AAN and Medill Announce AltWeekly Awards Finalists

UPDATED MAY 19, 2008: This story was updated to include the finalists of the Editorial Layout category.

Editor’s note: Charles Whitaker is an assistant professor at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and director of Medill’s Academy for Alternative Journalism, a summer residential program designed to train and recruit minority journalists to work at AAN papers. This year, for the first time, Medill helped AAN with the administration of the AltWeekly Awards contest.

The finalists for the 13th annual AltWeekly Awards run the gamut from investigations of errant public officials to stories about green living. Representing the best writing, design and web innovations among the 129 member publications of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, the finalists for the 2008 AltWeekly Awards were selected from more than 1,400 entries.

L.A. Weekly leads the pack with finalists in eight different categories, including Arts Criticism, News Story — Long Form, Website and Special Section. Judges acknowledged two of the paper’s contributors for excellence in multiple categories: Nikki Finke for Blog and Media Reporting/Criticism and Jeffrey Anderson for Investigative Reporting and News Story–Long Form.

Santa Fe Reporter and Washington City Paper closely followed with seven finalists in six different categories. Santa Fe Reporter scored finalists in Cover Design, Editorial Layout, Column, Arts Criticism, Blog and two in Illustration. Washington City Paper finished with entries in Arts Criticism, Blog, Editorial Layout, Music Criticism, Photography and two in the Feature Story category.

In three of the writing categories, the finalists include young reporters who are alumni of AAN’s diversity program, the Academy for Alternative Journalism. In the large circulation division of the Music Criticism category, Jonathan Cunningham (AAJ class of 2005), now music editor of the New Times Broward-Palm Beach, is a finalist for “Freaks Come Out at Night.” Isaiah Thompson (also in the AAJ class of 2005), a reporter for Miami New Times, is a finalist in the Investigative Reporting category for “Swept Under the Bridge: Sex Offenders Set up Camp,” a story that was awarded an IRE certificate earlier this year. Gus Garcia-Roberts (AAJ class of 2007), is a finalist in the large-circulation News Story–Short Form division for a series of pieces he contributed to Cleveland’s Scene. Matt Saldana of Jackson Free Press is another alum, and will receive an award for his contributions to “Road to Meadville” in the Public Service category.

This year, the contest introduced two new categories, Public Service and Innovation. Public Service recognizes the impact that stories and series done by member publications have had on their communities. The inaugural finalists include the Baltimore City Paper, OC Weekly, Phoenix New Times and San Francisco Bay Guardian in the large-circulation division and Fort Worth Weekly, Jackson Free Press, Nashville Scene and Weekly Alibi in the small-circulation division.

The Innovation category focuses on creativity in journalism, which may be expressed in print, online or a combination. The first recipients of this award include City Pages, The Pitch, Westword, Orlando Weekly, Santa Barbara Independent and Tucson Weekly.

Finalists are listed in alphabetical order by newspaper. If four finalists are listed in any given category, it indicates a tie or an honorable mention in that category. The winners will be announced at the 31st Annual Association of Alternative Newsweeklies Convention, which will be held June 5-7 in Philadelphia.

AAN will showcase the design work in a Flickr Gallery. Finalists should send materials to Heather at hkuldell (at) aan [dot] org.

Click for Design, Miscellaneous (including Cartoon), Web, or Writing categories.


COVER DESIGN circulation 55,000 and over

Dallas Observer: Dark Horse, Best of Dallas and Delivering Death by Alexander Flores

Los Angeles CityBEAT: Dead on the Vine (Unregulated Produce), Prison Overcrowding and DEA Suicide (Men’s Bathroom) by Matt Ansoorian and Jordan Crane

SF Weekly: Future Games, Just Say No, and Wheelchairs of Fortune by Darrick Rainey

COVER DESIGN circulation under 55,000

The Independent Weekly (Lafayette, LA): Throw Me Something, Senator!, Getting Hitched and Newsmaker of the Year by Kevin Pontiff

