Club announced its 2012 award winners for print journalism at its annual banquet in Phoenix on Saturday, May 18, and news outlets from the southern portion of the state did well.

The Tucson Weekly's Margaret Regan took first place in the non-metro arts criticism category and current Tucson Weekly editor Dan Gibson was awarded first place in the non-metro features blog category for his work on The Range, the Weekly's online presence. Weekly columnist Tom Danehy won second place for non-metro sports reporting (FYI, the distinction between the "metro" and "non-metro" categories is based on circulation).

Winners from other Southern Arizona publications included Shar Porier of the Sierra Vista Herald and Bisbee Daily Review, who placed second in the Community Journalist of the Year category. Porier also won third place for non-metro public service reporting. Marisa Gerber of the Nogales International won honorable mention for non-metro public safety reporting while Nogales International reporters Jonathan Clark and Curt Prendergast shared first place in the non-metro immigration reporting category. Clark also earned second place for another entry.

Southern Arizona papers swept the non-metro personality profile category. Randy Metcalf of The Explorer placed first, Matt Hickman of the Sierra Vista Herald was second and the Nogales International's Gerber landed a third-place honor. Gerber won another third-place for non-metro human interest writing.

Adam Curtis of the Sierra Vista Herald claimed the top spot in non-metro short form writing and the Herald's Hickman placed second in non-metro arts reporting.

The Arizona Daily Star was well represented, with ten Star employees winning first-place awards. Chiara Batista won for illustration; Rhonda Bodfield, Tom Beal, Tim Steller, Josh Brodesky and Howard Fischer earned top accolades for breaking news; Brodesky landed first-place for column writing; Kristen Cook won top awards for short-form writing and arts writing; Johanna Eubank took first-place honors in the multimedia reporting category; Rob O'Dell won twice, for health reporting (along with Stephanie Innes) and business reporting, and he also won an award for work at The Arizona Republic, where he is currently employed. Dave Ord won first for headline writing and Steller was first for immigration reporting.

Star employees also took home 13 second-place awards and seven third-place awards.

... And the Star may also have an employee who should be nominated for the Most Cowardly Media Post award. More on that later.


Citing a desire to pursue new challenges within the newspaper industry, John M. Mathew last week announced he is ending his stint as the CEO of Sierra Vista-based Wick Communications, which owns 28 newspapers and 18 specialty publications, including the Tucson Weekly.

"I've had 12 great, happy years here with this company and in that time I've had the pleasure of meeting and working with some terrific people who I'm going to miss," Mathew told Wick-owned publication Inside Tucson Business.

Mathew will stay in his position until a replacement is named.


Shortly after Mathew's announcement became public, Dan Gibson, the editor of the Tucson Weekly, received this comment online.

"The CEO of Wick resigned today; when are you tendering your's?"

Under normal circumstances, that's fairly tame stuff. And considering the anonymity of Internet commenting, not terribly surprising. When you don't need to share your identity, taking a cheap shot is part of the game.

But in this case, the person who posted that ditty did so from an Arizona Daily Star/Tucson Newspapers Inc. IP address, meaning that someone at the Star—or maybe employed at TNI, the Star's business arm—took an anonymous shot at an employee of another media outlet.

For starters, I'm thinking, based on the "your's" thing, we can probably eliminate copy editors.

Again, it's not the statement in and of itself. That's fairly generic material for anyone who writes a story in the online comments era of modern journalism. Furthermore, journalism critics take unflattering shots at public figures on a consistent basis, but they do it with a byline. I'm not saying there isn't a fair share of bone knobs in the media either. We all know better. But if you're in this profession, don't hide behind an easily traceable IP address to vent your discontent with someone at another news-gathering outlet.

Remarkably, this isn't groundbreaking either. A more devious incident that originated from TNI headquarters occurred while I was working as a reporter for Cat Tracks magazine, a privately operated publication that covered UA athletics.

During the relative infancy of the message board phenomenon, someone took the time to falsify an identity that closely resembled that of Cat Tracks publisher Doug Carr, and then intentionally posted false information about a UA basketball player.

What said person apparently didn't anticipate was that I happened to be good friends with someone who used to work at He helped to confirm the identity of the IP, and from there we enlisted the assistance of the folks at Starnet to pursue the issue further. The Star handled the situation internally.

Who knows whether TNI considers the anonymous post to Gibson worthy of its time to investigate? Regardless, it's a pretty pitiful approach by someone in the industry likely butt-hurt that the Weekly bothers to call the paper on its absurdities. Yet this individual does so under the veil of online secrecy.

It's a shame too. Sharing your real name can be liberating. You'll feel good about yourself for getting that out in the open, I won't shed a single tear, and will get a little extra traffic.

Just happy to help.

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