2017 AAN Awards Finalists Announced

The finalists for the 2017 AAN Awards have been selected. The finalists below were chosen as the most outstanding from a field of 817 entries submitted by 67 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 29 at the AAN Convention in DC.

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 $250 funded by Isthmus founder Vince O’Hern.

East Bay Express: Art Gallery Grifter by Sarah Burke

Missoula Independent: Shortchanged by Kate Whittle

Missoula Independent: Words within the Walls by Erika Fredrickson

Santa Barbara Independent: The Kidnap Scam by Keith Hamm


FEATURE STORY circulation 45,000 & over

Winner will receive $250 funded by Isthmus founder Vince O’Hern.

Dallas Observer: Body Hackers and Bioengineers Are Trying to Make DFW a Hub of Implantable Electronics by Joe Pappalardo

Houston Press: Kush City: Houston has Become a Major Hub for the Latest Drug of Choice by Leif Reigstad

Houston Press: Sorry for Life?: Ashley Ervin Didn’t Kill Anyone, But She Drove Home the Boys Who Did by Meagan Flynn

Nashville Scene: Anton Kanevsky Jumped to His Death From a 31-Story Downtown Building. Why? by Amanda Haggard



Winner will receive $500 funded by Monterey County Weekly founder & CEO Bradley Zeve.

North Coast Journal: Police Videos (I; II; III; IV; V; VI; VII; VIII; IX; X) by Thadeus Greenson

Sacramento News & Review: Series on K.J.’s Shadow Government (I; II; III; IV; V; VI) by Nick Miller

Seven Days: Seven Days Fights Subpoenas (I; II; III) by Paul Heintz, Terri Hallenbeck


INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING circulation under 45,000

Winner will receive $250 funded by New Times co-founder Michael Lacey.

North Coast Journal: The Case of the Missing $5 Million by Linda Stansberry

Santa Barbara Independent: Joel Alcox is Resurrected (I; II) by Tyler Hayden

Santa Fe Reporter: Puff of Smoke by Jeff Proctor, New Mexico In Depth

The Pitch: Prison Broke (I; II; III) by Karen Dillon


INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING circulation 45,000 & over

Winner will receive $250 funded by New Times co-founder Michael Lacey.

Chicago Reader: No-show cops and dysfunctional courts keep Cook County Jail inmates waiting years for a trial by Spencer Woodman, Robin Amer, Esther Kaplan

Houston Press: As Regulation Lags, Texas Flats Boat Casualties Mount by Dianna Wray

Houston Press: Officials Can’t Remember the Last Time HPD Saw an Unjustified Shooting. Here’s Why. by Michael Barajas, Craig Malisow

The Village Voice: Hell on Wheels: Port Authority’s Broken Promise Is Choking Newark’s Kids (I; II; III) by Max Rivlin-Nadler


LGBT COVERAGE circulation under 45,000

Winner will receive $250 funded by Colorado Springs Independent former CEO Fran Zankowski.

INDY Week: The 30 Years That Brought Us HB 2 by Barry Yeoman

Orlando Weekly: Pulse In Memoriam: Remembering the Orlando 49 (I; II; III; IV; V) by Monivette Cordeiro

Creative Loafing Tampa: Profiles in Pride (I; II; III; IV) by David Warner

YES! Weekly: Out in the South by Steve Mitchell, Deonna Kelli Sayed, Jeff Sykes


LGBT COVERAGE circulation 45,000 & over

Winner will receive $250 funded by Colorado Springs Independent former CEO Fran Zankowski.

Isthmus: Young and homeless: LGBTQ+ youth are at greatest risk by Jenny Peek

Metro Times: The Throwaways by Allie Gross, Iain Maitland

Miami New Times: Decades After Andy Sweet’s Murder, His Iconic South Beach Photos Are Resurrected by Jessica Weiss

Washington City Paper: A Gay Old Time by Andrew Giambrone


RACE REPORTING circulation under 45,000

Winner will receive $250 funded by Charleston City Paper co-owner and AAN President Blair Barna.