Louisville Eccentric Observer: Music Issue, What, Me Worry? and Sultan of Spin by Ron Jasin and Britany Baker

Santa Fe Reporter: Hosed, Oh the Horror and Hot, Hot, Hot! by Angela Moore

EDITORIAL LAYOUT circulation 55,000 and over

Philadelphia City Paper: Truth in Prints by Reseca Glasser

PW-Philadelphia Weekly: Top 10 Drug Corners by Sara Green

Washington City Paper: Sects Appeal by Pete Morelewicz

EDITORIAL LAYOUT circulation under 55,000

Boston’s Weekly Dig: A Straight Guide to Pride by Staff

Santa Fe Reporter: For Your Eyes Only by Larry Kohr

Style Weekly: Eco Chic by Mark Jeffries

ILLUSTRATION circulation 55,000 and over

Miami New Times: The Suitcase Murders by Brian Stauffer

Miami New Times: Guarimba by Brian Stauffer

PW-Philadelphia Weekly: The New Anxiety by Edward Kinsella III

ILLUSTRATION circulation under 55,000

Folio Weekly: This Sucks by Ken Garduno

Santa Fe Reporter: Hosed by Dale Stephano and Angela Moore

Santa Fe Reporter: The Big Suck by Jon Krause and Angela Moore

PHOTOGRAPHY circulation 55,000 and over

Baltimore City Paper: Pamela Leak, Los, Lafayette Gilchrist, New Flesh, For the People by Rarah

City Pages (Twin Cities): Boy, Interrupted by Nick Vlcek

Philadelphia City Paper: Stenton Avenue Reprise by Michael T. Regan

Washington City Paper: And on the First Day, It Happened Before, Battle Over Heavy T, Members Only and Corrode to Nowhere by Darrow Montgomery

PHOTOGRAPHY circulation under 55,000

City Newspaper: You’re Getting Warmer, Of Bowlers and Bats, Tagged, Play With Your Food and Good Humor by Jeff Marini

Independent Weekly (NC): The Longest Road Home by Jeremy M. Lange

Nashville Scene: How to Grow a Rock Band, Lap Dances, Next Big Nashville, Hit Man and Man in the Middle by Eric England

Orlando Weekly: Best of Orlando Section Openers by Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli


CARTOON Click to see Flickr gallery

Tom the Dancing Bug by Ruben Bolling

Los Angelopolis by Max Kornell

Slowpoke by Jen Sorensen

Mr. Fish by Dwayne Booth

INNOVATION circulation 55,000 and over

City Pages (Twin Cities): Twin Cities Rock Atlas in print (PDF) and online by Peter Scholtes, Jeff Shaw and Kevin Cannon

The Pitch: Smoke & Mirrors: story and podcast by Eric Barton

Westword: Paint the Town Read: in print (PDF) and online by Amy Haimerl and Kenny Be

INNOVATION circulation under 55,000

Orlando Weekly: Downtownopoly (PDF) by Shan Stumpf, Jeffrey C. Billman and Bob Whitby

Santa Barbara Independent: Locals Only by Matt Kettmann and Aly Comingore

Tucson Weekly: Project White House: Presidential Candidate Contest (PDF), Run for President, Project White House Deadline Extended, Speaking of Presidential Campaigns, Let the Games Begin! and Project White House the Blog by Jim Nintzel and Staff

PUBLIC SERVICE circulation 55,000 and over

Baltimore City Paper: Watching the Inspectors: I.G. Popped, Where Credit is Due, Not Up to Code, On the Block, HUD-aches, Defame Game, Open Perjury, Nightmare Neighbor, In Ruins and Watching the Inspectors by Edward Ericson Jr.

