It brings me great joy to report that Up On The Sun was named the Best Features Blog in the state by the Arizona Press Club in a ceremony Saturday night in downtown Phoenix. Niki D'Andrea, Jonathan McNamara, Stephen Chilton and I made up the winning team. (Full results here.)
The "Best Features Blog" category encompasses arts, entertainment, music and food blogs. And, actually, Up On The Sun is also the Third Best Features Blog in the state. Each entrant was allowed to submit two separate selections of clips, and our second-tier entries also placed, making a Nerdvana sandwich out of our homie Jayson Peters, who runs the East Valley Tribune's popular geek-focused blog, which took second. Congrats to Jayson.
That's not all, dear reader: This blog also features work by the second Best Opinion Blogger in the state (first place went to our colleague Ray Stern at Valley Fever). Oh, and you'll also find posts by two of the three winners in the Best Arts Reporting category -- Niki 'D'Andrea, who now writes primarily for our new culture blog, Jackalope Ranch, and myself.
Don't worry, we also give you all the dirt on the second place winner in the "Best Arts Reporting" category, The Arizona Republic's Larry Rogers. Like, we let you know when, say, Larry decides to write a preview of the paper's other music writer's band's show without any disclaimer. Not because we have anything against Larry, mind you, but because it warms our hearts to read comments like this from the judges:
A great combination of news, writing and observational insight. The blog entries span the sort of gossipy insights that insiders love as well as addressing a wider readership with refers to national news and the general-interest hyperlocal scene. What rocketed this blog to the top: Lots of user comments. Clearly the public enjoys this blog as well.
That brings me to another point: As you can see there, your comments made this happen and we can't thank you enough. You're awesome, readers, even when you're hatin' on us.
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Our goal has always been to make Up On The Sun the definitive online news and opinion outlet for Phoenix's music community. We can't do that without you. Blogging at its best thrives off the interaction between reporters and readers, and your tips, your comments, your suggestions and your criticisms have helped make Up On The Sun what it is... The Best Features Blog In The State Of Arifuckinzona.
Anyway, New Times also won a bunch of other arts and entertainment writing awards. Robrt L. Pela took first place in "Best Criticism," a category where former Up On The Sun Arty Girl columnist Lilia Menconi also won. New Times hard news reporters also won a ton of big awards, which we'll let Valley Fever tell you about.
By the way, I'd also like to congratulate my good friend and former East Valley Tribune colleague Shanna Hogan on winning the Virg Hill Journalist of the Year award. The Virg Hill award is the most prestigious award in the state, and Shanna's work for Times publications in Scottsdale certainly deserved it.
I'd also like to congratulate another former Trib colleague, Heat City's Nick Martin -- unarguably the state's scrappiest journalist -- on several big wins, including "Best Breaking News." Quite the feat for a blogger who depends on donations to fund his work! If you're the sort of person who appreciates great investigative journalism you should probably hook a brother up through PayPal. Like nowish. Seriously... give Nick some money. He'll earn it back through good, hard work. I promise.