C-Ville Weekly: Searching for solutions by Jordy Yager

Gambit: Black Lives Matter and Confederate statues in Louisiana (I; II; III) by Alex Woodward

Jackson Free Press: Jumping the Line: Caught in the Crossfire of Ridgeland’s Demographic Struggles (I; II) by Sierra Mannie

Seven Days: Finding Her Voice: Hate Crime Victim Fatuma Bulle Advocates for Refugee Women and Families; Cover Girls sidebar by Kymelya Sari


RACE REPORTING circulation 45,000 & over

Winner will receive $250 funded by Charleston City Paper co-owner and AAN President Blair Barna.

Chicago Reader: The Goldberg variation: High-rise public housing that works by Maya Dukmasova, Robin Amer

Houston Press: HISD’s College Success Program Uncovered Inequities and Is Changing the Status Quo by Margaret Downing

Pittsburgh City Paper: The Story of Martin Esquivel Hernandez (I; II; III; IV; V; VI) by Ryan Deto

Willamette Week: Shakedown by Leah Sottile


FILM CRITICISM circulation under 45,000

Winner will receive $250 funded by Southcomm in honor of Nashville Scene’s late Editor Jim Ridley

CITY Newspaper: Film Criticism (I; II; III) by Adam Lubitow

Orlando Weekly: Film Criticism (I; II; III) by Thaddeus McCollum

Seven Days: Film Criticism (I; II; III) by Margot Harrison

The Pitch: Film Criticism (I; II; III) by Scott Wilson


FILM CRITICISM circulation 45,000 & over

Winner will receive $250 funded by Southcomm in honor of Nashville Scene’s late Editor Jim Ridley

Baltimore City Paper: Film Criticism (I; II; III) by Adam Katzman

Chicago Reader: Film Criticism (I; II; III) by J.R. Jones

Salt Lake City Weekly: Film Criticism (I; II; III) by Scott Renshaw

The Village Voice: Film Criticism (I; II; III) by Melissa Anderson



ARTS CRITICISM circulation under 45,000

Charleston City Paper: All the City’s a Stage (I; II; III; IV; V) by Maura Hogan

Creative Loafing Tampa: The Underpants at Jobsite: Better without themThe Realistic Joneses at Tampa Rep: Weirdly wonderfulThe Great Gatsby: Human, all too human by Mark Leib

Eugene Weekly: It’s Not Funny Anymore–In Tickled, journalist David Farrier exposes the wealth, power and abuse behind a bizarre Internet fetish by Rick Levin

Orlando Weekly: The word made flesh: Text-based art in the age of InstagramSweet dreams are made of this: Will Cotton’s candy-coated girlsThe sublimity of the known: Gary Metz renders the vernacular transcendent by Jessica Bryce Young


ARTS CRITICISM circulation 45,000 & over

Houston Press: Theater Columns (I; II; III) by D.L. Groover

Houston Press: Theater Criticism (I; II; III) by Jessica Goldman

Washington City Paper: Art Blanche; The Man Behind the Curtain; Rip It Up and Start Again by Kriston Capps

Washington City Paper: Just Like Heaven: Angels in America at Round House Theatre, ReviewedHand to God Manages to Be Sympathetic, Godless, and Hilariously FunnyThe Shakespeare Theatre Company’s The Taming of the Shrew Is a Drag by Chris Klimek


ARTS FEATURE circulation under 45,000

CITY Newspaper: Carvin Eison opens the lens to the community by Rebecca Rafferty

Folio Weekly: Hardcore Focus by Daniel Brown

The Memphis Flyer: Operation Broken Silence by Chris McCoy

YES! Weekly: What Does and Artist Look Like? by John Adamain


ARTS FEATURE circulation 45,000 & over

Chicago Reader: At Profiles Theatre the drama—and abuse—is real by Aimee Levitt, Christopher Piatt, Robin Amer, Jake Malooley, Paul John Higgins