OC Weekly: They Got the Sheriff: Blazing Saddles!, Angry Asian Rap Stalls Case, Kissing the Pinky Ring, Furious and Curiouser, They Got the Sheriff, Magnum Enforcer, She’s the (Under) Sheriff, Draw Your Own Conclusions and Crossing the Thin Blue Line by R. Scott Moxley

Phoenix New Times: Target Practice: Breathtaking Abuse of the Constitution (PDF), Who’s Sorry Now? (PDF), He Just Doesn’t Get It (PDF), Wilenchek’s a Liar and There’s More (PDF), Extraordinary Contempt (PDF), Power Play (PDF), Information Blockade (PDF), Inhumanity has Its Price (PDF) and Flushing Them Out (PDF) by Staff

San Francisco Bay Guardian: Exposing the Media News scandal: Off the Record, Judge Opens Secret Media Merger Files, Between the Sheets, Barons of Monopoly, Brown Must Fight the Media Monopoly, What We Know Now, Reilly’s Right to Sue, Media Trial to Proceed — In Public, Barons Back Off Newspaper Trial and Beyond the Reilly Settlement by G.W. Schulz and Staff

PUBLIC SERVICE circulation under 55,000

Fort Worth Weekly: Gas Drilling coverage: Mineral-Rights Mania (PDF), Perilous Profits (PDF), Time is on Their Side (PDF), Fighting Back (PDF), Paper Promises (PDF), Digging Deeper (PDF) and Hot Water (PDF) by Staff

Jackson Free Press: Road to Meadville: We’re Sorry (PDF), In the Interest of Justice (PDF), Fighting Back in Klan Nation (PDF), The Klansman Bound (PDF), Seale the ‘Last’ Case? We Doubt It (PDF), Dredging Up the Past (PDF), The Truth Can Hurt (PDF), Profile of a Klansman (PDF), Strange Bedfellows (PDF) and Cold Cases Bill Must Pass (PDF) by Donna Ladd, Kate Medley and Matt Saldana

Nashville Scene: Mayor Bubba Smackdown: Tripper for Sure, Stupid Political Tricks, Idea Man, Dean for Mayor, Inclement Bob, 40 Days and 40 Nights, True Crime, Yankee Doodle Dean, See Bob Run and Read Their Lips by Jeff Woods and Liz Garrigan

Weekly Alibi: Alibisexuals: Tasteful Reads, Family Values, Unnatural Indecency, Pride Radio Streams to Albequerque — Without Local Content, Revolting Drag Queens, Grown Up Gay, Absolutely Fabulous, Four Corners’ Clash, Culture Shock and Thin Line by Staff

SPECIAL SECTION circulation 55,000 and over

L.A. Weekly: LA People 2007 by Staff

NOW Magazine: The Green Issue by Troy Beyer, Stephen Chester and Bryan Gee

Willamette Week: Restaurant Guide 2007 by Byron Beck and Staff

SPECIAL SECTION circulation under 55,000

Arkansas Times: 50 Years After by Staff

North Bay Bohemian: Arcadia by Staff and Contributors

The Texas Observer: “Beloveds” Molly Ivins (1944-2007) by Staff


BLOG circulation 55,000 and over

L.A. Weekly: Deadline Hollywood Daily: NBC Shake-up: My Final Wrap & Analysis, WGA Talks Collapse: East Strike On! and Worst Talent Deal Ever? by Nikki Finke

PW-Philadelphia Weekly: Philadelphia Will Do: Harassment, A $500 Appearance Fee and Queena Bass, Milton Street’s ‘American Idol’ Audition and Alycia Lane Arrested! by Daniel McQuade

Washington City Paper: City Desk: On Scene at the Eastern Market, Yuppies, Goths, and Other Groups I Don’t Identify With and Tax-Scam Hearing Liveblog by Staff

BLOG circulation under 55,000

Nashville Scene: Nashville Cream: What’s in a Name?, I Saw You Doing Something Somewhere Around Here and You are Kinda Famous and How I Became the (Cherry) Bomb by Matt Sullivan, Chris Slack and Tracy Moore

Santa Fe Reporter: Blogging Bill: There’s Something About Bill, The BIG Isuue and Richardson’s NM Supreme Court Nominees are Big Contributors by Staff

Seven Days: Stuck in Vermont: Rosie’s Girls, Black Fly Festival and Viva La Voce Puppet Opera by Eva Sollberger

