2019 AAN Awards Winners Announced

The Association of Alternative Newsmedia is pleased to announce the winners of the 2019 AAN Awards. The winners below were chosen as the most outstanding from a field of over 600 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 were announced during a reception on July 13 at the AAN Convention in Boulder. First place winners received a commemorative plaque, sponsored by Popmount. 2nd and 3rd place winners may receive a certificate by request. Contact molly@aan.org.

Congratulations to all award winners!



Arts Criticism (Jim Ridley Award)

Winner received $500, funded by the Nashville Scene in honor of Jim Ridley.

1st PLACE: INDY Week: Arts Criticism (IIIIII) by Brian Howe

2nd PLACE: Willamette Week: “Baring It” and Other Stories (IIIIII) by Shannon Gormley

3rd PLACE: The Memphis Flyer: Book Reviews (IIIIII) by Jesse Davis

HONORABLE MENTION: Washington City Paper: Arts Criticism (IIIIII) by Kriston Capps

Best Nonprofit Collaboration (The BINJ Award)

Winner received $500, funded by the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism

1st PLACE: INDY Week, with The AppealThe Cheat Sheet Taught N.C. Prosecutors How to Get Rid of Black Jurors by Jacob Biba

2nd PLACE: Santa Barbara Independent, with KCRWOne Year Later by Tyler Hayden

3rd PLACE: INDY Week, with NC Health NewsState Law Orders Insurers to Cover Autism Therapies. Why Are So Many Families Going Without? by Sarah Ovaska-Few

HONORABLE MENTION: Santa Fe Reporter, with New Mexico Fund for Public Interest JournalismPlace Making by New Mexico Fund for Public Interest Journalism


Winner received $250, funded by The Billy Manes Foundation.

1st PLACE: Nashville Scene: Vodka Yonic (IIIIII) by Elizabeth Jones, Laura Hutson, Kat Ridley

2nd PLACE: Pittsburgh City Paper: Peepshow, a sex and social justice column (IIIIII) by Jessie Sage

3rd PLACE: North Coast Journal: Seriously? (IIIIII) by Jennifer Fumiko Cahill

HONORABLE MENTION: Coachella Valley Independent: Know Your Neighbors (IIIIII) by Anita Rufus


Winner received $250, funded by The Billy Manes Foundation.

1st PLACE: Triad City Beat: Columns (IIIIII) by Brian Clarey

2nd PLACE: Dig Boston: Apparent Horizon (IIIIII) by Jason Pramas

3rd PLACE: Triad City Beat: Citizen Green (IIIIII) by Jordan Green

HONORABLE MENTION: Maui Time: Coconut Wireless (IIIIII) by Axel Beers

Feature Story

Winner received $500, funded by Isthmus Founder Vince O’Hern.

1st PLACE: Chicago Reader: Justice Delayed by Maya Dukmasova, Dave Newbart

2nd PLACE: Riverfront Times: The Pool Repairman and the Hollywood Hustler by Robert Langellier

3rd PLACE: Chicago Reader: The trials of Stuart V. Goldberg, Chicago’s flashiest defense attorney by Maya Dukmasova, Kevin Penczak, Jake Malooley

HONORABLE MENTION: INDY Week: Ronnie Long Has Spent Four Decades in Prison for Rape. Did He Really Do It? by Erica Hellerstein

Free Speech & Open Government

One $500 prize will be awarded, funded by Monterey County Weekly founder & CEO Bradley Zeve.

1st PLACE: Monterey County Weekly: Taking on Greenfield City Hall, getting sued for it, and winning (IIIIIIIVVVIVIIVIIIIX) by Mary Duan, Sara Rubin, Kelly Aviles

2nd PLACE: The Memphis Flyer: Behind Closed Doors by Toby Sells

3rd PLACE: Dig Boston: The Massachusetts Public Records Law Fails Three out of Three Times by Maya Shaffer

Investigative Reporting (David Carr Award)

Winner received $500 prize.

1st PLACE: Miami New Times: Marijuana in Miami (IIIIII) by Meg O’Connor

2nd PLACE: Metro Silicon Valley: Sheriff Texting Scandal (IIIIIIIVVVIVII) by Jennifer Wadsworth

3rd PLACE: Orlando Weekly: Everyone’s a suspect: Amazon Rekognition (IIIIIIIV) by Monivette Cordeiro, Joey Roulette, Colin Wolf

LGBT Coverage

Winner received $500, funded by Boulder Weekly publisher Fran Zankowski.

