The National Association of Black Journalists announced the winners of its Salute to Excellence Awards competition this weekend in Washington, D.C. The organization handed out six first-place prizes for newspapers with circulations of 150,000 or less, and every last one of them were awarded to New Times papers. Here's the complete list of NABJ award winners.

Continue ReadingNew Times Newspapers Dominate NABJ Awards

We reported yesterday that "Houston Press' 'Best of Houston' was due to go to press this week, but was forced to close early in advance of Hurricane Rita." Which is kinda true but kinda not true, too. The Press did, in fact, complete production of its "Best Of" issue in the wee hours of Friday morning, several days earlier than usual, in case Rita prevented the paper from reopening the following week. But when the hurricane proved to be less destructive than initially feared, the staff returned to the office on Monday and resumed production. The first run was sent to the printer last night; the remainder will be printed this afternoon; and the 224-page issue will hit the streets with a thud as scheduled tomorrow afternoon.

Continue ReadingClarification Regarding Houston Press “Best Of”

Alt-weeklies walked away with half of the 18 winning entries in the under-150,000 circulation category of the Association of Food Journalists awards announced last week. New Times foodies at Dallas Observer, SF Weekly and Riverfront Times each picked up a first-place prize, while Houston Press' Robb Walsh took home both a first- and second-place. Independent Weekly, Creative Loafing-Atlanta and Willamette Week were the other AAN winners in the AFJ's small-paper category. LA Weekly's Jonathan Gold, who won first-place in this year's AltWeekly Awards Food Writing category (Walsh placed second), also won first-place for Restaurant Criticism in the AFJ contest, in the 150,001-300,000 circulation category.

Continue ReadingAlt-Weeklies Dominate Food Journalism Awards

AAN announced today that it had established a multi-pronged effort to provide immediate relief to employees of its New Orleans-based member paper who have been displaced by Hurricane Katrina. The centerpiece of the effort is a special fund that the association has established in its Alternative Newsweekly Foundation to accept charitable contributions from members who want to provide immediate assistance to Gambit Weekly employees. Several AAN-member companies have already announced significant contributions to the fund.

Continue ReadingAAN Announces Relief Effort to Support Gambit Employees

This week's issue celebrates "a decade and a half of devilish deeds and die-hard journalism" by looking back at some of the alt-weekly's biggest stories: a federal marshal serenading a former port commissioner convicted of bribery; a series of articles that helped exonerate a man wrongly convicted of rape; and the tragic bonfire collapse at Texas A&M.

Continue ReadingHouston Press Turns 15

On Oct. 9, the Association of Food Journalists named winners in its 2004 AFJ Awards Competition -- and Association of Alternative Newsweeklies member papers came out looking like pigs in the "Under 150,000 Circulation" division. Willamette Week, Independent Weekly, Creative Loafing (Atlanta) and Cleveland Scene each took home an award, while Houston Press garnered a pair. According to the AFJ Web site, the awards "recognize excellence in reporting, writing, and photography in all media, and newspaper food section design and content."

Continue ReadingAAN Papers Gorge on Food Journalism Awards
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Fishermen and citizens harmed by what's been called the worst environmental disaster in Spanish history are looking to a Houston ship classification society to bear some responsibility, writes Josh Harkinson in the Houston Press. In November 2002, the oil tanker M/V Prestige sprang a leak, then split in half and sank 130 miles from the Spanish shore. Now the American Bureau of Shipping, which inspected the ship shortly before it sank, is the subject of lawsuits asking for $1 billion.

Continue ReadingSpanish Blame Oil Spill on Houston Firm

The Houston Chronicle obtains only brief comments from Tim Fleck, the 57-year-old author of the weekly column The Insider, and Houston Press Editor Margaret Downing, about the circumstances of the departure. Others assess the impact of Fleck's acerbic political coverage. In his last column for the Press, Fleck writes about Congressional candidate Lloyd "Ted" Poe, known for the shame sentences he handed out as district judge, and the time Poe underwent his own moment of shame.

Continue ReadingLongtime Political Writer Leaves Houston Press

Houston's alternative newsweekly was never an enthusiastic cheerleader for the so-called Houston Miracle, the "public relations barrage" that landed former Houston schools superintendent Rod Paige his job as U.S. secretary of education. So PR whiz Terry Abbott (pictured), "the man behind the curtain of the 'miracle'", last week announced an official policy that he would do his best to ensure that no school district employee ever speaks with the paper. "We just can't get any kind of fair shake out of the Houston Press," says Abbott, whose new policy applies to "a few reporters at other organizations and then the Houston Press in general."

Continue ReadingSchool District Creates Separate Interview Rules For Houston Press