Weekly Alibi: Alibi WeBlog: 10 Best Media Objects of 2006 (Part 1), Beyond Beirut and Overheard at the State Fair by Jessica Cassyle Carr, Jeremy McCollum, Kyle Silfer, Wes Edling and John Millington

WEBSITE circulation 55,000 and over

Austin Chronicle: Austin Chronicle by Staff

Boston Phoenix: The Phoenix by Staff

L.A. Weekly: L.A. Weekly by Staff

WEBSITE circulation under 55,000

Arkansas Times: Arkansas Times by Staff

Santa Barbara Independent: Santa Barbara Independent by Staff

Seven Days: Seven Days by Don Eggert, Bob Kilpatrick and Cathy Resmer


ARTS CRITICISM circulation 55,000 and over

Austin Chronicle: Waiting for the Barbarians, Afterplay, and Take Me Out by Robert Faires

Chicago Reader: Hometown Heroes, Constant Crises and Men Behaving Badly by Lee Sandlin

L.A. Weekly: Badlands, Margot at the Wedding: Born Identities and Iron Butterfly by Scott Foundas

Washington City Paper: Squaresville, U.S.A., Reality Checks and The Mod That Failed by Jeffry Cudlin

ARTS CRITICISM circulation under 55,000

Independent Weekly (NC): Durham Author David Guy Distills a Lifetime of Work, The Final, Unfinished Novel of the Late, Great Larry Brown and New Stories From the South: More Than Confederates and Kudzu by Adam Sobsey

Santa Fe Reporter: An Amnesiac to Remember, Film By Numbers and The Big Picture (PDF) by Emiliano Garcia-Sarnoff

Style Weekly: Women’s Work, Flight of Fancy and Shallow Waters (PDF) by Thomas Peyser

ARTS FEATURE circulation 55,000 and over

Houston Press: Black Box Office by Troy Schulze

Miami New Times: Artist as Prisoner by Rob Jordan

Riverfront Times: The Case of the Shanghai Shamus by Malcolm Gay

ARTS FEATURE circulation under 55,000

Arkansas Times: The Amazing Mohja (PDF) by David Koon

Fort Worth Weekly: And Now, Wearing the Geeksta Crown (PDF) by Jimmy Fowler

New Haven Advocate: Art of the Living Dead (PDF) by Betsy Yagla

San Luis Obispo New Times: Faire Play (PDF) by Ryan Miller

COLUMN circulation 55,000 and over

OC Weekly: “Ask a Mexican!” Feb. 1, April 5 and Nov. 15 by Gustavo Arellano

Riverfront Times: Top Ramen (Chicken Vegetable Flavor), Domino’s Pizza New Oreo Dessert Pizza and Double Cheeseburger by Malcolm Gay

Westword: Ladies Plight, Exhibitionists and The Nigerian Scam Strikes Again by Patricia Calhoun

COLUMN circulation under 55,000

Colorado Springs Independent: “Public Eye”: Mike Jones Shares His ‘Art’, The Return of Charlie Duke (Sort of) and The Myth of a Killer in Love by Cara DeGette

The Memphis Flyer: Last One Standing, One Vote at a Time and Improvident Borrower by John Branston

San Luis Obispo New Times: Gone to Pot, Pop a Local Wheelie and I’m All Ears (PDF) by The Shredder

Santa Fe Reporter: “Zane’s World”: Complainocracy, Illusion of Progress and Neo Anti-Development? (PDF) by Zane Fischer

COLUMN — POLITICAL circulation 55,000 and over

Creative Loafing (Atlanta): “Metropolis”: No More Illegal Ramaramadingdongs!, The Mystery of the Mayor’s Jet-setting and Water, Water Everywhere — Not! by John Sugg

Los Angeles CityBEAT: “American Babylon”: No Home For You Here, Copycat Nation and Show Me the Ideas by Andrew Gumbel

PW-Philadelphia Weekly: This Election is Murder, Cop Out and Finally We Care by Kia Gregory

