2003 Alternative Newsweekly Award Winners Announced

Posted on June 20, 2003

Gambit Weekly of New Orleans and Cincinnati CityBeat each took two first-place awards in the eighth annual Alternative Newsweekly Awards contest, while LA Weekly and Chicago Reader led the field of large circulation papers with two firsts each. Satirist Neal Pollack presented the awards to an audience of about 200 at the 26th annual Association of Alternative Newsweeklies Convention.

Tom Robbins (The Village Voice) won first place in Investigative Reporting (circulation more than 50,000) for "The Lush Life of a Rudy Appointee: Russell Harding." Robbins' piece has already been honored by the Investigative Reporters and Editors.

In the 50,000 and under circulation division, Leslie Blade of Cincinnati CityBeat won first place for her story "Piling On," a gripping deconstruction of a police investigation. CityBeat's other first was for Illustration (Ryan Greis & Sean Hughes for "Does Your Vote Count?").

In News Feature, Metroland's Nancy Guerin (Albany, N.Y.) won first place (50,000 and under) for "Schenectady Calling," a feature on the mayor's attempts to lure Guyanese immigrants to the area. In the large-circulation division, Chicago Reader's Mike Sala took first place for his "Killer on the Loose," a medical mystery story about a flesh-eating bacteria outbreak at Evanston Hospital.

Gambit Weekly's two firsts were in Food Writing (Sara Roahen) and music criticism (Scott Jordan). It's Jordan's third consecutive first-place award -- he won for Music Criticism in 2002 and Sports Writing in 2001. Roahen took an honorable mention in 2001 for Arts Criticism.

Among large-circulation papers, LA Weekly took first-place awards in Arts Criticism (John Powers) and Photography (Max S. Gerber).

Chicago Reader picked up firsts in Music Criticism (Monica Kendrick) and News Feature (Sala's "Killer on the Loose). Kendrick took a first-place award in music criticism in 2001 and a second in 1998.

In its first year as an AAN member, Greenville, S.C.'s MetroBEAT won a first place for James Shannon's political commentary.

The first-place winners in this year's Wild-Card Category, Business Writing, were Durham, N.C.'s Independent Weekly's Barbara Solow for "Blue Notes" (50,000 and under) and Gayle Reaves of Fort Worth Weekly for "Accounting for Anguish" (more than 50,000).

Gambit's Roahen and Dara Moskowitz of City Pages (Twin Cities) were the first-place winners in Food Writing, a new category this year.

Heather Swaim of OC Weekly and Thomas Francis of Cleveland Scene were the only AAN members winning two Alternative Newsweekly Awards this year. Swaim took a first in Editorial Layout and a third in Cover Design, while Francis picked up a first place in News Story (under 1,500 words) and an honorable mention in Media Reporting.

Walter Coker of Folio Weekly (Jacksonville, Fla.) took first place for Photography, his fifth consecutive award.

Judges for the contest include such nationally recognized journalists as Geneva Overholser, Tom Hallman Jr., Alex Kotlowitz, Thomas E. Franklin, Anthony Dias Blue, Myron Kandel, Sarah Vowell and Joe Conason.

AAN is a not-for-profit organization representing the alternative newsweekly industry, which includes publications such as The Village Voice, Chicago Reader and the San Francisco Bay Guardian. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., AAN represents 116 newsweeklies in the United States and Canada with combined total weekly circulation of more than 7.6 million and a reach of more than 19 million readers.

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