Gambit Weekly's writers, photographers and designers received an unprecedented number of alternative journalism's top honors in a ceremony held earlier this month in New Orleans.
The Sixth Annual Alternative Newsweekly Awards were presented July 13, during the Association for Alternative Newsweeklies' (AAN) 24th annual convention. Among 118 weekly newspapers from the United States and Canada, Gambit Weekly scored the highest with four first-place awards and an total of nine awards overall.
"These awards honor the best work in our business," says Richard Karpel, executive director of AAN. "Nine awards is the most any newspaper has ever won in the six years of the contest. Gambit Weekly has just set the bar that much higher."
Other top-ranking papers in 2001 included The Texas Observer, the Dallas Observer, the Chicago Reader, LA Weekly, Baltimore City Paper and Washington City Paper. Judges included David Halberstam, Keith Olbermann, David Maraniss and Richard Reeves, along with three of this year's Pulitzer Prize winners: David Cay Johnston, Tom Hallman and David Willman.
The following is a list of Gambit Weekly's winning entrants and excerpts of judges' comments. For a complete list of AAN winners, visit the AAN Web site at www.aan.org.
Allen Johnson Jr., "Investigating the Investigator"
First Place, Media Reporting
Judges' comments: "What happens if a fellow journalist gets arrested for carnal knowledge of a juvenile, along with narcotics charges? If you're Gambit Weekly, you simply treat it as another important community story and make it as good as you can as fast as you can. Great spot reporting, vivid scenes, and tons of drama make this piece about the investigation of an investigative reporter a class bit of newspapering."
Scott Jordan, "Cold Warriors"
First Place, Sports Reporting
Judges' comments: "A nicely turned piece with touches of grace in the writing, especially about the poetry of the morning skate."
Andrei Codrescu, "Pennypost"
First Place, Column
Judges' comments: "Of all the columns, his had the most laugh-out-loud lines. We enjoyed not only his wit, which was unexpected and original, but also the range of his subject matter. The column on Mircea Eliade touched on all sorts of issues -- anti-Semitism, of course, but also how your perspective changes with age and information."
Dora Sison and Ben Delery
First Place, Cover Design
Judges' comments: "This entry shows a variety in presentation reflective of content. The covers -- 'The Feminine Mystique,' 'Best of New Orleans 2000' and 'Did you ever tell ...' -- use strong typography to illustrate the tone and 'feel' of content."
Eileen Loh-Harrist, "Down the Drain"
Second Place, Investigative Reporting
(No judges' comments available.)
Tracie Morris, "No Place Like Home"
Second Place, Photo Journalism
Judges' comments: "'No Place Like Home' brings us respectfully into the lives of its subjects. It allows us a glimpse into the privacy of their world and predicament. The sparseness of their surroundings is shown in contrast to the richness of the family's lives."
Joseph Forkan, portrait of Edwin Edwards
Second Place, Illustration
(No judges' comments available.)
Clancy DuBos, "Politics"
Third Place, Column -- Political Commentary
Judges' comments: "Clancy DuBos is refreshingly immune to the cynicism that might overtake a columnist writing about Louisiana politics. He writes about ethics without sounding sanctimonious and skewers political chicanery with precision, humor and even a touch of compassion where appropriate."
Sara Roahen, "Cuisine"
Honorable Mention, Arts Criticism
Judges' comments: "Sara Roahen's vividly descriptive and evaluative writing made an unusually strong case for the debatable position that restaurant reviewing should be considered arts criticism. Her reviews, after all, are more concerned with aesthetics, form and materials -- the same things that, for example, a visual art reviewer might consider -- than with the consumer guide aspects of the job."