The Village Voice: Mike Bloomberg, Free At Last, Benchwarmers and Rudy’s Brain by Tom Robbins

COLUMN — POLITICAL circulation under 55,000

Arkansas Times: A Burning Issue, Frailty in God’s President and Mike’s Humble Roots by Ernest Dumas

Birmingham Weekly: Leapin’ Larry Goes Back to the Future, Letter of Our Laws and The Sticky, Sticky Truth by Kyle Whitmire

New Haven Advocate: Why I’m Returning to Iraq, Kurdistan on the Brink and Women in a Hostile Nation: Part 1 (PDF) by Daniel Smith

FEATURE STORY circulation 55,000 and over

Dallas Observer: El Tren de la Muerte by Megan Feldman

Washington City Paper: Letters From an Arsonist by Dave Jamieson

Washington City Paper: The Battle Over Heavy T by Joe Eaton

FEATURE STORY circulation under 55,000

Columbia Free Times: Virtual Goods, Hard Cash by Ron Aiken

Illinois Times: Twice Burned by Dusty Rhodes

Jackson Free Press: We Are Family: A Klan Child Fans a Different Flame by Donna Ladd

FOOD WRITING circulation 55,000 and over

City Pages (Twin Cities): Then There Was None, Port is the Answer? and Colonel Mustard by Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl

Miami New Times: Eat Shit and Die, Chew the Right Thing and Flapjack Flip-Off VII: Bananarama! by Lee Klein

New Times Broward-Palm Beach: Dancing the Lobster Quadrille, Split Decision? and The Undersea World of Toby Joseph by Gail Shepherd

FOOD WRITING circulation under 55,000

Monterey County Weekly: Miles to Go Before I Eat (PDF) by Mark C. Anderson

Nashville Scene: The Sign of Paradise, Heckuva Job, Chappy and Get Your Goat by Carrington Fox

North Bay Bohemian: First Bite: Sky Lounge, First Bite: Carneros Bistro & Wine Bar and Saint Elsewhere by Carey Sweet

Seven Days: His Daily Bread, Newfound Ground Round and Shuck and Awe by Suzanne Podhaizer

INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING circulation 55,000 and over

L.A. Weekly: The Town the Law Forgot: The Town The Law Forgot, Cuhady Reformers Lose, Mario Beltran’s Wild Night, Politics Meet Street, The Trouble with Mario Beltran, Friends in Low Places, Did City Hall Fund a Gun-runner?, Taming the Wild 740 Club, Mario Beltran’s Strange Bedfellows and Mario Beltran’s Undertow by Jeffrey Anderson

Miami New Times: Swept Under the Bridge and Sex Offenders Set Up Camp by Isaiah Thompson

San Francisco Bay Guardian: The Corporation that Ate San Francisco, Dust Still Settling and Green City by Sarah Phelan

Seattle Weekly: The Worst Internal Scandal in NSA History was Blamed on Cold War Defectors’ Homosexuality by Rick Anderson

INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING circulation under 55,000

The Memphis Flyer: The Loop: The Loop, MLGW Networx: Keeping Us in the Dark?, Will the City Council Get the Real Story? Will Anyone?, Networx Down and Unplugged by Chris Davis

Portland Phoenix: Conditions in Maine’s Prisons: Sluggish Response to Suicide, Punish the Mentally Ill!, Prisoners as Commodities, Prisoner Gagged, Maine Prison Bosses Violate Court Orders, Press Behind Bars, Mentally Ill Inmate Gets Care Despite State’s Objections, Stabbed in the Back, Dangerous Waits for Psychiatric Evaluations? and Exiled Maine Prisoners Report Abuse, Danger by Lance Tapley

Seven Days: Hot and Soured: Hot and Soured, Official Reactions Mixed on Allegations of Minimum-wage, Building-Code Violations and State Cracks Down on Burlington-Area Chinese Restaurant Owners by Ken Picard

