2014 AAN Awards Finalists Announced

The finalists for the 2014 AAN Awards have been selected. The finalists below were chosen as the most outstanding from a field of over 900 entries submitted by 77 alternative publications across the U.S. and Canada.

Held every year since 1996, the AAN Awards recognize the best in alternative journalism and are a unique chance for alt-weeklies to compete directly against the work of their peers in cities across the continent. This year the judging was conducted by the Georgetown University Master’s in Professional Studies Program in Journalism. A committee of faculty, alumni, and graduate students reviewed each entry and selected the final winners in each category.

“We were honored to be chosen as the judges for the 2014 alt-weekly awards, and we are proud to partner with AAN,” said assistant dean Amy Kovac-Ashley. “All of us were impressed by the caliber of the entries, and we enjoyed seeing such amazing and important journalism from all over North America.”

The winners will be announced during a reception on July 12 at the AAN Convention in Nashville.

Finalists below are listed alphabetically by paper. Categories with four or more finalists indicate either a tie or an honorable mention. Categories with less than three finalists indicate that a 3rd, 2nd, or 1st place was not awarded.

  • Writing Categories
  • Online Categories
  • Design Categories
  • Outside-the-Box


    ARTS CRITICISM circulation under 50,000

    Nashville Scene: Invocation of My Salem, Sisters; Heaven Can Wait; and More Than Zero by Jason Shawhan

    Orlando Weekly: Malick Sidibé; I Believe in You; and And Every Day Was Overcast by Jessica Bryce Young

    ARTS CRITICISM circulation 50,000 and over

    Chicago Reader: Second-Act Troubles; The Misanthrope; and The Jungle Book Wars by Tony Adler

    Dallas Observer: Wunder-Block; He Comes in Color Everywhere; and Tiles by Jamie Laughlin

    L.A. Weekly: Lovelace; Saving Mr. Banks; and Lone Survivor by Amy Nicholson

    ARTS FEATURE circulation under 50,000

    Cincinnati CityBeat: Legally Banned by Danny Cross

    Colorado Springs Independent: Tower of Low Power by Bill Forman

    East Bay Express: The Bacon-Wrapped Economy by Ellen Cushing

    Orlando Weekly: Blackfish Gives SeaWorld a Black Eye (Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; and Part 4) by Erin Sullivan

    ARTS FEATURE circulation 50,000 and over

    City Pages (Twin Cities):The Nu Nudes by Olivia LaVecchia

    Houston Press: Real Horror by Jef Rouner

    Las Vegas Weekly: The Art of Handling Art by Kristen Peterson

    Willamette Week: The Last of the Sad Bastards by Matthew Singer

    BEAT REPORTING circulation under 50,000

    Cincinnati CityBeat: Streetcar Coverage by German Lopez (Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5)

    East Bay Express: Oakland Police Coverage (PDF) by Darwin BondGraham and Ali Winston

    INDY Week: Criminal Justice Reporting by John H. Tucker (Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4)

    INDY Week: Education Reporting by Will Huntsberry (Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5)

    BEAT REPORTING circulation 50,000 and over

    Miami New Times: Crime Reporting (Part 1; Part 2; Part 3) by Michael Miller

    Salt Lake City Weekly: Homelessness Reporting (Part 1; Part 2; Part 3) by Eric Peterson

    SF Weekly: Taxi and Rideshare Reporting by Rachel Swan (Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4)

    COLUMN circulation under 50,000

    Creative Loafing Tampa: “Dark & Sinful” (1; 2; 3) by Erica Dawson

    Nashville Scene: “Vodka Yonic” (1; 2; 3) by Abby White, Ashley Spurgeon, and Kim Green

    COLUMN circulation 50,000 and over

    L.A. Weekly: “Candyland” (1; 2; 3) by Gendy Alimurung

    Philadelphia Weekly: “The Uncomfortable Whole” (1; 2; 3) by Josh Kruger

    Willamette Week: “Vanifest Destiny” (1; 2; 3) by Pete Cottell

    POLITICAL COLUMN circulation under 50,000

    Colorado Springs Independent: “City Sage” by John Hazlehurst

    Nashville Scene: Columns by Jeff Woods

    Seven Days: “Fair Game” by Paul Heintz

    Tucson Weekly: “The Skinny” by Jim Nintzel

    POLITICAL COLUMN circulation 50,000 and over

    Chicago Reader: Columns by Ben Joravsky

    Sacramento News & Review: “Bites” by Cosmo Garvin

    SF Weekly: Columns by Joe Eskenazi

    Westword: Columns by Patricia Calhoun

    DIVERSITY REPORTING circulation under 50,000

    Folio Weekly: The General, in Black and White by Susan Cooper Eastman

    INDY Week: Immigration Coverage (Part 1; Part 2; Part 3) by Billy Ball

    The Memphis Flyer: Nice Day for a Gay Wedding by Bianca Phillips

    DIVERSITY REPORTING circulation 50,000 and over

    City Pages (Twin Cities): Split the Baby by Olivia LaVecchia

    Miami New Times: Bloody Tide by Michael Miller

    Salt Lake City Weekly: Homeland Insecurity by Stephen Dark

    ECONOMIC INEQUALITY REPORTING circulation under 50,000

    East Bay Express: Debtor’s Purgatory by Rachel Swan

    Fort Worth Weekly: No Place to Grow Up by Edward Brown

    The Inlander: Down to the Dollar; Waiting; and Where Are All the Children? by Deanna Pan

