Announcing the 2024 AAN Awards Finalists

First, Second, Third and Honorable Mention will be revealed on July 12, 2024 in Charleston, S.C.

Update: We’ve added the finalists for Political Column and Investigative Reporting, which were delayed in judging. We’ve also edited below to reflect new totals for many finalists.

Entries poured in this year for the 2024 AAN Awards, with nearly 2/3 of our membership sending in entries, amounting to a 25% increase in phenomenal stories, features, illustrations, and more over last year’s contest.

Judges reviewed entries in 27 categories, selecting the finalists, announced today. Final placements (first, second, third, honorable mention) will be announced during the Keynote and Awards Ceremony at the 2024 CharlestAAN convention on July 12, 2024.

This year, Vermont’s Seven Days rose to the top of the pack with 11 awards, followed by Arkansas Times with seven nods and The Austin Chronicle with six. Four publications—Isthmus Community Media (Madison, Wis.), Nashville Scene, Willamette Week of Portland, Ore. and CITY Magazine (Rochester, NY)—received five nods each. One publication, Mississippi Free Press, received four awards, and newcomers Tucson Sentinel and Philadelphia Gay News won three each, as did Reno News & Review, San Antonio Current, Las Vegas Weekly, Monterey County Weekly, The Inlander and convention host Charleston City Paper.

Five AAN awards include cash prizes, including the Jim Ridley Award for Arts Criticism (funder: Nashville Scene), the Billy Manes Award for Column (funder: Orlando Weekly), the LGBT+ Reporting Award (funder: Fran Zankowski), the Right-Wing Extremism Award (funder: Anonymous) and the David Carr Investigative Reporting award (funder: AAN). Those cash winners and all other placements will be announced in Charleston.

Congratulations to these winners. The AAN Awards celebrate fabulous local journalism, creative design and production work, and scrappy, successful publishing companies doing their part to secure democracy.

2024 AAN Award Finalists

WRITING CATEGORIES

Arts Criticism (Jim Ridley Award)

“Stories by Margot Harrison” – Margot Harrison – Seven Days

“Throughline: Exhibits at SECCA and Reynolda tell nuanced story of Black-American experience” – Sayaka Matsuokoa – Triad City Beat

“Theater columns by Jessica Goldman” – Jessica Goldman – Houston Press

“Nothing normal about ‘The Normal Heart’” – Jeanne Huff – Boise Weekly

Arts Feature

”Daniel, Kurt, and Jeremiah: Why ’Hi, How Are You’ Matters” – Joe Gross – The Austin Chronicle

“Charles Frazier’s latest novel takes readers across Depression-era America” – Thomas Calder – Mountain Xpress

“August in October” – Richard DiCicco – C-Ville Weekly

“‘Red And Bootjack’ Marker Shines Light On Duck Hill Lynching, Remembers Victims” – Aliyah Veal – Mississippi Free Press

Beat Reporting

“Extreme Heat in Texas Prisons” – Brant Bingamon – The Austin Chronicle

“Police Misconduct” – Sayaka Matsuoka – Triad City Beat

“Prison Beat Reporting” – Michael Karlis, Brandon Rodriguez – San Antonio Current

“Southern Arizona Border & Immigration Reporting” – Paul Ingram – Tucson Sentinel

Cannabis Coverage

“Cannabiz in Arkansas” – Griffin Coop – Arkansas Times

“Time, Paperwork, Letdowns” – Sydney Fishman – East Bay Express

“Mississippi’s Medical Cannabis Industry Faces Growing Pains” – Heather Harrison – Mississippi Free Press

“Do weed and the orchestra mix? I got stoned at the RPO and found out.” – Daniel J. Kushner – CITY Magazine

Column (Billy Manes Award)

“PGN editorials” – Jeremy Rodriguez – Philadelphia Gay News

“From the Farm” – Alan Leveritt – Arkansas Times

“Challenging Mississippi’s Status Quo” – Donna Ladd – Mississippi Free Press

“At Large” – Bruce VanWyngarden – Memphis Flyer

Column – Political

“The LEARNS Act: Fallings of a two-tiered education system in Arkansas” – Baker Kurrus – Arkansas Times

“Betsy Phillips Column” – Betsy Phillips – Nashville Scene

“What the Devil Won’t Tell You” – Blake Morlock – Tucson Sentinel

“Racism Exists | Gun Violence | Dysfunction” – Andy Brack – Charleston City Paper

Environmental Coverage (2024 Wildcard Category)

