The contest honored the best Arizona print journalism in 2006. New Times captured 19 awards, including 8 first-place writing awards. Two staff writers were honored with multiple first-place wins. Sarah Fenske won four awards, including first in the category for children, families, and seniors for "Suffer the Children," a story about the state of Child Protective Services in Arizona. She also was honored with a first-place win in diversity reporting for "Off the Reservation," which examined the shift toward unconventional sometimes non-Native American art at the Heard Museum.
The judge called Fenske's art story "a wonderful narrative" and " . . . a well-reported account of the Heard Museum's unique legacy."
Fenske also placed in two prestigious categories: "Cracked Houses," her series about shoddy homebuilding, won third place in the Don Bolles Investigative Reporting category. And a story about ineffective anti-meth ads, "Meth Madness," also placed third, in the John Kolbe Political Reporting category.
Paul Rubin placed first in public safety reporting with "Fear Factor," a story about one of the victims of last summer's serial killing sprees. The judge wrote, "By richly detailing the life and investigation into the death of a single victim, the writer brings home the enormity of a reign of terror and its human impact." Rubin was honored with a first in military reporting, for "War & Peacenik," the profile of Ann Marie Tate, a West Point graduate whose point of view of the military has changed. Rubin placed second in sports enterprise reporting with another profile, "Tough Coach," of ASU baseball coach Pat Murphy.
Ray Stern placed first in immigration reporting for "ICE Meltdown," which examined the systemic failures of the newly reconfigured federal immigration agency. Clay McNear, Night & Day editor, won the feature headline writing category with the following headlines: "The School of Hard Box: Beyond the pail at SMoCA;" "50 Ways to Love Your Liver: Wacky Texas band battles the bottle;" and "From Hair to Paternity: Mack daddy hustles and flows at Celebrity." He also placed third in the same category.
Former columnist and staff writer John Dougherty received a first in news column writing for pieces about Maricopa County's justice system. Contributor Serene Dominic placed first in features beat reporting with his coverage of local music.
Other writing awards included:
Michele Laudig, second place, food reviewing, "Expense Account"; Niki D'Andrea, second place, music criticism, "Lip Service"; Robrt L. Pela, second place, lifestyle reporting, "Haute Houses"; Benjamin Leatherman, second place, science reporting, "Off On a Bender"; Megan Irwin, third place, personality profile, "Borrowed Time"; and Wynter Holden, third place, visual and performing arts criticism, "Urban Evolution." Former art director Gillian Dundas placed second in newspaper tabloid cover design with "Pop Culture."
Chris Hawley, a reporter with the Arizona Republic, was honored with the Virg Hill Journalist of the Year award; Michael Chow, a photographer at the Republic, was named Photographer of the Year. Julia Zolondz of the East Valley Tribune was Designer of the Year, and Thelma Grimes of the San Pedro Valley News-Sun/Arizona Range News was Community Journalist of the Year.
In addition to awards from the Arizona Press Club, New Times writers have been honored by several national and regional contests for work in 2006. Paul Rubin's series "Murder City," about his year with the Phoenix Police homicide squad, won a Maggie award for best series of articles from the Western Publishers Association. Sarah Fenske's "Cracked Houses" was a finalist for a Maggie for investigative reporting. The series was also a finalist for an award from Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE), and is a finalist for the Livingston Award, which honors journalists under 35.