2018 AAN Awards Finalists Announced

The finalists for the 2018 AAN Awards have been selected. The finalists below were chosen as the most outstanding from a field of nearly 700 entries submitted by 55 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.

The winners will be announced during a reception on July 28 at the AAN Convention in San Diego.

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 40,000

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

Folio Weekly: Let the Ceremonies Begin by Daniel Brown

Fort Worth Weekly: All the Pretty People by Kathy Cruz

The Inlander: Life After Freeman by Mitch Ryals

Tulsa Voice: Thick black smoke by Mason Whitehorn Powell


FEATURE STORY circulation 40,000 & over

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

Houston Press: Corrupt Businessmen Looted Venezuela, and Now Many Live Quietly in Houston and Miami by Zach Despart

Houston Press: The Mercury 13 Women Were Ready for Space, But NASA Never Gave Them a Chance by Dianna Way

Orlando Weekly: Billy Manes’ closest friends and colleagues bid farewell to an incomparable man by Jessica Bryce Young, Tony Mauss, Erin Sullivan, Jeffrey C. Billman, Dave Plotkin, Stephanie Porta, Brendan O’Connor, Jason Ferguson

Phoenix New Times: The New Indian Massacre by Antonia Farzan



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

Metro Silicon Valley: Milpitas City Manager Misuse of Taxpayer Funds (I; II; III; IV; V) by Jennifer Wadsworth

Miami New Times: Miami Dade’s Drones Stopped from Spying on the Public (I; II; III) by Jerry Iannelli



Winner will receive $500 funded by Boulder Weekly editor Joel Dyer. 

Chicago Reader: The infamous practice of contract selling is back in Chicago (I; II)  by Rebecca Burns, Robin Amer, Sarah Blustain

Houston Press: At Alliantgroup, Sexting, Racist Emails and Harassment Were S.O.P., Ex-Employees Charge by Craig Malisow

Santa Fe Reporter: Nuclear Neighborhood by Aaron Cantú

Willamette Week: For More Than 30 Years, Kim Bradley Hid From Her Husband by Nigel Jaquiss



Winner will receive $500 funded by Boulder Weekly publisher Fran Zankowski. 

Creative Loafing Charlotte: Time Out Youth’s Sanctuary for LGBTQ Kids Moves to Facility More Than Twice its Current Size by Ryan Pitkin

Houston Press: Debra Schmidt is the Hockey Playing Pirate Assistant Chief of HCSO by Meagan Flynn

Orlando Weekly: By night, Orlando’s drag queens entertain the masses. By day, they lead the fight for LGBTQ rights by Monivette Cordeiro

Phoenix New Times: I Didn’t Know There Was Help by Amy Silverman



ARTS CRITICISM circulation under 40,000

Charleston City Paper: Spoleto Festival Reviews (I; IIIII) by Mary Scott Hardaway

INDY Week: Arts Criticism (I; II; III) by Brian Howe

INDY Week: Arts Criticism: (I; II; III) by Byron Woods

Orlando Weekly: (I; II; III) by Jessica Bryce Young, Richard Reep


ARTS CRITICISM circulation 40,000 & over

Houston Press: Stage Reviews (I; II; III) by D.L. Groover

L.A. Weekly: Film Critic (I; II; III; IV; V) by April Wolfe

The Memphis Flyer: Movie Reviews (I; II; III; IV; V) by Chris McCoy

Willamette Week: (I; II; III) by Shannon Gormley


ARTS FEATURE circulation under 40,000

Boulder Weekly: Roots and Shoots by Caitlin Rockett

City Newspaper: The creative dissent of Stephanie Mercedes by Rebecca Rafferty

Creative Loafing Charlotte: 5 Artists Who Will Not be Ignored by Kia Moore

Good Times Santa Cruz: Luck of the Draw by Georgia Johnson


ARTS FEATURE circulation 40,000 & over

The Inlander: Arachni- Dermic Arts by Chey Scott

L.A. Weekly: Rape Choreography Makes Films Safer, But Still Takes a Toll on Cast and Crew (I; II) by April Wolfe

L.A. Weekly: Who Was Anton LaVey? An L.A. Exhibit Sheds Light on Satanism’s Black Pope (I; II) by Gwynedd Stuart

Willamette Week: The Dream of Portland Is Alive in Japan by Matthew Korfhage


BEAT REPORTING circulation under 40,000

Coachella Valley Independent: End-of-Life-Reporting (I; II; III) by Kevin Fitzgerald

Creative Loafing Charlotte: Crime Reporting (I; II; III; IV; V) by Ryan Pitkin

Lagniappe: Deputy purchased controlled substances, not arrested (I; II; III; IV; V) by Jason Johnson

Seven Days: ‘Til Death Do Us Part: Maidstone’s Grisly Murder-Suicide Was Domestic Violence; Questions Arise About Heroic Response to DCF Worker Shooting; Thin Ice Breaks, and a Game Warden Launches a Dangerous Rescue; Death by Drugs: Opiates Claimed a Record Number  (I; II; III; IV; V) by Mark Davis