    Missoula Independent: Beckoning the Bakken by Matthew Frank

    ECONOMIC INEQUALITY REPORTING circulation 50,000 and over

    City Pages (Twin Cities): The Perfect Victim by Olivia LaVecchia

    Creative Loafing Atlanta: Harm’s Way by Rodney Carmichael

    Miami New Times: Dead in the Water by Michael Miller

    Salt Lake City Weekly: Who Deserves Health Care? by Stephen Dark

    FEATURE STORY circulation under 50,000

    Fort Worth Weekly: From the Land of the Lost by Sarah Angle

    Jackson Free Press: Killing Quardious Thomas by R.L. Nave

    San Antonio Current: Portrait of a Shattered Family by Michael Barajas

    Style Weekly: The Village Son by Tina Griego

    FEATURE STORY circulation 50,000 and over

    Dallas Observer: The Last Ride of Legendary Storm Chaser Tim Samaras by Brantley Hargrove

    SF Weekly: Public Influence: The Immortalization of an Anonymous Death by Albert Samaha

    Westword: Sticks and Stones by Melanie Asmar

    FOOD WRITING circulation under 50,000

    San Antonio Current: On the Line: Finding Female Chefs in San Antonio by Jessica Elizarraras

    FOOD WRITING circulation 50,000 and over

    Chicago Reader: Bean Pie, My Brother?; The Great Tamale Migration; and Albany Park’s Hidden Refugee Farm by Mike Sula

    Miami New Times: How He Rolls by Emily Codik

    INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING circulation under 50,000

    Cleveland Scene: Turmoil at the Museum by Sam Allard, Doug Brown, and Vince Grzegorek

    San Diego CityBeat: 60 Dead Inmates (Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7; Part 8) by Kelly Davis and Dave Maass

    INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING circulation 50,000 and over

    Miami New Times: Biogenesis: The MLB Steroid Scandal by Tim Elfrink

    Phoenix New Times: Injustice for All (Part 1; Part 2; Part 3) by Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons

    Westword: The Meaning of Life by Melanie Asmar

    LONG-FORM NEWS STORY circulation under 50,000

    East Bay Express: Warning: Quake in 60 Seconds by Azeen Ghorayshi

    East Bay Express: Waste: The Dark Side of the New Coffee Craze by Vanessa Rancaño

    Folio Weekly: Stadium Statistics by Ron Word

    The Inlander: It Gets Worse by Daniel Walters

    LONG-FORM NEWS STORY circulation 50,000 and over

    Chicago Reader: Anatomy of a Heroin Ring and Heroin, LLC by Mick Dumke

    City Pages (Twin Cities): Here Comes a Regular by Andy Mannix and Olivia LaVecchia

    Willamette Week: No Good Deed by Nigel Jaquiss

    Willamette Week: The Woman Behind the Bridge by Andrea Damewood

    MUSIC CRITICISM circulation under 50,000

    East Bay Express: A Man Without a Country; The Two Sides of Tony Molina; and Ava Mendoza’s Natural Way (PDF) by Sam Lefebvre

    INDY Week: Justin Timberlake Is Very Popular; The Revamped Image and Resuscitated Brand of Trent Reznor; and MGMT by Jeff Klingman

    Orlando Weekly: Beautifully Weird New Video from Hundred Waters; Discarding the notion of traditional influences in music; and John Vanderslice connects with his Florida roots by Ashley Belanger

    Seven Days: Vultures of Cult; Humpasaur Jones; and Nuda Veritas by Dan Bolles

    Worcester Magazine: Death Metal Takes the Stage; Down ‘The Middle’ of a Country Road; and GWAR Returns by Cade Overton

    MUSIC CRITICISM circulation 50,000 and over

    No award.

    PUBLIC SERVICE circulation under 50,000

    Arkansas Times: Mayflower Oil Spill Coverage (Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7; Part 8; Part 9) by Sam Eifling, Elizabeth McGowan, Lindsey Millar, Susan White, Elizabeth Douglass, David Koon, and Benjamin Hardy

    Boise Weekly: Away with the Whey by Carissa Wolf

    Charleston City Paper: South Carolina School Deregulation (Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5) by Paul Bowers

    Nashville Scene: The Amp (Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7; Part 8; Part 9; Part 10) by Steven Hale

    PUBLIC SERVICE circulation 50,000 and over

    Austin Chronicle: The War on Reproductive Rights by Jordan Smith, Kimberley Jones, Michael King, Amy Smith, and Jason Stout

    New Times Broward-Palm Beach: Queen of Scams by Kyle Swenson

    Philadelphia City Paper: Two Lifers Battle the Code of the Street by Daniel Denvir

    Phoenix New Times: Yarnell Hill Fire by John Dougherty


    INDIVIDUAL BLOG All Publications

    INDY Week: Editor’s Blog by Lisa Sorg

    Washington City Paper: Housing Complex by Aaron Wiener

    MULTIMEDIA All Publications

    Chicago Reader: People Issue 2013 by Staff

    C-Ville Weekly: The Road by Giles Morris, Graelyn Brashear, and Max March

    L.A. Weekly: Mumblegore by Darrick Rainey, Amy Nicholson, Kyle Munk, and Rashmi Kumar

    MUSIC BLOG All Publications

    No award.