The Texas Observer: Hidden in Plain Sight (PDF) by Nate Blakeslee

MEDIA REPORTING/CRITICISM circulation 55,000 and over

Boston Phoenix: “Don’t Quote Me”: Culture War, Silent Treatment and The Problem with Heroes by Adam Reilly

L.A. Weekly: “Deadline Hollywood”: Goodbye Baquet, Hello O’Shea, Dangerous Liaisons and Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid by Nikki Finke

Philadelphia City Paper: The Deluge by Doron Taussig

MEDIA REPORTING/CRITICISM circulation under 55,000

The first-place winner of this category will receive the Connye Miller Award for Media Reporting, a cash prize of $300. Miller served as the founding editor and co-publisher of The Local Planet Weekly in Spokane, Wash. The award, endowed by her husband Matt Spaur, commemorates Miller’s dedication to her newspaper’s role as a media critic and watchdog. Miller died in June 2003 from complications related to the rare disease porphyria.

The Memphis Flyer: Monetizing Content at The Commercial Appeal by John Branston

Nashville Scene: Identity Crisis, Who Really Gored Gore? and Afflict the Afflicted by Liz Garrigan

Santa Barbara Independent: All the News Not Fit to Print, That Dog’s All Wet and The Canine Ultimatum by Nick Welsh

MUSIC CRITICISM circulation 55,000 and over

New Times Broward-Palm Beach: Freaks Come Out at Night by Jonathan Cunningham

SF Weekly: Forgiving the Past Through Elliott Smith, It’s So Easy Being Green and Jack Kerouac’s Writing is Still Influential for Rock Icons 50 Years After On the Roadby Jennifer Maerz

Washington City Paper: Hug Life, People, People, Why are They Fighting? and Half the Man He Used to Be by Sarah Godfrey

The Village Voice: Hot Hot Heat, The Disorientation of Lauryn Hill and The Fey Highwayman by Rob Harvilla

MUSIC CRITICISM circulation under 55,000

Illinois Times: Weird Sisters, Melancholy Man and The Feminine Mystique (PDF) by Rene Spencer Saller

San Antonio Current: The Unbearable Lightness of Paul, Police Report and Haley’s Comet (PDF) by Gilbert Garcia

The Memphis Flyer: It’s a Rap, Bad-Vibe Bands and Johnny Cash’s Block Party by Chris Herrington

NEWS STORY — LONG FORM circulation 55,000 and over

Baltimore City Paper: Juvenile Disservices and The Colonel by Jeffrey Anderson

L.A. Weekly: The End of Murder by David Zahniser

The Pitch: Not Hiring by David Martin

Westword: The Punisher and A Thumb on the Scales by Alan Prendergast

NEWS STORY — LONG FORM circulation under 55,000

Cincinnati CityBeat: Dirty Laundry (PDF) by Kevin Osborne

Jackson Free Press: The State of JPD by Adam Lynch

The Texas Observer: The Governor’s Database (PDF) by Jake Bernstein

The Texas Observer: I am Sullied — No More (PDF) by Robert Bryce

NEWS STORY — SHORT FORM circulation 55,000 and over

Austin Chronicle: Red Ink on Second Street, “Texas Tough” Sex Crime Wave Hits the Dome and Lost in Cyberspace (PDF) by Wells Dunbar

L.A. Weekly: Name Game in Huntington Park, Slammed for Secret Asbestos Removal and Hector Marroquin’s Revenge by Jeffrey Anderson

Scene: Banking on D’s, Hunting the White Buffalo and The Wild, Wild West Bank by Gus Garcia-Roberts

NEWS STORY — SHORT FORM circulation under 55,000

Colorado Springs Independent: Gallagher’s Island, The Talking Wounded and Stuck in the Service by J. Adrian Stanley

New Haven Advocate: The Born Identity, Yale’s New Secret Society and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Senator (PDF) by Andy Bromage

Tucson Weekly: Dreams and Duds, Disease and Discretion and Paper Trail by Tim Vanderpool

Have links or PDFs for a finalist that we don’t? Please email hkuldell (at) aan [dot] org.