L.A. Weekly: From Hollywood to Silicon Beach, L.A. Creatives Are Plotting Virtual Reality’s Boom by Liz Ohanesian

Phoenix New Times: Can The Eagles’ “Take It Easy” Save Winslow, Arizona? by Sativa Peterson

The Inlander: Never Gonna Give You Up by Dan Nailen


BEAT REPORTING circulation under 45,000

Boulder Weekly: Sports Beat (I; II; III; IV; V) by Emma Murray

East Bay Express: Bad Landlords (I; II; III; IV; V) by Darwin BondGraham

San Antonio Current: Immigration (I; II; III; IV; V) by Michael Barajas

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


BEAT REPORTING circulation 45,000 & over

L.A. Weekly: L.A. County Has Had More Than 1,300 Police Shootings Since 2000. Why Has No Officer Been Charged? (I; II; III; IV; V) by Jason McGahan

The Inlander: Criminal Justice Beat (I; II; III; IV; V) by Mitch Ryals

Pittsburgh City Paper: Sports Coverage (I; II; III; IV; V) by Charlie Deitch

Willamette Week: Housing Stories (I; II; III; IV; V) by Rachel Monahan


COLUMN circulation under 45,000

Cincinnati CityBeat: Columns on Media and Streetcars (I; II; III) by Danny Cross

Coachella Valley Independent: Know Your Neighbors (I; II; III) by Anita Rufus

Planet Jackson Hole: Dispatch From Chios: We are the Same by Natosha Hoduski


COLUMN circulation 45,000 & over

Dallas Observer: Column (I; II; III) by Jim Schutze

Nashville Scene: Vodka Yonic (I; II; III) by Nancy Floyd, Megan Seling, Elizabeth Jones

Pittsburgh City Paper: Pittsburgh Left (I; II; III) by Charlie Deitch


COLUMN (POLITICAL) circulation under 45,000

Creative Loafing Tampa: Poet’s Notebook (I; II; III) by Peter Meinke

Jackson Free Press: Editor’s Notes (I; II; III) by Donna Ladd

Riverfront Times: Columns (I; II; III) by Sarah Fenske

The Pitch: Columns (I; II; III) by Barbara Shelly


COLUMN (POLITICAL) circulation 45,000 & over

Austin Chronicle: Point Austin (I; II; III) by Michael King

Dallas Observer: Columns (I; II; III) by Jim Schutze

L.A. Weekly: Columns (I; II; III) by Henry Rollins


FOOD WRITING circulation under 45,000

Charleston City Paper: Eat (I; II; III) by Kinsey Gidick

Cleveland Scene: Food Writing (I; II; III) by Douglas Trattner

East Bay Express: Food Writing (I; II; III) by Luke Tsai

Seven Days: Food Writing (I; II; III) by Hannah Palmer Egan


FOOD WRITING circulation 45,000 & over

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

Sacramento News & Review: Sushi, American Style by Janelle Bitker

Washington City Paper: Young and Hungry (I; II; III) by Laura Hayes

Willamette Week: “I Ate the Whole Thing,” “Closing Time,” and “Ramen Stories” by Matthew Korfhage


LONG-FORM NEWS STORY circulation under 45,000

Arkansas Times: Arkansan of the Year: The newly insured by Benjamin Hardy

C-Ville Weekly: Casualties in the war on drugs by Lisa Provence

East Bay Express: Caltrans Trashing Homeless Encampments (I; II) by Darwin BondGraham

INDY Week: The Snitch by John Tucker


LONG-FORM NEWS STORY circulation 45,000 & over

Houston Press: Get a Ticket While Being Poor in Houston? Here’s How You Might Wind Up in Jail by Michael Barajas