    STAFF BLOG All Publications

    City Pages (Twin Cities): The Blotter

    Creative Loafing Atlanta: Fresh Loaf

    Nashville Scene: Pith in the Wind


    Links to the winning cover design, illustration, and photography work will be added soon.

    COVER DESIGN circulation under 50,000

    INDY Week: Covers by D.L. Anderson, Jeremy M. Lange, Maxine Mills, and J.P. Trostle

    The Inlander: Covers by Chris Bovey

    YES! Weekly: Covers by Alex Eldridge and Mallory Southern

    COVER DESIGN circulation 50,000 and over

    Chicago Reader: Covers by Paul John Higgins and Mike McQuade

    Philadelphia Weekly: Covers by Stephen H. Segal

    Sacramento News & Review: Covers by Hayley Doshay and Brian Breneman

    San Francisco Bay Guardian: Covers by Brooke Ginnard

    EDITORIAL LAYOUT circulation under 50,000

    Dig Boston: Terror: Then and Now (PDF) by Chris Faraone, Derek Kouyoumjian, and Gustav Hoiland

    The Inlander: Music Festival (PDF) by Chris Bovey

    Worcester Magazine: Whiskered Wonderland (PDF) by Kim Vasseur

    EDITORIAL LAYOUT circulation 50,000 and over

    City Pages (Twin Cities): Picked to Click (PDF) by Emily Utne

    Creative Loafing Atlanta: The Atlanta Craft Beer Crawl (PDF) by Wes Duvall and Laura Zerlin

    Las Vegas Weekly: The 20 Most Important Restaurants in Las Vegas (PDF) by Wesley Gatbonton, Elizabeth Brown, and Corlene Byrd

    ILLUSTRATION circulation under 50,000

    Dig Boston: Wheels for All Wills by Chris O’Neill and Scott Murry

    INDY Week: The Sweltering Farmer’s Almanac by J.P. Trostle

    Seven Days: Comedy by Kym Balthazar

    ILLUSTRATION circulation 50,000 and over

    City Pages (Twin Cities): Twin Cities People You’ve Probably Dated by Ken Avidor

    Chicago Reader: Pitchfork Music Festival by Jason Wyatt Frederick

    Phoenix New Times: Patriot Games by Peter Storch and Brian Stauffer

    PHOTOGRAPHY circulation under 50,000

    Cincinnati CityBeat: Photos by Jesse Fox

    Santa Barbara Independent: Photos by Paul Wellman

    Style Weekly: Photos by Scott Elmquist

    PHOTOGRAPHY circulation 50,000 and over

    Creative Loafing Atlanta: Photos by Joeff Davis

    OC Weekly: Photos by Riley Kern and Dustin Ames

    Washington City Paper: Photos by Darrow Montgomery


    CARTOON (listed alphabetically by last name)

    Cullum Rogers, INDY Week

    Jen Sorensen, Slowpoke Comics

    Tom Tomorrow, This Modern World


    Chicago Reader: How to Survive a Shooting by Darryl Holliday and E.N. Rodriguez

    Seven Days: Bina the Robot by Don Eggert, Eva Sollberger, Megan James, and Aaron Shrewsbur

    Willamette Week: 24-Hour Arty People by Rebecca Jacobson

    SPECIAL SECTION circulation under 50,000

    Cleveland Scene: The Cleveland Comedy Issue by Staff

    Nashville Scene: Best of Nashville by Staff

    Santa Barbara Independent: Best of Santa Barbara in 3D by Staff

    SPECIAL SECTION circulation 50,000 and over

    Creative Loafing Atlanta: John Lewis Issue (PDF) by Andrew Aydin, William J. Barber II, Shabnam Bashiri, Dustin Chambers, Joeff Davis, Wes Duvall, Amy Goodman, Alice Johnson, John Lewis, Debbie Michaud, Denis Moynihan, Nan Orrock, Alyssa Pointer, Nate Powell, Thomas Wheatley, Wyatt Williams, and Rolando Zenteno

    Washington City Paper: The Pot Issue (PDF) by Martin Austermuhle, Dean Essner, Jonathan L. Fischer, Dominic Holden, Carey Jordan, Mike Madden, Darrow Montgomery, Jenny Rogers, Michael Roberts, Jandos Rothstein, Jessica Sidman, Will Sommer, and Perry Stein

    We’re working to add links for all the finalists as quickly as possible. Questions can be directed to jason[at]aan.org