Phoenix New Times was honored with seven first-place awards -- from column writing to magazine cover design -- at the Arizona Press Club's 81st annual banquet, held April 23 at the Heard Museum.
In all, New Times won 20 Press Club awards. Staff writers Paul Rubin and Robert Nelson were named first and second runner-up, respectively, in the contest for Virg Hill Journalist of the Year, the club's most prestigious honor.
Virg Hill judge Michael Sallah, winner of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting, described Rubin as "a throwback to a bygone era when reporters relied on public records, interviews and shoe leather. . . . Con artists in Arizona should feel a little less comfortable with Rubin around."
Another judge, Rocky Mountain News editor John Temple, commented, "Pity the poor devil who finds himself under [Rubin's] scrutiny."
Judge Gregory Favre, of the Poynter Institute, wrote of Nelson, "His writing is strong and he lets you know why you should care and what it all means in the place in which his readers live."
New Times' first-place honorees included:
Bruce Rushton, environmental reporting, "Garbage Time."
Paul Rubin, science, technology and medicine reporting, "Indian Givers."
Amy Silverman, long form newsfeature writing, "Up the Down Staircase."
Robert Nelson, long form business enterprise reporting, "The Real Diehl."
Michael Lacey, news column writing, "What Was He Thinking?", "The Divine Sociopath," "Jesus Wouldn't Do That."
Robrt L. Pela, visual and performing arts criticism, "The Time Warp, Again."
Gillian Dundas, magazine cover design, "Best of Phoenix 2004."
Multiple award winners included Rushton, who placed second in long form business enterprise reporting, and also received a third in the competition for the Don Bolles Award for Investigative Reporting.
Nelson received second-place awards for long form personality profile writing and explanatory reporting, and a third in environmental reporting. John Dougherty took second place for religion writing, second for sports column writing and third in business column writing. And Rubin placed third in law and order reporting.
Additional winners: Stephen Lemons, second place, food reviews; Niki D'Andrea, second, short form personality profile writing; and Michele Laudig, third in short form lifestyle reporting.
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Robert Anglen, a reporter at the Arizona Republic, won the Journalist of the Year award. Pat Shannahan, also of the Republic, was named Photographer of the Year. Bob Early, a former editor at the Republic and Arizona Highways, received the club's Distinguished Service award.
In other contest news, last week three New Times staff members were honored with Maggies, awarded by the Western Publications Association in Los Angeles. Michael Lacey won Best Signed Essay for his column "What Was He Thinking?"; John Dougherty took the Best Series award for his coverage of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio; and Amy Silverman won Best Feature Story for "Up the Down Staircase." Robert Nelson placed third in the Best of the West contest for "My Right Foot."
Stephen Lemons, New Times' restaurant critic, has been named a finalist for a James Beard Journalism Award for a series of his food reviews; winners will be announced at a later date.