2016 AAN Awards Finalists Announced

The finalists for the 2016 AAN Awards have been selected. The finalists below were chosen as the most outstanding from a field of 821 entries submitted by 70 alternative publications across the U.S. and Canada.

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. Judging was conducted by the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland.

The winners will be announced during a reception on July 9 at the AAN Convention in Austin, Texas.

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 place was not awarded.





FEATURE STORY circulation under 45,000

Winner will receive $200 funded by Isthmus founder Vince O’Hern.

Arkansas Times: A Killing in Pocahontas by Will Stephenson

Cleveland Scene: The Corvette Thief by Vince Grzegorek

East Bay Express: Racial Profiling Via Nextdoor.com by Sam Levin

Santa Barbara Independent: Sea Lions by Nick Welsh
FEATURE STORY circulation 45,000 & over

Winner will receive $200 funded by Isthmus founder Vince O’Hern.

L.A. Weekly: How a Dogged DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA’s Alleged Role in the Murder of Kiki Camarena by Jason McGahan

Metro Times: Out From Under by Allie Gross

OC Weekly: Accused Murderer Awaits Execution While OC Prosecutors Hide Exculpatory DNA by R. Scott Moxley

Washington City Paper: Club Dread by Will Sommer

Winner will receive $400 funded by Monterey County Weekly founder & CEO Bradley Zeve.

Jackson Free Press: Taking on Secretive PACs in Mississippi (I; II; III; IV; V; VI; VII; VIII; IX; X) by Arielle Dreher and Donna Ladd

Monterey County Weekly: True Confessions: The Case of Father Edward Fitz-Henry by Sara Rubin and Mary Duan

North Coast Journal: Exempt from Disclosure (I; II; III; IV) by Thadeus Greenson

Sacramento News & Review: SN&R vs. Mayor Kevin Johnson (I; II; III; IV; V; VI; VII; VIII; IX; X) by Cosmo Garvin and Nick Miller

Winner will receive $400 funded by New Times co-founder Michael Lacey.

Arkansas Times: Rehomed: A State Representative, a Failed Adoption, a Child Exploited (I; II; III) by Benjamin Hardy

Boulder Weekly: Behind the Curtain by Joel Dyer

North Bay Bohemian: Pinot vs. Coho by Will Parrish

Seven Days: Attorney General Bill Sorrell’s Uneven Compliance With Campaign Finance Law (I; II; III; IV; V; VI; VII; VIII; IX; X) by Paul Heintz

Winner will receive $400 funded by Colorado Springs Independent former CEO Fran Zankowski.

Arkansas Times: Ruth Coker Burks, the Cemetery Angel by David Koon

Gambit: Same-sex marriage comes to Louisiana (I; II; III; IV; V) by Kevin Allman, Alex Woodward, Jeanie Riess, Robert Morris, and Charles Cody Siler

NUVO: Trans Athlete by Amber Stearns

San Luis Obispo New Times: Hello, my name is by Colin Rigley

Winner will receive $400 funded by Charleston City Paper co-owner and AAN President Blair Barna.

Chicago Reader: The Most Important Issue in the Mayoral Race No One’s Talking About by Steve Bogira and Mick Dumke

Cincinnati CityBeat: That Which Divides Us by Nick Swartsell

Lagniappe: DiverseCity: An Exploration of Race in Mobile and Baldwin Counties (Stories and Maps) by Gabriel Tynes, Dale Liesch, Jason Johnson, Eric Mann, and John Kelsey

Washington City Paper: Where The Sidewalk Ends by Will Sommer



ARTS CRITICISM circulation under 45,000

East Bay Express: What Was Withheld; The Sonic Sweet Spot; and Oceanic Aspirations by Sarah Burke

INDY Week: Rite of Refusal;Identity Crisis; and Blackboard Shatteringby Byron Woods

Memphis Flyer: Fifty Shades of Grey; Is Loving the Wrong Approach?; and I Thought I Might Find You Here by Eileen Townsend