BEAT REPORTING circulation 40,000 & over

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

The Memphis Flyer: Art of the Deal: What Happened at MCA? by Chris Davis

Santa Barbara Independent: Mental Health (I; II; III; IV) by Nick Welsh

Washington City Paper: Housing Complex (I; II; III; IV; V) by Andrew Giambrone



Austin Chronicle: Chronolog: Music (I; II; III; IV; V) by Kevin Curtin

Houston Press: Houston News (I; II; III; IV; V) by Meagan Flynn, Dianna Wray, Margaret Downing

Nashville Scene: Nashville Cream (I; II: III; IV; V) by D. Patrick Rodgers, Megan Seling, Stephen Trageser

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


COLUMN circulation under 40,000

Creative Loafing Charlotte: Editors Note (I; II; III) by Mark Kemp

Fort Worth Weekly: (I; II; III) by Anthony Mariani

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

North Coast Journal: Seriously? (I; II) by Jennifer Fumiko Cahill


COLUMN circulation 40,000 & over

Phoenix New Times: (I; II; III) by Stuart Warner

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

The Memphis Flyer: Waiting for the Test to Come; From the Editor (I; II; III; IV; V; VI; VII; VIII; IX; X) by Bruce VanWyngarden

Westword: Calhoun (I; IIIII) by Patricia Calhoun


COLUMN (POLITICAL) circulation under 40,000

Folio Weekly: Fightin’ Words (I; II; III; IV; V) by A.G. Gancarski

Jackson Free Press: Playing Politics with Race, Civil Rights (I; II; III) by Donna Ladd

Triad City Beat: Citizen Green: cops, needles, Charlottesville (I; II; III) by Jordan Green


COLUMN (POLITICAL) circulation 40,000 & over

Dig Boston: Apparent Horizon (I; II; III) by Jason Pramas

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

Santa Barbara Independent: Reporter’s Notebook: Trump’s Inauguration (I; II; III) by Kelsey Brugger


FOOD WRITING circulation under 40,000

Fort Worth Weekly: (III; III) by Chow, Baby, Eric Griffey

Lagniappe: If grits ain’t groceries… by Andy MacDonald

North Coast Journal: (I; II; III) by Jennifer Fumiko Cahill

The Pitch: KC Restaurants (I; II; III) by Liz Cook


FOOD WRITING circulation 40,000 & over

Dig Boston: Drunk Brunch Love; A Reckoning for Restaurants in Boston and Everywhere; Ice Cold Democracy (I; II; III) by Haley Hamilton

Las Vegas Weekly: Soul Food in Vegas by Brock Radke

The Inlander: (I; II; III) by Chey Scott

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


IMMIGRATION COVERAGE circulation under 40,000

INDY Week: Immigration Issue (I; II; III) by Victoria Bouloubasis, Erica Hellerstein, Sarah Willets

Nashville Scene: Refugees Are People by Jennifer Justus

San Antonio Current: Don’t Mess With Dreamers: Young San Antonians Prepare for a Life Without DACA by Lyanne Guarecuco

Wisconsin Gazette: The Rising: Activists flex muscles (I; II; III) by Lisa Neff


IMMIGRATION COVERAGE circulation 40,000 & over

L.A. Weekly: In Tijuana, the Recently Deported Are Trapped in Purgatory by Jason McGahan

Miami New Times: From Cuban Immigrant to Wannabe Jihadi by Jessica Lipscomb

Phoenix New Times: Sara’s Demons Crossed the Border With Her by Valeria Fernandez

Willamette Week: Where Is Daddy? by Rachel Monahan


LONG-FORM NEWS STORY circulation under 40,000

C-Ville Weekly: Life & death by Samantha Baars

Fort Worth Weekly: Keep Holding On by Teri Webster

Monterey County Weekly: Monterey County’s cold cases haunt families, communities and investigators by Pam Marino

Triad City Beat: First do no harm by Jonathan Michels


LONG-FORM NEWS STORY circulation 40,000 & over

Miami New Times: A Mysterious Murder and Floating Bales of Drugs in the Florida Keys by Tim Elfrink

The Inlander: The Big Business of Virtual Education by Wilson Criscione

The Inlander: The Dead Don’t Lie (I; II) by Samantha Wohlfeil, Mitch Ryals

Westword: Homeless Millionaire by Alan Pendergast


MUSIC WRITING circulation under 40,000

Boulder Weekly: (I; II; III) by Angela K. Evans

Boulder Weekly: (I; II; III) by Caitlin Rockett

Creative Loafing Charlotte: (I; II; III) by Mark Kemp

Santa Fe Reporter: An Oral History of Storming the Beaches with Logos in Hand by Alex De Vore


MUSIC WRITING circulation 40,000 & over

L.A. Weekly: Brain Surgery Stole Tokimonsta’s Ability to Make Music. Here’s How She Got It Back (I; II) by Rebecca Haithcoat

Las Vegas Weekly: Accidental Pop Star Shamir comes around again — This time on his own terms by Geoff Carter

The Inlander: (I; II; III) by Dan Nailen

Willamette Week: Thor Lindsay R.I.P.; Iggy Pop’s Body; Solange in Concert (I; II; III) by Matthew Singer



