2020 AAN Awards Winners Announced

The Association of Alternative Newsmedia is pleased to announce the winners of the 2020 AAN Awards. The winners below were chosen as the most outstanding from a field of 526 entries submitted by 55 alternative publications across the U.S. and Canada (and Norway!).

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.

The winners were announced during a virtual reception on Friday, September 18. First place winners received a commemorative plaque, sponsored by Popmount.

Congratulations to all award winners!



Arts Criticism (Jim Ridley Award)

Winner received $500, funded by Nashville Scene.

1st PLACE: Nashville Scene: Film Criticism (IIIIII) by D. Patrick Rodgers

2nd PLACE: City Newspaper: Film Criticism (IIIIII) by Adam Lubitow

3rd PLACE: Seven Days: Quick Lit (IIIIII) by Margot Harrison

HONORABLE MENTION: Triad City Beat: “Thanks I hate it: That Frida Kahlo mural” by Sayaka Matsuoka

Column (Billy Manes Award)

Winner received $250, funded by Orlando Weekly.

1st PLACE: Pittsburgh City Paper: “Voices” (IIIIII) by Tereneh Idia

2nd PLACE: Dig Boston: “Dear Reader” (IIIIII) by Chris Faraone

3rd PLACE: Jackson Free Press: “Dossier: Truth to (Media) Power in Mississippi” (IIIIII) by Donna Ladd

HONORABLE MENTION: Pittsburgh City Paper: “Peepshow” (IIIIII) by Jessie Sage

Investigative Reporting (David Carr Award)

Winning team received $500, funded by Omaha Reader.

1st PLACE: Monterey County Weekly: “How Nuestra Familia, a criminal organization, took control of MILPA, a community group in Salinas” (IIIIIIIV) by Monterey County Weekly staff with KSBW and Voices of Monterey Bay, Sara Rubin, Mary Duan

2nd PLACE: Seven Days: “Guarded Secrets” (IIIIIIIVVVIVIIVIIIIX) by Paul Heintz

3rd PLACE: Triad City Beat: “United Youth Care Services and Medicaid fraud” (IIIIII) by Jordan Green

LGBT Coverage

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

1st PLACE: Orlando Weekly: “Speed Trap” by Xander Peters

2nd PLACE: Seven Days: “HOWLing at the Moon: A Women’s Collective Grapples With a Gender-Fluid Future” by Chelsea Edgar

3rd PLACE: Dig Boston: “Unbearable Pressure” by Yidan Sun

HONORABLE MENTION: YES! Weekly: “Living with HIV” by Katie Murawski

Nonprofit Collaboration (The BINJ Award)

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

1st PLACE: Santa Fe Reporter, with New Mexico Fund for Public Interest Journalism: “Roadmap to Resilience” by Julia Goldberg, Olivia Abeyta, Max Looft, Anna Girdner, James Taylor

2nd PLACE: INDY Week, with Duke University’s Ninth Street Journal: “The Death of Bill Bishop” (IIIIIIIV) by Ben Leonard, Erin Williams, Swathi Ramprasad

3rd PLACE: Eugene Weekly, with University of Oregon Catalyst Journalism Project: “An Unsuccessful Solution” (IIIIII) by Taylor Perse , Morgan Theophil, Catalyst Journalism Project , Eugene Weekly

HONORABLE MENTION: Santa Fe Reporter, with New Mexico In Depth: “Case (not) Closed” by Jeff Proctor, Trip Jennings, Julie Ann Grimm

Right-Wing Extremism Coverage

Winner received $500, funded by Anonymous

1st PLACE: Willamette Week: “A Tiny Problem” (IIIIIIIVV) by Katie Shepherd

2nd PLACE: INDY Week: “Send Her Back. Send Her Back. Send Her Back.” by Leigh Tauss

3rd PLACE: Triad City Beat: “Guns Up, Saftey Off: First responders and public safety personnel joined militia Facebook group” by Jordan Green

HONORABLE MENTION: Jackson Free Press: “God Save the Governor: Phil Bryant, Brexit Soldier” by Ashton Pittman



Arts Feature

1st PLACE: C-Ville Weekly: “Hitting the right note” by Erin O’Hare

2nd PLACE: Washington City Paper: “Life, Camera, Action” by Kayla Randall

3rd PLACE: Orlando Weekly: “Black art’s new dawn: Orlando artists carve out a space for expressions of Blackness” by Renata Sago

HONORABLE MENTION: Salt Lake City Weekly: “The Beyhive State: Inside one Utah author’s bootylicious mashup of Beyoncé and academia” by Enrique Limón