”We’re in our forever home” – Erik Ness – Isthmus Community Media

“‘One Lake’ Or ‘No Lake’? Debate Over Pearl River Flooding Options Means Unlikely Allies, Opponents” – Donna Ladd – Mississippi Free Press

“Volunteers spring to survey water in Patagonia Mountains before mine begins pumping” – Daniel Shailer – Tucson Sentinel

“When the water wars come” – S. Nicole Lane – Chicago Reader

Explanatory Journalism

“Ukrainians in Chicago reflect on a year of full-scale war” – Jamie Ludwig – Chicago Reader

“The Mushroom Underground” – Anthony Effinger – Willamette Week

“Museums and federal agencies stockpiled the remains of Indigenous people as their descendants protested. That’s slowly changing.” – Frank X. Mullen and Lucy Birmingham – Reno News & Review

“Fast and Furious” – Alexis Weisend – Eugene Weekly

Feature Story

“The Conversation Artist” – Chelsea Edgar – Seven Days

“The unlikely literary and scientific story of a legendary fishing boat” – Agata Popeda – Monterey County Weekly

“‘Grief, twice’: One family’s struggle to keep access to the burial plots of their ancestors” – Brooke Nelson Alexander – Arkansas Times

“Killed a Long Way From Home” – Benjamin Simon – Riverfront Times

Food Writing

“Lena Geller Food Writing Collection” – Lena Geller – INDY

“What the Fork” – Jeffrey Edalatpour – East Bay Express

“Food Writing by Kay West” – Kay West – Nashville Scene

“Food Writing by Melissa Pasanen” – Melissa Pasanen – Seven Days

Health Care Reporting

“Fighting fentanyl: How Arkansas is spending its opioid settlement fortune” – Stephanie Smittle – Arkansas Times

“On Life Support” – Colin Flanders – Seven Days

“Free Fall” – Nigel Jaquiss – Willamette Week

“Crisis Mode” – Anna Kaminski and Winter Wagner – Eugene Weekly

Investigative Reporting (David Carr Award)

“The Soeth Files” – Thadeus Greenson – North Coast Journal

“Lawmakers, Law Breakers” – Alexandria Jacobson and Dave Levinthal – Raw Story

“The Loss of Grace” – Joe Sexton – Seven Days

“Secretary of State Moonlighting Scandal” – Sophie Peel – Willamette Week

LGBTQ+ Coverage

“Family Forward” – Jen Colletta – Philadelphia Gay News

“It’s Brigitte, Bitch: How Austin Drag Icon Brigitte Bandit Became a Political Powerhouse” – Brant Bingamon, James Scott – The Austin Chronicle

“Pushing for change” – Taylor O’Connor – Santa Maria Sun

“Drag Experiences A Chill On Some Houston Stages” – Jessica Goldman – Houston Press

Music Writing

“Seth Sommerfeld’s music columns” – Seth Sommerfeld – The Inlander

“Mike McMahan Music Stories” – Mike McMahan – San Antonio Current

“Matt King Music Coverage” – Matt King – Coachella Valley Independent

“Matt Bieker music coverage” – Matt Bieker – Reno News & Review

News Story

“Second and Division” – Nate Sanford and Erick Doxey – The Inlander

“Vermont’s Relapse” – Colin Flanders – Seven Days

“Dividing lines: An Orlando doctor gives anti-choice activists a way to more easily and thoroughly harass abortion clinic clients” – McKenna Schueler – Orlando Weekly

“Nineteen D.C. Police Officers Are Under Criminal Investigation for Questionable Gun Seizures” – Alex Koma and Mitch Ryals – Washington City Paper

Right-Wing Extremism Coverage

“Moms for Liberty in Philadelphia” – Gary L. Day, Jason Villemez, Mark Segal and Michele Zipkin – Philadelphia Gay News

“Right Flight: The Past, Present and Future of Right-Wing Extremism in Tennessee” – Betsy Phillips, Hamilton Matthew Masters  and Eli Motycka – Nashville Scene

“Detour of Duty” – Ken Picard – Seven Days

Solutions Journalism

“After the Fire” – Kaylee Harter, Will Matuska, Cindy Torres, Shay Castle – Boulder Weekly

“Can ’social housing’ help address Madison’s affordability crisis?” – Eric Murphy – Isthmus Community Media

