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Gambit wins state press awards

Gambit Weekly collected four first-place honors and several second- and third-place awards and honorable-mention recognitions at the Louisiana Press Association awards banquet held April 20 in New Orleans.

In Gambit's division, Free Circulation and Special Interest Publications, staff writer Eileen Loh Harrist won first and second place in the Investigative Reporting category. The first-place winner was "The Edwards Problem," a report on a member of the Sewerage and Water Board and about his ties to Mayor Marc Morial. "A great job mapping the paper trail of memos, contracts and other documents of this controversial local official," the judges wrote. Second place went to "Fight Clubs," an in-depth look at the illegal activity of dogfighting in New Orleans.

Other first-place winners included Gambit senior staff writer Allen Johnson Jr. in the category of Best Continuing Coverage of a Single News Event. The judges chose Johnson's three-part series Keys to Freedom, which explored the themes of punishment and rehabilitation in the stories of both convicts and crime victims. "A compelling look at a controversial issue; combines coverage of ideas with actual stories," wrote one judge. Gambit contributing writer Katy Reckdahl won second place in that category for her reports on juvenile justice in Louisiana.

Gambit also won first place in the Lifestyle category for Home Smart, edited by Kandace Power Graves. Judges praised the uniformly high quality of the magazine's blend of stories and photography. Another first-place award went to www.bestofneworleans.com for Best Web Site, managed by Web site director Amy Smith, Web site Production Coordinator Maria Vidacovich and staff writer Frank Etheridge. The site was singled out for its diverse features and ease of navigation.

Gambit columnist and contributing writer Ronnie Virgets won second place for Best Feature for "Tour of Duty," his recounting of an overseas tour through historic World War II sites. Gambit Music Editor Scott Jordan won second place in Individual Feature Writing for "Hot and Bottled," an exploration of the history and culture of hot sauce.

Virgets and Harrist won third place for Individual Feature Writing for "Here Comes Santa Claus," a recount of their adventures dressing up as Santa and his elf at a busy mall at Christmas. Johnson won third place in that category for "When Nightmares Become Real," which addressed the impact of the events of Sept. 11 on children. Gambit Weekly also won third place for Best Front Page.

Louisiana Press Association is the statewide organization of newspapers. Its members include 26 daily papers, 80 community papers, and 23 non-paid and specialty publications. Each year, in its published list of winners, The Times-Picayune excludes the division Free Circulation and Special Interest Publications. The following is a complete list of winners in that division.

Best Front Page

1st Place -- New Orleans CityBusiness

2nd Place -- Baton Rouge Business Report

3rd Place -- Gambit Weekly

Best Feature Story

1st Place -- Tom Guarisco and Mukul Verma, Baton Rouge Business Report

2nd Place -- Ronnie Virgets, Gambit Weekly

3rd Place -- Joshua Clegg Caffery, The Times of Acadiana, Lafayette

Honorable Mention, R. Reese Fuller, The Times of Acadiana

Best News Story

1st Place -- JR Ball and Mukul Verma, Baton Rouge Business Report

2nd Place -- Karl Hasten, Forum News, Shreveport

3rd Place -- Jesse Hall, Bayou Business Review, Houma

Honorable Mention -- JR Ball, Baton Rouge Business Report

Best Regular Column

1st Place -- Kelly King Alexander, Baton Rouge Business Report

2nd Place -- Louis Rom, The Times of Acadiana -- Lafayette

3rd Place -- Jim Engster, Baton Rouge Business Report

Honorable Mention -- Alice Ferguson, LifeStyle Lafayette -- Lafayette

Lifestyle

1st Place -- Gambit Weekly

2nd Place -- The Times of Acadiana -- Lafayette

3rd Place -- LifeStyle Lafayette -- Lafayette

Honorable Mention -- Acadiana LifeStyle -- New Iberia

Best News Coverage

1st Place -- New Orleans CityBusiness

2nd Place -- Baton Rouge Business Report

3rd Place -- Bayou Business Review -- Houma

Best Continuing Coverage of a Single News Event

1st Place -- Allen Johnson Jr., Gambit Weekly

2nd Place -- Katy Reckdahl, Gambit Weekly

3rd Place -- Staff, Baton Rouge Business Report

Honorable Mention -- James Buckley, Louis Rom, The Times of Acadiana -- Lafayette

Best Continuing Coverage of a Governmental Issue

1st Place -- Patrick Courreges, JR Ball, Baton Rouge Business Report

2nd Place -- Penny Brown Roberts, The Times of Acadiana -- Lafayette

3rd Place -- Keith Brannon, New Orleans CityBusiness

Honorable Mention -- David S. Jackson, BusinessNews & Tri-Parish Times -- Houma

Best Investigative Reporting

1st Place -- Eileen Loh Harrist, Gambit Weekly

2nd Place -- Eileen Loh Harrist, Gambit Weekly

3rd Place -- R. Reese Fuller, The Times of Acadiana -- Lafayette

Best Special Section

1st Place -- Baton Rouge Business Report

2nd Place -- Bayou Business Review -- Houma

3rd Place -- New Orleans CityBusiness

Honorable Mention -- New Orleans CityBusiness

Most Effective Use of Graphic Design on a Single Page

1st Place -- Lisa Finnan, New Orleans CityBusiness

2nd Place -- Hoa Vu, Baton Rouge Business Report

3rd Place -- Patrick Banks, BusinessNews & Tri-Parish Times -- Houma

Best News Photo

1st Place -- Terri Fensel, The Times of Acadiana -- Lafayette

2nd Place -- Terri Fensel, The Times of Acadiana -- Lafayette

3rd Place -- Joe Nickle, Forum News -- Shreveport

Best Feature Photo

1st Place -- Ann McMurry, Times of Southwest Louisiana -- Lake Charles

2nd Place -- Terri Fensel, The Times of Acadiana -- Lafayette

3rd Place -- Robin May, LifeStyle Lafayette -- Lafayette

Best Photo Feature

1st Place -- Jennifer Vargin, Forum News -- Shreveport

2nd Place -- David Wood, Baton Rouge Business Report -- Baton Rouge

3rd Place -- Karma Champagne, The Jeanerette Enterprise -- Jeanerette

Honorable Mention -- Terri Fensel, The Times of Acadiana -- Lafayette

Best Website

1st Place -- Gambit Weekly

2nd Place -- Baton Rouge Business Report -- Baton Rouge

3rd Place -- The Times of Acadiana -- Lafayette

Initial Coverage of Sept. 11th

1st Place -- New Orleans CityBusiness

2nd Place -- BusinessNews & Tri-Parish Times -- Houma

3rd Place -- The Jeanerette Enterprise -- Jeanerette

Individual Feature Writing

1st Place -- Nick Pittman, The Times of Acadiana -- Lafayette

2nd Place -- Scott Jordan, Gambit Weekly

3rd Place -- Ronnie Virgets, Eileen Loh Harrist, Gambit Weekly

Honorable Mention -- Allen Johnson Jr., Gambit Weekly

Best Total Publication Design

1st Place -- New Orleans CityBusiness

2nd Place -- Forum News -- Shreveport

3rd Place -- The Times of Acadiana -- Lafayette

Honorable Mention -- LifeStyle Lafayette -- Lafayette

General Excellence

1st Place -- Acadiana LifeStyle -- New Iberia

2nd Place -- Forum News -- Shreveport

3rd Place -- LifeStyle Lafayette -- Lafayette

Honorable Mention -- Baton Rouge Business Report

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