Orlando Weekly: Jess T. Dugan’s Portraits Look Into You; Art in Odd Places; and The “Visual Anthropology” of Bayeté Ross Smith by Richard T. Reep
ARTS CRITICISM circulation 45,000 & over

Chicago Reader: Fifty Shades of Grey; Batkid Begins; and Best of Enemies by J.R. Jones

Creative Loafing Atlanta: It Follows; Southpaw; Females Are Strong as Hell by Curt Holman

L.A. Weekly: Margot Robbie Will Be a Major Star if She Stays Nasty; ‘Get Hard’ Has Too Many Prison Rape Jokes, but Kevin Hart’s Neediness Saves the Movie; The “Man-Child Movie” Trend Must End by Amy Nicholson

Willamette Week: It Used To Be Better by Richard Speer
ARTS FEATURE circulation under 45,000

East Bay Express: Rap’s Poetic License: Revoked by Sam Lefebvre

INDY Week: Code Green by Brian Howe

Memphis Flyer: Best of Enemies by Chris McCoy
ARTS FEATURE circulation 45,000 & over

The Inlander: Monsters & Demons by Mike Bookey

L.A. Weekly: Can Budget-Slasher Jason Blum Prove the Way Hollywood Makes Movies is Horrifyingly Wrong? by Amy Nicholson

L.A. Weekly: Why CDs May Actually Sound Better Than Vinyl by Chris Kornelis

Westword: The Demon Dog in Denver by Alan Prendergast
BEAT REPORTING circulation under 45,000

INDY Week: Criminal Justice Reporting (I; II; III; IV; V) by John H. Tucker

Mountain Xpress: Farming, Sustainability and the Environment in Western NC (I; II; III; IV; V) by Carrie Eidson

Seven Days: Cops and Courts (I; II; III; IV; V) by Mark Davis


BEAT REPORTING circulation 45,000 & over

The Inlander: Education Reporting (I; II; III; IV; V) by Daniel Walters

Phoenix New Times: Marijuana in Arizona (I; II; III; IV; V) by Ray Stern


COLUMN circulation under 45,000

Charleston City Paper: H1gher Learning (I; II; III) by K.J. Kearney

The Pitch: Streetside (I; II; III; IV; V) by David Hudnall

Seven Days: Poli Psy (I; II; III) by Judith Levine

Seven Days: WTF: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (I; II; III) by Ken Picard
COLUMN circulation 45,000 & over

Austin Chronicle: Playback (I; II; III) by Kevin Curtin

Nashville Scene: Vodka Yonic (I; II; III) by Clara Kim, Kim Green, and Abby White

Phoenix New Times: Columns (I; II; III) by Robrt Pela

Willamette Week: Lady Things (I; II; III) by Lizzy Acker
COLUMN (POLITICAL) circulation under 45,000

East Bay Express: Seven Days by Robert Gammon

Gambit: Columns (I; II; III) by Clancy DuBos

LEO Weekly: Editor’s Note (I; II; III) by Aaron Yarmuth

Triad City Beat: Citizen Green (I; II; III) by Jordan Green
COLUMN (POLITICAL) circulation 45,000 & over

Chicago Reader: Columns (I; II; III) by Ben Joravsky

Metro Times: Politics & Prejudice (I; II; III) by Jack Lessenberry

Miami New Times: El Jefe (I; II) by Chuck Strouse

Phoenix New Times: Columns by (I; II; III) by Stephen Lemons
FOOD WRITING circulation under 45,000

Charleston City Paper: Making Cents: A by-the-numbers look at the price of dining in Charleston by Stephanie Burt

East Bay Express: Food Writing by Luke Tsai

Gambit: Food Writing (I; II; III) by Helen Freund
FOOD WRITING circulation 45,000 & over

L.A. Weekly: Food Writing (I; II; III) by Besha Rodell

Phoenix New Times: Wok Away by Lauren Saria

Washington City Paper: ‘Young & Hungry’ Columns (I; II; III) by Jessica Sidman

Willamette Week: Food Writing (I; II; III) by Martin Cizmar
LONG-FORM NEWS STORY circulation under 45,000

