Glory Days

More Award-Winning Journalism From 'The Weekly.'

THE TUCSON WEEKLY brought home eight Arizona Press Club awards last week in the state's largest journalism contest, including a sweep of a reporting category.

Currents Arts editor Margaret Regan was a finalist for the prestigious Community Journalist of the Year honors, taking the second-runner-up spot. Category judge Howard Weaver, editorial page editor of the Sacramento Bee, said Regan's package of work from 1998 "represents a substantial body of work done to a high standard."

Regan also won a third-place award in the commentary/analysis category among medium publications for "Fin Spin" (December 17, 1998), which dissected a controversy over public art in a westside neighborhood. Judge Leslie Katz, a contributor to the San Jose Mercury News, said the story was "comprehensive and well-written."

Regan earned third-place honors in the medium pubs' general reporting category for "Birthplace Blues" (April 9, 1998), which examined efforts to revitalize the city's Rio Nuevo South property at the base of A Mountain. "More than any other entry," wrote judge Tom Heinen of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "this story has soul. Its lyrical, vivid descriptions, coupled with the spiritual reflections of Native American Daniel Preston, give readers a strong sense of place. The writing style effortlessly pulls readers through 3,000 years of human occupation...."

Senior Editor Jim Nintzel completed The Weekly's sweep of the reporting category, winning both first- and second-place awards. He took first place with "Downtown Turnaround" (March 12, 1998), which took an in-depth look at the downtown Business Improvement District. The judge found that the "story does what good journalism should. It tackles a major issue in a clear-cut, lively way that engages readers, raises significant questions and provides vital background information without history and arcane complexity."

Nintzel earned second-place honors with "House of Mystery" (August 6, 1998), examining the proposed new City Hall project. "The story blends solid writing and enterprise reporting into a very readable, government mystery story whose potential impact on the Tucson community goes beyond the City Hall project's hefty $57 million price tag. It is balanced. It is thorough, yet compact, without daunting potential readers with excessive length. At this length, any daily newspaper could have chosen to do the story."

Nintzel received an honorable mention in the reporting category with "Best-Laid Plans" (May 28, 1998), which examined early political conflicts with the county's efforts to develop a conservation plan.

Nintzel also placed second in the medium pubs' commentary category for "Amphi Theatrics" (October 29, 1998), which explored the many controversies plaguing the Amphitheater School District and endorsed Board candidate Ken Smith, who finished well ahead of the incumbents on election day. The judge found the article featured "strong, crisp writing and a point of view that is expressed unequivocally and supported from start to finish." Nintzel's coverage of the Amphi School District's problems continues on page 8.

Columnist Tom Danehy continued his infamous streak, winning a Press Club Award for the 11th straight year. Danehy took first place for sports reporting among medium pubs for "Joining The Club" (April 16, 1998), which examined the impact of club sports on high-school athletic programs. Judge Peter Spiegel of Forbes magazine said Danehy's work "was really the only entrant that showed all the components of an award-winning story: in-depth reporting, solid analysis and clear, compelling writing. The reporter found an important trend, reported it thoroughly and presented it in an understandable and well-organized way."

Frequent contributor Leo W. Banks won the third-place prize for "The Anasazi's Amazing Feet" (June 25, 1998). Judge Bill Kossen of the Seattle Times said Banks' "story on sandals, linking them to what was worn by Native Americans 1,400 years ago, was a fun read." TW

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