Beat Reporting

1st PLACE: Nashville Scene: Executions (IIIIIIIV) by Steven Hale

2nd PLACE: Washington City Paper: Housing Beat (IIIIIIIVV) by Morgan Baskin

3rd PLACE: Mountain Xpress: Education Beat (IIIIIIIVV) by Virginia Daffron

HONORABLE MENTION: Washington City Paper: Criminal Justice Beat (I, II, III, IV, V) by Joshua Kaplan

Political Column

1st PLACE: INDY Week: “Soapboxer” (IIIIII) by Jeffrey Billman

2nd PLACE: Jackson Free Press: “The Political Hell Women Face in Mississippi” (IIIIII) by Donna Ladd

3rd PLACE: The Memphis Flyer: (IIIIII) by Jackson Baker

HONORABLE MENTION: Charleston City Paper: (I, II, III) by Andy Brack

Feature Story

1st PLACE: Chicago Reader: “Pangea has taken thousands to eviction court. The story of an apartment empire” by Maya Dukmasova, Sujay Kumar

2nd PLACE: Little Village: “Michelle Martinko’s murder ‘haunted’ the Cedar Rapids community for 40 years. Now, her suspected killer is set to go on trial” by Jen Moulton, Emma McClatchey

3rd PLACE: Chicago Reader: “Fear and loathing at a South Shore Co-op” by Maya Dukmasova, Sujay Kumar

HONORABLE MENTION: Dig Boston: “The Longest Trip” by Jenny Rollins

Food Writing

1st PLACE: North Coast Journal: (IIIIII) by Jennifer Fumiko Cahill

2nd PLACE: Arkansas Times: (III) by Stephanie Smittle

3rd PLACE: Chicago Reader: (IIIIII) by Mike Sula, Kate Schmidt

HONORABLE MENTION: The Pitch: “They serve food at the midtown Home Depot now. You will want to read the menu carefully.” by Liz Cook

Health Care Coverage

1st PLACE: Seven Days: “Hooked” (IIIIIIIVV) by Kate O’Neill

2nd PLACE: Willamette Week: “Alt-Vaxx” by Rachel Monahan

3rd PLACE: Santa Fe Reporter: “No Place To Rest” by Leah Cantor

Immigration Coverage

1st PLACE: Cincinnati CityBeat: “Without a Country” by Nick Swartsell

2nd PLACE: Boulder Weekly: “Windows, Walls and Invisible Lines: Portraits of Life in Sanctuary” by Joel Dyer

3rd PLACE: Nashville Scene: “Resisting ICE” (III) by Steven Hale, Alejandro Ramirez

HONORABLE MENTION: Jackson Free Press: “ICE Raids in Mississippi” (I, II, III, IV, V) by Ashton Pittman Aliyah Veal

Long-Form News Story

1st PLACE: Chicago Reader: “The big house and the picket fence” by Mari Cohen, Sujay Kumar

2nd PLACE: Queen City Nerve: “Then and Now: Segregation Still Pervades in CMS” (I, II, III) by Brenna Swanston

3rd PLACE: Willamette Week: “Both Sides Now” by Nigel Jaquiss

HONORABLE MENTION: San Antonio Current: “Detention Inc.: Trump’s Immigrant Crackdown Means Big Money for Private Prisons” by Sanford Nowlin

Music Writing

1st PLACE: Chicago Reader: (IIIIII) by Leor Galil, Philip Montoro

2nd PLACE: Boulder Weekly: (IIIIII) by Caitlin Rockett

3rd PLACE: Jackson Free Press: (IIIIII) by Aliyah Veal

HONORABLE MENTION: San Antonio Current: (I, II, III) by Chris Conde



Cover Design

1st PLACE: Santa Fe Reporter: (IIIIII) by Anson Stevens-Bollen


2nd PLACE: Pittsburgh City Paper: (IIIIII) by Abbie Adams, Jared Wickerham


3rd PLACE: INDY Week: (IIIIII) by Annie Maynard


HONORABLE MENTION: Good Times Santa Cruz: (I, II, III) by Tabi Zarrinnaal

Editorial Layout

1st PLACE: Las Vegas Weekly: “Pot Culture: What To Watch, Eat and Listen To While You’re Enjoying 420” by Corlene Byrd


2nd PLACE: Las Vegas Weekly: “Henderson: There’s Something for Everyone in One of the Nation’s Fastest-Growing Cities” by Corlene Byrd


3rd PLACE: INDY Week: “Waiting for Good Dough” by Annie Maynard


HONORABLE MENTION: INDY Week: “Murder in the Bull City” by Annie Maynard


1st PLACE: Nashville Scene: “Best of Nashville” (IIIIIIIVVVIVIIVIII) by Lauren Cierzan