Illinois Times: Horrific Healthcare by Bruce Rushton

Memphis Flyer: The Brady Bunch by Toby Sells

The Pitch: How does a mother lose custody of her child to a man the courts know has beaten her? In Eastern Jackson County, it’s not that hard and An eastern Jackson County court found it easy to blame a domestic-violence victim by David Hudnall
LONG-FORM NEWS STORY circulation 45,000 & over

Creative Loafing Atlanta: Unanswered by Max Blau

L.A. Weekly: A Drug Rehab Mogul Built an Empire That’s Now Being Probed by the FBI, DA and State of California by Hillel Aron

Westword: No Admitting by Alan Prendergast

Willamette Week: Rat Tale by Aaron Mesh
MUSIC WRITING circulation under 45,000

Cincinnati CityBeat: We’ll Always Have Short Vine by Brian Baker

INDY Week: Music Writing (I; II; III) by Grayson Haver Currin

San Antonio Current: Music Writing (I; II; III) by Matt Stieb

Santa Fe Reporter: Music Writing (I; II; III) by Alex De Vore
MUSIC WRITING circulation 45,000 & over

The Inlander: Music Writing (I; II; III) by Laura Johnson

L.A. Weekly: Music Writing (I; II; III) by Andy Hermann

Washington City Paper: Music Writing (I; II; III) by Ron Knox

Willamette Week: Music Writing (I; II; III) by Matthew Singer
PUBLIC SERVICE circulation under 45,000

Flagpole Magazine: Racial Discrimination in Downtown Athens, GA (I; II; III; IV; V; VI; VII; VIII; IX; X) by Blake Aued

Illinois Times: Prying Loose Gov. Bruce Rauner’s secrets (I; II; III; IV; V) by Bruce Rushton

Jackson Free Press: The Fight to Change the Mississippi Flag (I; II; III; IV; V; VI; VII; VIII; IX; X) Todd Stauffer, Donna Ladd, Arielle Dreher, Kristin Brenemen, Imani Khayyam, Amber Helsel, Micah Smith, Dustin Cardon, Adria Walker, Maya Miller, Zilpha Young, and Kimberly Griffin
PUBLIC SERVICE circulation 45,000 & over

Metro Silicon Valley: Water District Conflicts of Interest in a Time of Drought (I; II; III; IV; V; VI; VII; VIII; IX) Josh Koehn

Metro Times: Flint Water Coverage (I; II; III; IV; V) by Curt Guyette

OC Weekly: OC Snitch Scandal (I; II; III; IV; V; VI; VII; VIII; IX) by R. Scott Moxley

Willamette Week: Home Sweet Hustle (I; II; III) by Nigel Jaquiss



COVER DESIGN circulation under 45,000

Boulder Weekly: Covers by Dave Kirby, Susan France, and Mark Goodman

Cincinnati CityBeat: Covers (I; II; III) by Jennifer Hoffman

Eugene Weekly: Covers (I; II; III) by Trask Bedortha, Todd Cooper, Darren Quardt, and Andy Singer

Santa Fe Reporter: Covers (I; II; III) by Anson Stevens-Bollen
COVER DESIGN circulation 45,000 & over

Austin Chronicle: Covers (I; II; III) by Jason Stout

Creative Loafing Atlanta: Covers (I; II; III) by Wes Duvall and Rachel Hortman

Nashville Scene: Covers (I; II; III) by Elizabeth Jones

Pittsburgh City Paper: Covers (I; II; III) by Lisa Cunningham, John Colombo, Sarah Wilson, Renee Rosensteel, Heather Mull, and David Pohl
EDITORIAL LAYOUT circulation under 45,000

San Antonio Current: San Antonio Emojis by Sarah Flood-Baumann

San Antonio Current: Wanted: Shelter by Eli Miller

Santa Barbara Independent: Taco Town by Staff
EDITORIAL LAYOUT circulation 45,000 & over