Sacramento News & Review: Homeless – and in hiding by Raheem F. Hosseini

The Inlander: Nothing But the Truth? by Mitch Ryals

Willamette Week: Bundyland by John Sepulvado


MUSIC WRITING circulation under 45,000

INDY Week: Music Writing (I; II; III; IV; V) by Allison Hussey


MUSIC WRITING circulation 45,000 & over

Chicago Reader: Music Writing (I; II; III) by Leor Galil

L.A. Weekly: Music Writing (I; II; III) by Matt Wake

Miami New Times: DJ Khaled’s Journey of Success Started Long Before Snapchat by Ryan Pfeffer

Westword: Is This the Most Hated Band in Colorado? by Chris Walker


PUBLIC SERVICE circulation under 45,000

Colorado Springs Independent: Troubles in the Colorado Springs Police Department (I; II; III; IV; V; VI; VII; VIII; IX) by Pam Zubeck

Flagpole Magazine: Crisis at Cedar Shoals High School (I; II; III; IV; V; VI; VII; VIII; IX; X) by Blake Aued, Rebecca McCarthy

Jackson Free Press: A Hunger to Live: Interrupting Violence in Jackson, Miss. (I; II; III; IV; V; VI; VII; VIII; IX; X) by Donna Ladd, Arielle Dreher, Imani Khayyam, Tim Summers Jr., Sierra Mannie, Maya Miller, Marzavier Harrington, Kristin Brenemen

The Portland Mercury: Stained Glass: Exposing Portland’s Toxic Art Glass Factories (I; II; III; IV; V; VI; VII; VIII; IX; X) by Daniel Forbes, Dirk VanderHart


PUBLIC SERVICE circulation 45,000 & over

Miami New Times: Kids Drown in Cruise Ship Pools With No Lifeguards on Duty by Jessica Lipscomb

The Village Voice: The Scam Albany Won’t Fix: Meet the Energy Companies Swindling Thousands of New Yorkers, and the State Watchdog Letting It Happen (I; II) by Jon Campbell

Willamette Week: Resist by Rachel Monahan, Nigel Jaquiss, Beth Slovic, Piper McDaniel, Sophia June, Aaron Mesh



COVER DESIGN circulation under 45,000

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

Good Times Santa Cruz: Cover Designs (I; II; III) by Tabi Zarrinnaal

INDY Week: Cover Designs (I; II; III) by Shan Stumpf, Skillet Gilmore

Seven Days: Cover Designs (I; II; III) byDiane Sullivan, Brooke Bousquet, Kym Balthazar, Jeff Drew


COVER DESIGN circulation 45,000 & over

Dallas Observer: Cover Designs (I; II; III) by Sarah Schumacher

Nashville Scene: Cover Designs (I; II; III) by Elizabeth Jones, Heather Lose

NOW Magazine: Cover Designs (I; II; III) by Michelle Wong, Troy Beyer, Stephen Chester, Tanja Tiziana

Phoenix New Times: Cover Designs (I; II; III) by Tom Carlson


EDITORIAL LAYOUT circulation under 45,000

City Newspaper: Black Teachers Matter by Ryan Williamson, Justyn Iannucci, Mark Chamberlin