1st PLACE: Washington City Paper: Asylum Seekers by Andrew Giambrone

2nd PLACE: Tulsa Voice: Every single other: Tulsa’s LGBTQ+ community comes to worship by Fraser Kastner

3rd PLACE: Orlando Weekly: Say Her Name by Monivette Cordeiro, Colin Wolf

HONORABLE MENTION: Salt Lake City Weekly: Pride Issue by Enrique Limón & City Weekly Staff

Salesperson of the Year

This year, an additional competition took place, in which AAN Member papers submitted nominees for Salesperson of the Year, based on a winning pitch deck that demonstrates a focus on meeting client needs, offering creative and integrated solutions. Three finalists were chosen by a judging panel of past AAN Ad Directors. All three finalists receive free registration for the AAN Convention and tiered cash prizes, funded by The Media Audit

1st PLACE: Pittsburgh City Paper: Kaitlin Oliver

2nd PLACE: The Georgia Strait: Robyn Marsh

3rd PLACE: Pittsburgh City Paper: Blake Alexander Lewis



Arts Feature

1st PLACE: Willamette Week: Roll of a Lifetime by Matthew Singer

2nd PLACE: Good Times Santa Cruz: Santa Cruz Goes Dark by Steve Palopoli

3rd PLACE: Colorado Springs Independent: Beam me up, Grandma by Alissa Smith

HONORABLE MENTION: Cincinnati CityBeat: Magical Realism by Zachary Petit

Beat Reporting

1st PLACE: INDY Week: Incarceration and Criminal Justice Reporting (IIIIIIIV) by Sarah Willets

2nd PLACE: Phoenix New Times: Criminal Justice Coverage (IIIIIIIVV) by Sean Holstege

3rd PLACE: The Inlander: Sexual Harassment in Higher Ed (IIIIIIIVV) by Wilson Criscione

HONORABLE MENTION: Seven Days: Education Writing (IIIIIIIVV) by Molly Walsh

Food Writing

1st PLACE: The Inlander: Don’t Sauté Your Laptop (and Other Home Cooking Tricks) by Daniel Walters

2nd PLACE: Salt Lake City Weekly: Food Reviews (IIIIII) by Alex Springer

3rd PLACE: Monterey County Weekly: Burning Questions (IIIIII) by Dave Faries

HONORABLE MENTION: Seven Days: Food Writing (IIIIII) by Hannah Palmer Eagan

Immigration Coverage

1st PLACE: INDY Week: The Hunted: What’s Life Like for a Young North Carolina Man After Being Deported to El Salvador? by Victoria Bouloubasis

2nd PLACE: INDY Week: Credible Fear: A Triangle Woman Says She Could Be Killed If She’s Deported to Honduras by Erica Hellerstein

3rd PLACE: The Memphis Flyer: There Is No Line: The Troubled State of our Immigrant Community by Maya Smith

HONORABLE MENTION: Westword: Here Today, Here Tomorrow by Chris Walker

Long-Form News Story

1st PLACE: Seven Days: Sheriff, Inc. by Alicia Freese

2nd PLACE: The Inlander: A Long Road to Die by Samantha Wohlfeil

3rd PLACE: Phoenix New Times: Missing Deadly Signs (IIIIII) by Bill Myers

Music Writing

1st PLACE: Boulder Weekly: Music Writing (IIIIII) by Angela K. Evans

2nd PLACE: San Antonio Current: Ada Vox: How a Singing Drag Queen from San Antonio Got America to Listen Up by Chris Conde

3rd PLACE: Charleston City Paper: From hip-hop veterans to freshly tapped talent, meet the women who are changing the local rap game by Kelly Rae Smith and Heath Ellison

HONORABLE MENTION: Cincinnati CityBeat: Revenge of the Synth by Mike Breen



Cover Design

1st PLACE: Orlando Weekly: Covers (IIIIII) by Melissa McHenry, Robert Bartlett, Chris “Tobar” Rodriguez

2nd PLACE: Santa Fe Reporter (IIIIII) by Anson Stevens-Bollen

3rd PLACE: Metro Times: Covers (IIIIII) by Tom Carlson and Erik Millikin

HONORABLE MENTION: Pittsburgh City Paper: Covers (IIIIII) by Lisa Cunningham, Jared Wickerham, Xiola Jensen, Maya Puskaric

Editorial Layout

1st PLACE: Nashville Scene: Summer Guide by Elizabeth Jones

2nd PLACE: Eugene Weekly: I Married A White Supremacist by Tracy Sydor, Trask Bedortha, Todd Cooper

