Former Tucson Citizen reporter Susan Carroll was named Arizona's top journalist of the year for 2002 at the annual Arizona Press Club awards banquet held Saturday at the Heard Museum.
The 25-year-old Carroll won the prestigious Virg Hill Journalist of the Year Award for her portfolio which included stories about immigrants who seek a better life in America but often die in the desert. Judge Tom Oliphant, a Boston Globe columnist, said Carroll's "combination of original detail, depth, explanation, sensitivity, and follow-up was magnificent. Her writing was a classic combination of passion and responsibility."
First runner-up was Joseph A. Reaves of the Arizona Republic, a senior reporter whose work included coverage of the Catholic priest controversy. Second runner-up was Judy Nichols, also of the Arizona Republic, whose portfolio consisted primarily of a series on Indian health (which also won first place for project reporting).
Carroll is now with the Arizona Republic. New Times writers had taken home the honor the previous eight consecutive years, and 12 out of the past 16 years.
Tucson Weekly senior writer Jim Nintzel was named Community Journalist of the Year. Nintzel, 37, has been with the alternative weekly for more than a decade. He also teaches at the University of Arizona journalism department.
Republic photographer Michael Chow won the award for Photographer of the Year. It was the fourth time Chow has won the award; he's been a staff photographer for the Republic and Phoenix Gazette since 1989.
The Don Bolles award for investigative journalism went to Patrick Cavanaugh, assistant editor of the Northwest Explorer, a 35,000-circulation weekly newspaper that covers the communities northwest of Tucson. Cavanaugh's investigation delved into improprieties in the Marana Police Department.
John Dougherty of New Times won the John Kolbe Politics and Government reporting award for an in-depth report on Phoenix City councilman Michael Johnson's involvement with an after-hours nightclub.
Dougherty also won first place in business enterprise reporting for a story that took readers inside the National Football League and its cartel-like operations. And Dougherty was awarded an honorable mention in that category as well for a piece on a former prostitute turned business owner and the investors who lost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
New Times writers won a number of other awards for 2002, including:
-- Robert Nelson, first place in environmental reporting for a story on the aftermath of the Central Garden fire, its impact on the predominantly low-income residents of the area and their attempts to seek environmental justice.
Nelson also won a second place award for news column writing for a series of three columns on Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and a second place for feature column writing for a mix of pieces on sports and an ASU student involved in a porn video.
-- Paul Rubin, first place in law and order reporting for a story on a Phoenix police officer who may have orchestrated a highly publicized shooting in order to gain attention for himself.
Rubin also won a second place award in the law and order category for a story that examined legal issues surrounding a repressed memory court case.
-- Susy Buchanan, first place in personality profiles for a story about a local artist whose struggles with mental illness heavily influenced his paintings.
Buchanan also won a second place award in religion reporting for a story on Phoenix's Sikh community, and a third place in short-form lifestyle reporting for a piece on a broker of exotic animals.
-- Carey Sweet won both first place and second place for food reviews, the top award for her criticism of a raw food restaurant and second place for a review of an organic steak house that didn't quite measure up.
-- Amy Silverman, second place in personality profiles, for a story about the long and colorful career of disbarred attorney Gary Peter Klahr.
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-- Laura Laughlin, second place in project reporting, for a two-part series on the Fort McDowell Yavapai's effort to educate its children.
-- Brendan Joel Kelley, second place in long-form lifestyle reporting for a story about a man who "tags" railroad cars with very artistic graffiti.
-- Michele Laudig, a second place in short newsfeature writing for a piece on John Leguizamo.
-- Robrt L. Pela, third place for his review of the Neil Simon play Rumors.