City Newspaper: Rochester 10 by Ryan Williamson

Colorado Springs Independent: The things they carry by Dustin Glatz

Santa Fe Reporter: Bringing Chaco Home by Anson Stevens-Bollen


EDITORIAL LAYOUT circulation 45,000 & over

Las Vegas Weekly: Is It Over Yet? by Corlene Byrd

Nashville Scene: Pick Your Poison by Elizabeth Jones

The Inlander: Scandals Section by Derek Harrison


ILLUSTRATION circulation under 45,000

Cleveland Scene: Cavs Championship Illustration by Oliver Barrett

Gambit: The State of Women Part Two

Orlando Weekly: Heavy is the Head by Samantha Shumaker

Seven Days: Wellness Issue Challenge by Sean Metcalf


ILLUSTRATION circulation 45,000 & over

Isthmus: Six Stories of Adventure by Carolyn Fath, Michael Hirshon

L.A. Weekly: Best of LA (I; II; III; IV; V; VI) by Scott Anderson

Phoenix New Times: Into The Woods by Vlad Alvarez

The Inlander: Scholastic Fantastic (I; II; III; IV; V) by Jeff Drew


PHOTOGRAPHY circulation under 45,000

Eugene Weekly: 2016 In Music (I; II; III; IV; V; VI; VII; VIII; IX; X) by Todd Cooper

INDY Week: Photography (I; II; III; IV; V; VI; VII: VIII; IX; X) by Alex Boerner and Ben McKeown

Orlando Weekly: Pulse Photographs by Monivette Cordeiro

Style Weekly: Protest 2016 (I; II; III; IV; V; VI; VII; VIII; IX; X) by Scott Elmquist


PHOTOGRAPHY circulation 45,000 & over

Baltimore City Paper: Photography (I; II; III; IV; V; VI; VII; VIII; IX; X) by J.M. Giordano

Dallas Observer: ‘The Gut’ and the Glory: A Story in Photos by Danny Fulgencio

Houston Press: A Real Life Look at Kush Use in Houston (I; II; III; IV; V; VI; VII; VIII) by Leif Reigstad

L.A. Weekly: People 2016 (I; II; III; IV; V; VI; VII; VIII; IX; X) by Danny Liao




Creative Loafing Tampa: Self Publishing Notebook (I; II; III) by Jon Kile



Chicago Reader: People Issue video profiles (I; II) by Scrappers Film Group, Danielle A. Scruggs, Paul John Higgins

Seven Days: Stuck in Vermont 460: River of Light Harvest Moon Winooski Paddle by Eva Sollberger

Seven Days: Stuck Inside a Vermonter’s Colon by Eva Sollberger, Diane Sullivan, Bryan Parmelee

YES! Weekly: Coen Crisp changes more than pronouns (I; II) by Deonna Kelli Sayed



Creative Loafing Tampa: CL at the RNC/DNC (I; II; III; IV; V) by Kate Bradshaw, David Warner, Michael Howard, Joeff Davis

Houston Press: News Staff Blog (I; II; III; IV; V) by Meagan Flynn, Leif Reigstad

Orlando Weekly: Bloggytown (I; II; III; IV; V) by Colin Wolf, Monivete Cordeiro

Pittsburgh City Paper: Politicrap (I; II; III; IV; V) by Rebecca Addison, Ryan Deto




INDY Week: Peripheral Visions (I; II; III; IV; V) by V.C. Rogers

Mountain Xpress: Cartoons (I; II; III; IV; V) by Brent Brown

NUVO: Gadfly (I; II; III; IV; V) by Wayne Bertsch

San Luis Obispo New Times: Cartoons (I; II; III: IV; V) by Russel Hodin



NUVO: Pocket Guide to Protesting (I; II) by NUVO Staff

Seven Days: Feel The Bern Adult Coloring Contest (I; II; III) by Marc Nadel, Bryan Parmelee, Pamela Polston, Cathy Resmer

Pittsburgh City Paper: Brain Feaster Sunday by Em DeMarco

Willamette Week: Slurptown by Matthew Korfhage, Adrienne So, Martin Cizmar, Zach Middleton, Nick Zukin, Michael C. Zusman, Ken Gordon



Cleveland Scene: A Very Special RNC Coloring Book; Because If They Can Act Like Children, So Can You by Staff

L.A. Weekly: People Issue by Staff

Seven Days: What’s Good: The Seven Days Field Guide to Burlington by Carolyn Fox, Dan Bolles, Diane Sullivan, Cathy Resmer, Paula Routly, Don Eggert

Willamette Week: Going Coastal by Martin Cizmar, Staff


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