2nd PLACE: Las Vegas Weekly: “Pot Culture” by Zach Meyer

3rd PLACE: Charleston City Paper: Illustrations (IIIIII) by Scott Suchy


HONORABLE MENTION: Las Vegas Weekly: “Electric Daisy Carnival Lights Up The Desert” by Sergio Vazquez


1st PLACE: Style Weekly: “Murder Vigil: In the aftermath of gun violence” (IIIIIIIVVVIVIIVIIIIXX) by Scott Elmquist


2nd PLACE: Washington City Paper: “2019” (IIIIIIIVV, VI, VIIVIIIIXX) by Darrow Montgomery


3rd PLACE: Boulder Weekly: “Windows, Walls and Invisible Lines: Portraits of Life in Sanctuary” by Joel Dyer


HONORABLE MENTION: Pittsburgh City Paper: “Pittsburgh in Photos” (IIIIIIIVVVIVIIVIIIIXX) by Jared Wickerham





1st PLACE: Little Village: “Futile Wrath” (IIIIII, IVV) by Sam Locke Ward, Jordan Sellergren


2nd PLACE: Seven Days: Cartoons (IIIIIIIVV) by Tim Newcomb


3rd PLACE: Slowpoke Comics: Cartoons (IIIIIIIVV) by Jen Sorensen


Innovation/Format Buster

1st PLACE: Seven Days: “Worse For Care” (IIIIIIIVVVI ,VIIVIIIIX) by Andrea Suozzo, Derek Brouwer , Emily Corwin

2nd PLACE: Austin Chronicle: “Austin Music Yearbook” by Kevin Curtin, Jason Stout

3rd PLACE: Chicago Reader: “Aldermania! The Board Game” (III) by Aimee Levitt, Ben Joravsky, Sue Kwong, David Alvarado

HONORABLE MENTION: Willamette Week: “Portland At All Hours” by Nigel Jaquiss, Rachel Monahan, Katie Shepherd, Elise Herron, Laurel Kadas, Justin Katigbak, Henry Cromett, Matthew Singer, Sage Brown, Sophie Peel, Aaron Mesh, Katherine Topaz


1st PLACE: Seven Days: “Stuck in Vermont: Lily Stilwell Competes in Gymkhana Ice Time Trials” by Eva Sollberger, James Buck

2nd PLACE: Little Village: “Studio Visits” (IIIIIIIVV) by Jason Smith

3rd PLACE: Pittsburgh City Paper: “Venue Guide Walkthroughs” (IIIIII) by Jared Wickerham, Jordan Snowden

HONORABLE MENTION: Chicago Reader: “The Block Beat” (I, II, III, IV) by Philip Montoro, Arthur E. Haynes II, Darius Griffin, Jiayan “Jenny” Shi, Alex Y. Ding, ThoughtPoet , Tiffany Walden, Pat Nabong, Morgan Elise Johnson, The TRiiBE

Special Section

1st PLACE: Chicago Reader: “Best of Chicago 2019” by Jamie Ramsay, Sue Kwong, Lisa Predko, Brian Gladkowski, Karen Hawkins, Sujay Kumar, Leor Galil, Jamie Ludwig, Catey Sullivan, Maya Dukmasova, Kate Schmidt, Mike Sula, Salem Collo-Julin, Kerry Reid, Deanna Isaacs

2nd PLACE: North Coast Journal: “Media Literacy Issue” by North Coast Journal Staff

3rd PLACE: Volume One: “Bike Boom” by Lauren Fisher, Taylor McCumber, Eric Christenson, Andrea Paulseth, Tom Giffey, Mike Paulus, James Johonnott, Rebecca Mennecke

HONORABLE MENTION: Icepeople: “10 Years Of Total Lunacy (Icepeople’s 10th Anniversary Issue)” by Mark Sabbatini

Special Publication

1st PLACE: Seven Days: “What’s Good: The Annual Field Guide to Burlington” by Seven Days Staff

2nd PLACE: Salt Lake City Weekly: “City Guide 2019” by Enrique Limón and City Weekly staff

3rd PLACE: Willamette Week: “Summer Road Trip 2019” by Andi Prewitt, Pete Cottell, Michelle Devona, Shannon Gormley, Elise Herron, Adam Sawyer, Matthew Singer, Cameron Vigliotta, Nicole Vulcan, Kat Topaz, Elise Furlan

HONORABLE MENTION: Boulder Weekly: “Feast” by Matt Cortina

HONORABLE MENTION: Little Village: “Bread & Butter Dining Guide” by Frankie Schneckloth, Jordan Sellergren, Zak Neumann

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