Alternative Newsweekly Awards Presented in New Orleans

Convention host Gambit Weekly in the spotlight

NEW ORLEANS, LA – Gambit Weekly led the field of winners with four first-place awards in the sixth-annual Alternative Newsweekly Awards.

The awards, presented today at the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies annual convention here, recognize superior journalism and graphic design among the 118 AAN member papers, which include alternative newsweeklies across the United States and Canada.

Convention host Gambit Weekly took first-place prizes in the small circulation (below 54,000) division in column (Andrei Codrescu), cover design (Dora Sison & Ben Delery), media reporting (“Investigating the Investigator,” Allen Johnson Jr.) and sports reporting (“Cold Warriors,” Scott Jordan). In all, Gambit Weekly won nine awards, the largest number of awards for any paper in either circulation division.

Nate Blakeslee of The Texas Observer (also in the small circulation division) won two of the paper’s three first-place awards, for investigative reporting (“Color of Justice”) and news story (“The Gray and the White.”) The Texas Observer’s third first-place award was in arts feature (“Play About the Playwright,” Michael King). Blakeslee also placed second in media reporting for “Writing the Ruckus in Seattle.” In total, The Texas Observer took home six awards.

In the large-paper division (circulation above 54,000), Dallas Observer, Chicago Reader and LA Weekly each won two first-place awards. Dallas Observer won firsts in column/political commentary (Jim Schutze) and investigative reporting (“Good Cop, Bad Cop,” Christine Biederman). Chicago Reader placed first in arts feature (“Has Anyone Seen Clyde Angel?” Jeff Huebner) and music criticism (Monica Kendrick). LA Weekly took away firsts in feature story (“Jena at 15,” Nancy Rommelmann) and illustration (Dana Collins).

LA Weekly received five awards in all, followed by Baltimore City Paper and Washington City Paper with four each.

In the first-ever Alternative Newsweekly Award Cartoon competition, Chris Ware won first place for his Jimmy Corrigan comic strip.

Judges included three of this year’s Pulitzer Prize winners, David Cay Johnston of The New York Times, Tom Hallman, Jr., of The Oregonian and David Willman of the Los Angeles Times, along with such journalistic luminaries as David Halberstam, David Maraniss and Richard Reeves.

This year’s awards presentation was emceed by Steve Schewel, founder and former publisher of Independent Weekly in Durham, N.C. “It’s pretty clear we (alternative newsweeklies) aren’t going to start the revolution. Often, we don’t even start the reform. So what are we to do and be?” Schewel asked in his opening remarks. “At our best, we are a collection of free voices. Yes, the alternative press has become a business … yes, the AAN convention is a trade association meeting instead of a gathering of people publishing papers we thought were going to change the world. But in so far as justice still matters to us, it shows in these awards.”

A PDF file containing a complete list of the winners and judges, as well as the judges’ bios and comments in each category is also available.