Isthmus: SummerTimes Music Preview by Tommy Washbush

Las Vegas Weekly: Cool Summer by Corlene Byrd

Nashville Scene: Adventures in Drinking by Elizabeth Jones

Nashville Scene: All You Need is Grub by Elizabeth Jones
ILLUSTRATION circulation under 45,000

Charleston City Paper: Best of Charleston (I; II; III; IV) by Scott Suchy

Cleveland Scene: Terry Francona, In Tito We Trust by Oliver Barrett

Eugene Weekly: Summer Food by Trask Bedortha

Seven Days: Sweet Deal by Jeff Drew
ILLUSTRATION circulation 45,000 & over

Creative Loafing Atlanta: Best of the Blotter by Tray Butler

The Inlander: Crime-Fighter + Criminal by Jeff Drew

Nashville Scene: Best of Nashville by Rachel Briggs

Nashville Scene: Brain’s Song by Daniel Hertzberg
PHOTOGRAPHY circulation under 45,000

East Bay Express: Photos (I; II; III; IV; V; VI; VII; VIII; IX; X) by Bert Johnson

Eugene Weekly: 2015 Music Coverage (I; II; III; IV; V; VI; VII; VIII; IX; X) by Todd Cooper

Style Weekly: Photos (I; II; III; IV; V; VI; VII; VIII; IX; X) by Scott Elmquist

Worcester Mag: Chasing Ebola (I; II; III; IV; V; VI; VII; VIII; IX; X) by Steven King
PHOTOGRAPHY circulation 45,000 & over

Baltimore City Paper: Freddie Gray Protests: The Battle of Sandtown-Winchester by J.M. Giordano

The Inlander: Photos (I; II; III; IV; V; VI; VII; VIII) by Young Kwak

Washington City Paper: Photos (I; II; III; IV; V; VI; VII; VIII; IX; X) by Darrow Montgomery




Creative Loafing Tampa: Potlikker (I; II; III: IV; V)

Miami New Times: Cultist (I; II; III: IV; V)

Phoenix New Times: Chow Bella (I; II; III: IV; V)

Seven Days: Live Culture (I; II; III: IV; V)

Miami New Times: Mac’s Club Deuce: An Oral History by Ryan Pfeffer and Laurie Charles

Seven Days: U.S. Winter Swimming Championship by Eva Sollberger

Willamette Week: Burnside Skatepark Turns 25 by Lucas Chemotti

Worcester Mag: Chasing Ebola by Walter Bird Jr, Steven King, Mike Murray, and Joe Santa Maria

Cleveland Scene: Scene and Heard (I; II; III: IV; V)

Creative Loafing Atlanta: Fresh Loaf (I; II; III: IV; V)

Houston Press: News Blog (I; II; III: IV; V)

Miami New Times: Riptide (I; II; III: IV; V)



CARTOON (listed alphabetically by last name)

Harry Bliss, Seven Days (I; II; III; IV; V)

V.C. Rogers, INDY Week (I; II; III; IV; V)

Jen Sorensen, Jen Sorensen Comics (I; II; III; IV; V)

Creative Loafing Atlanta: Food Issue by Wes Duvall, Rachel Hortman, Stephanie Dazey, Brad Kaplan, and Jennifer Zyman

NUVO: The Militant LGBTQ Agenda! by NUVO Editors

Pittsburgh City Paper: Gender Pronouns: An Introduction by Em DeMarco

Willamette Week: The Goonies Issue by Matthew Korfhage, Andy Kryza, and Matthew Singer

Charleston City Paper: DISH: The Gullah Issue by Kinsey Gidick, KJ Kearney, Jeff Allen, Robert Moss, Eric Doksa, David Shields, and Charlotte Jenkins

Chicago Reader: The Food Issue: An Exploration of Midwestern Cuisine by Jake Malooley, Robin Amer, Aimee Levitt, Mike Sula, Gwynedd Stuart, Julia Thiel, and Tanner Howard

L.A. Weekly: People 2015 by Staff

Seven Days: 20/20 Hindsight: A Look Back on Two Decades of Vermont News, Views and Culture by Pamela Polston, Paula Routly, Cathy Resmer, and Don Eggert