COVER DESIGN circulation under 40,000

Good Times Santa Cruz: Doublespeak to Me; Swan Song; Fully Lit (I; II; III) by Tabi Zarrinnaal

Lagniappe: The Cost of Clean Water (I; II; III) by Laura Rasmussen

New Times San Luis Obispo: (I; II; III) by Alex Zuniga, Jayson Mellom

Santa Fe Reporter: (I; II; III) by Anson Stevens-Bollen


COVER DESIGN circulation 40,000 & over

Austin Chronicle: (I; II; III) by Jason Stout, Devaki Knowles, Mike Reddy

Chicago Reader: (I; II; III) by David Sampson, Paul John Higgins, Finer Signs, Sue Kwong, Danielle Scruggs, Andrew Nawrocki, Vince Cerasani

Las Vegas Weekly: (I; II; III) by Elizabeth Brown, Corlene Byrd, Ian Racoma, Las Vegas Weekly Design Staff

Willamette Week: (I; II; III) by Vicente Marti, Rachel Brown Smith, Vanessa Rivera


EDITORIAL LAYOUT circulation under 40,000

Colorado Spring Independent: Holiday in Dystopia by Dustin Glatz

Eugene Weekly: Tracking the Backlog and Searching for Justice (I; II; III; IV) by Todd Cooper

Tulsa Voice: Tulsa Tough by Georgia Brooks , Morgan Welch, Madeline Crawford

Seven Days: On the March by Diane Sullivan, Matthew Thorsen and James Buck


EDITORIAL LAYOUT circulation 40,000 & over

Chicago Reader: The foodways of Chicago’s new immigrants by Vince Cerasani, Jake Malooley

Las Vegas Weekly: Electric Impact by Corlene Byrd

Las Vegas Weekly: The Pillars of Taco Vegas by Corlene Byrd

Santa Barbara Independent: The Forever Season by Caitlin Fitch


ILLUSTRATION circulation under 40,000

C-Ville Weekly: From the ground up by Barry Bruner

Nashville Scene: Bingo Cards (I; II) by Lauren Cierzan

Santa Fe Reporter: Predator Politics by Anson Stevens-Bollen

Seven Days: State of Need by Diane Sullivan, Rob Donnelly


ILLUSTRATION circulation 40,000 & over

Dig Boston: Smokers; Drinkers (I; II) by Kuresse Bolds

Las Vegas Weekly: Modern Love by Ian Racoma

Phoenix New Times: The CBD Oil Boom by Chris Whetzel, Zac McDonald

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


PHOTOGRAPHY circulation under 40,000

C-Ville Weekly: Summer of white nationalist rallies (I; II; III; IV; V; VI) by Eze Amos

INDY Week: Hogwashed, part 1 by Alex Boerner

Seven Days: (I; II; III; IV; V; VI; VII; VIII; IX; X) by Matthew Thorsen

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


PHOTOGRAPHY circulation 40,000 & over

Isthmus: Ford Tough by Nick Berard, Carolyn Fath

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

Washington City Paper: 2017: A Year in Photos by Darrow Montgomery

Willamette Week: (I; II; III; IV; V; VI; VII; VIII; IX; X) by Daniel Stindt




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

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

Slowpoke Comics: (I; II; III: IV; V) by Jen Sorensen

Style Weekly: The HR Department (I; II; III; IV; V) by Ed Harrington



Seven Days: Cannabeat (I; II; III; IV; V) by Don Eggert, Corey Grenier, Andrea Suozzo



C-Ville Weekly: Stand with Charlottesville by Lisa Provence, Samantha Baars, Erin O’Hare, Jessica Luck, Susan Sorensen, Jackson Landers, Eze Amos, Natalie Krovetz, Bill LeSueur

INDY Week: How to Win Friends and Gerrymander People; The Anatomy of Failure; Raleigh’s New Logo (I; II; III) by Jeffrey Billman, Shan Stumpf

Orlando Weekly: Florida Film Fest/420 Issue by Chaya Av, Chris Tobar Rodriguez, Jessica Bryce Young

Pittsburgh City Paper & Cleveland Scene: The Rivalry Issue: Pittsburgh Vs. Cleveland (I; II; III; IV; V; VI; VII) by City Paper & Cleveland Scene Staff



Creative Loafing Charlotte: Muslim in Charlotte (I; II; III; IV; V) by Lara Americo

L.A. Weekly: Short Form Documentary Profiles (I; II; III; IV; V) by Drew Tewksbury, Peter Holderness, Sean Deckert, Hso Hkam, Mara Shalhoup, Gloria Moran

Seven Days: Seriously: Let’s Talk About Sexism, Baby by Bryan Parmelee

Seven Days: The 500th Stuck in Vermont by Eva Sollberger



L.A. Weekly: People Issue 2017 by Staff

Santa Barbara Independent: Keep Santa Barbara Great Again by Tyler Hayden

Santa Fe Reporter: Santa Fe Annual Manual by Staff

Willamette Week: Going Costal (I; II) by Martin Cizmar, Alyssa Walker, Sophia June, Matthew Korfhage, Walker Macmurdo, Aaron Mesh, Andi Pruitt, Matthew Singer


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