3rd PLACE: Las Vegas Weekly: Life Is Beautiful by Ian Racoma

HONORABLE MENTION: City Newspaper: The Fate of Parcel 5 by Ryan Williamson


1st PLACE: Nashville Scene: Bonnaroo Bingo by Holly Carden

2nd PLACE: Riverfront Times: Title Mine by Evan Sult

3rd PLACE: The Inlander: Scholastic Fantastic (IIIIIIIVV) by Jeff Drew

HONORABLE MENTION: Las Vegas Weekly: Raiders: The New Gruden Era Begins by Ian Racoma


1st PLACE: Style Weekly: Protest (IIIIIIIVV, VIVIIVIIIIXX) by Scott Elmquist

2nd PLACE: Cincinnati CityBeat: Photography (IIIIIIIVVVIVIIVIIIIXX) by Hailey Bollinger

3rd PLACE: Orlando Weekly: Havana or Bust by Robert Bartlett

HONORABLE MENTION: Washington City Paper: 2018 by Darrow Montgomery





1st PLACE: Seven Days: Cartoons (IIIIIIIVV) by Tim Newcomb

2nd PLACE: Slowpoke Comics: Cartoons (IIIIIIIVV) by Jen Sorensen

3rd PLACE: Tom Tomorrow: This Modern World (IIIIIIIVV) by Tom Tomorrow

HONORABLE MENTION: Charleston City Paper: Editorial Cartoons (IIIIIIIVV) by Steve Stegelin

Innovation/Format Buster

1st PLACE: Seven Days: Give and Take Series (I, IIIIIIVV) by Paula Routly , Paul Heintz, Matthew Roy , Sasha Goldstein, Andrea Suozzo, Candace Page, Alicia Freese, Mark Davis, Carolyn Fox , Elizabeth Seyler, Diane Sullivan , Taylor Dobbs, Molly Walsh, Katie Jickling

2nd PLACE: Maui Time: Walk Story (III) by Axel Beers, Tommy Russo

3rd PLACE: The Inlander: Miller Cane: A serialized novel printed in weekly installments by Samuel Ligon, Jacob Fries

HONORABLE MENTION: Monterey County Weekly: Student Voices (III) by Lorenz Cushman, Students at 13 Monterey County high schools , Marielle Argueza, Erik Cushman


1st PLACE: Chicago Reader: The Block Beat (series in collaboration with The TRiiBE) by Tiffany Walden, Morgan Elise Johnson, Philip Montoro

2nd PLACE: Santa Barbara Independent: Lompoc Riverbed Evictees’ Triage Center to Close by Erika Carlos

3rd PLACE: Seven Days: Stuck in Vermont: Photographer Matthew Thorsen Gets the Last Word by Eva Sollberger

HONORABLE MENTION: Eugene Weekly: Lincoln Street Sessions (IIIIIIIVV) by Trask Bedortha, James Bateman, Todd Cooper, Sarah Decker, Meerah Powell, Hunter McNie

Special Section

1st PLACE: Salt Lake City Weekly: City Weekly’s Beer Issue by Enrique Limón & City Weekly Staff

2nd PLACE: Pittsburgh City Paper: Election Guide by Ryan Deto, Lisa Cunningham, Alex Gordon, Jared Wickerham, Amanda Waltz, Hannah Lynn, Jordan Snowden, Maggie Weaver, Tereneh Idia, Gab Bonesso, Jessie Sage

3rd PLACE: Santa Fe Reporter: Love and Sex by Alex De Vore, Anson Stevens-Bollen, Charlotte Jusinski, Hunter Riley, Anastacio Wrobel, JC Gonzo

HONORABLE MENTION: North Coast Journal: Media Literacy Issue by Staff

Special Publication

1st PLACE: Seven Days: From Burlington With Love: Insider Intel on What’s Good by Carolyn Fox, Dan Bolles, Cathy Resmer, Katy Isaacs, John James, Kirsten Cheney, Todd Scott, Don Eggert, Brooke Bousquet, Diane Sullivan

2nd PLACE: San Antonio Current: San Antonio Flavor – Winter 2018 by Jessica Elizarraras, Greg Jefferson

3rd PLACE: Santa Fe Reporter: Restaurant Guide by SFR Staff and Freelancers

HONORABLE MENTION: Pittsburgh City Paper: City Guide by Lisa Cunningham, Alex Gordon, Ryan Deto, Hannah Lynn, Rob Rossi