“A Way Out” – Lucas Manfield – Willamette Week

“Crisis Mode” – Anna Kaminski and Winter Wagner – Eugene Weekly

DESIGN CATEGORIES

Cover Design

“(Trash the Vote: Arkansas blows it on counting ballots); September 2023 (The Central Question: Will Arkansas erase its own history?); December 2023 (Best & Worst of Arkansas 2023)” – Mandy Keener, Brian Chilson, Kasten Searles, Layet Johnson – Arkansas Times

“Covers by Evan Sult” – Evan Sult – Riverfront Times

“Covers by Ryan Williamson” – Ryan Williamson – CITY Magazine

“Taking Cover,” ”A Light in the Desert,” ”Life with Less Water” – Anson Stevens-Bollen – Santa Fe Reporter

Editorial Layout – Print

“You Are So Nashville If” – Elizabeth Jones – Nashville Scene

“Space Is The Place” – Ian Racoma – Las Vegas Weekly

“Vegas Golden Knights Stanley Cup Champions” – Corlene Byrd – Las Vegas Weekly

“The hazy state of weed” – Ryan Williamson – CITY Magazine

Illustration

“Texas’ Angels of Death” – Zeke Barbaro – The Austin Chronicle

“Trash the Vote: Arkansas blows it on counting ballots” – Kasten Searles – Arkansas Times

“Queer Cardinals” – Kay Reynolds – Isthmus Community Media

“Taking Cover” – Anson Steven-Bollen – Santa Fe Reporter

Photography

“2023 Tennessee Legislative Session” – Hamilton Matthew Masters – Nashville Scene

“Wade Vandervort Photography – Portraits” – Wade Vanderort – Las Vegas Weekly

“Female Chefs by Abby Quatro” – Abby Quatro – CITY Magazine

“Making his mark” – Max Schulte – CITY Magazine

OUTSIDE-THE-BOX CATEGORIES

Ad Marketing Campaign

“Hot Sauce Festival” – Cassie Arredondo and Zeke Barbaro – The Austin Chronicle

“Mazzaros Italian Market in Best of the Bay 2024” – James Ostrand (photographer) Joe Frontel (designer) Anthony Carbone (producer) – Creative Loafing Tampa Bay

“San Antonio Flavor 2023” – Samantha Serna (designer) and Cassandra Yardeni Wagner (creative direction) – San Antonio Current

Innovation/Format Buster

“Cease And Desist – the water board game” – David Schmalz, Karen Loutzenheiser – Monterey County Weekly

“Ranking Spokane” – Nicholas Deshais, Nate Sanford, Daniel Walters, Samantha Wohlfeil, Derek Harrison – The Inlander

“The Québec Issue” – Staff – Seven Days

“Ka-Pow!” – Bennett Campbell Ferguson and Seaerra Miller – Willamette Week

Multimedia

“An Intimate Portrait of Ohio’s Rural Drag Queens at Old Street Saloon” – Aidan Mahoney (staff photographer) and Madeline Fening (reporter)

“Meet a Married Couple Who Are Wild for Barbie” – Eva Sollberger – Seven Days

“The Loss of Grace, audio version” – Joe Sexton (writer), Jeff Baron (producer) – Seven Days

“A Stroll Through Durham With the City Council Candidates” – Akiya Dillon, Charlotte Kramon, Jenna Smith – INDY

Newsletter – Digital

“Monterey County NOW” – Staff – Monterey County Weekly

“Sunday Best” – Margot Harrison, Dan Bolles, Carolyn Fox and Sasha Goldstein – Seven Days

“Word of Mouth” – Staff and contributors – Isthmus Community Media

“Isthmus Insider” – Judith Davidoff – Isthmus Community Media

Special Section – Print

“Reindeer Games: Holiday Games Section” – Staff – The Austin Chronicle

“Summer Arts Preview” – Peter Aaron, Brian K. Mahoney, David Perry – Chrongram

“Journeys: Welcoming the International African American Museum” – Staff – Charleston City Paper

“Best of Northern Nevada” – Staff and contributors – Reno News & Review

Special Publication – Print

“Best of WNC Awards” – Staff – Mountain Xpress

“Dish, a quarterly magazine of the Charleston City Paper” – Staff – Charleston City Paper

“Wedding Guide” – Caitlin Sause, Jeremy Williams and Ryan Williams-Jent – Watermark

“Breakfast and Lunch Guide” – Jennifer Galler – The Source Weekly

Need to correct a name, a spelling, etc? Please write todd@aan.org. We’ll also be reaching out for pronunciations as the awards ceremony gets closer.